Alice Rohrwacher’s “The Wonders” won the Grand Prix award Saturday night, Cannes Film Festival’s second most prestigious award.
“The Wonders” (“Le Meraviglie” in Italian) was the only Italian film competing in Cannes, and 33-year-old Rohrwacher was one of only two female directors with films competing for the Palme D’Or.
The film follows a family of bee-keepers who fight to preserve traditional agriculture. "It's a very personal film, all about an environment that's very familiar to me,” Rorhwacher said at the press conference presenting the film in Cannes. “The film describes the kind of family we all know. It's not an autobiographical story even though my father is in fact a beekeeper. I wanted a feeling of being at home while working and that's why bees feature in the film."
The movie is set in Rohrwacher's native Tuscany – she was born in Fiesole to Italian mother and German father (hence the German-sounding last name).
In 2011, Rohrwacher directed her first feature film, “Heavenly Body”, which premiered at the Directors' Fortnight during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and was very well received.
The cast of “The Wonders” features Maria Alexandra Lungu, Sam Louwyck, Monica Bellucci and the director’s sister Alba Rohrwacher.
The award was handed to Rohrwacher by Sophia Loren.
Jane Campion, the only woman to have ever won the festival's prestigious Palme d'Or prize, served as president of the jury of the festival's 67th season. The jury included Willem Dafoe, Carole Bouquet, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jeon Do-yeon, Jia Zhangke, Leila Hatami and Nicolas Winding Refn.
The festival’s top honor, the Palme D’Or, went to “Winter Sleep,” directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.