Turkish actress Merve Dizdar was honoured with the prestigious Best Actress Award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival award ceremony held on Saturday.
Dizdar’s performance in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grasses” (Kuru Otlar Üstüne) earned her the accolade.
In her acceptance speech, Dizdar expressed her gratitude for the award and dedicated it to the courageous women who refuse to conform to societal expectations. She emphasised the character she portrayed in “About Dry Grasses”, Nuray, as a symbol of women’s resilience and the sacrifices they make for their ideals.
The award-winning film, directed by the renowned Nuri Bilge Ceylan and co-written by Ebru Ceylan and Akın Aksu, also features Deniz Celiloğlu (Samet) and Musab Ekici (Kenan). The film tells the story of a teacher (Samet) working in rural eastern Turkey, who dreams of moving to Istanbul but is falsely accused of abusing a student.
Merve Dizdar’s character, Nuray, is a young woman who is the victim of great trauma. Nuray is a realistic and strong female character, defying the prevailing norm in Turkish cinema, which typically focuses on rural films centred around male relationships to make it into the festivals—a norm the director, Ceylan, has also followed in his previous works. Dizdar’s performance breaks this pattern, becoming the driving force of the film. Her portrayal has become a prominent subject in discussions within both national and international media surrounding the film.
The 76th Cannes Film Festival also celebrated other exceptional cinematic achievements. Justine Triet’s “Anatomie d’Une Chute” received the Jury Grand Prize, while Jonathan Glazer secured the Best Director award for “The Zone of Interest”. Trần Anh Hùng was honoured with the Jury Award for his film “The Pot-au-Feu (La Passion de Dodin Bouffant)”.
Additionally, Kōji Yakusho was awarded the Best Male Actor for his performance in Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days”. The esteemed Caméra d’Or for Best First Film went to “Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell”, directed by Thien An Pham, showcasing the promising talent emerging in the film industry.