Class satire Triangle of Sadness—which featured Filipino actress Dolly De Leon—took home this year's Palme d'Or, the top prize of the Cannes Film Festival.
Swedish director Ruben Ostlund's film deals with a model couple who get invited for a luxury cruise with the uberwealthy.
But a storm causes their ship to capsize, leaving the couple stranded on a desert island with some of the billionaire guests and cruise staff, including a hardworking toilet manager portrayed by De Leon.
De Leon's character Abigail is the only one equipped with the necessary survival skills, and she suddenly becomes in charge.
"Hierarchy is suddenly flipped upside down, as the housekeeper is the the only one who knows how to fish," according to the Cannes synopsis.
De Leon's riveting performance in her breakout role generated buzz in the international film industry, with Clayton Davis of Variety deeming her worthy of an Academy Award or Oscar.
For IndieWire's David Ehrlich, it wouldn't be worth getting at the Cannes "if not for the great Filipino actress" De Leon, whose character "rises from the bowels of the superyacht, grabs this film by the throat, and chokes it so hard that you can’t help but feel a faint pulse throbbing to life from under all that irony."
"If not for De Leon’s bold and heartsick performance, Triangle of Sadness would fail to achieve any real measure of the physical discomfort that has animated so much of Ostlund’s previous work," Ehrlich wrote.
Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, commended De Leon's "revelatory performance" as a yacht cleaning woman "who nails her own ‘I am the captain now’ moment."
In a Facebook post, De Leon said it's her "first-ever" Cannes experience, and it's something that she'll "never forget."
"We got the Palme d’Or, the highest prize given to a film and I could not be happier," she said.
De Leon urged Filipinos to watch Triangle of Sadness when it hits local cinemas.
"Sana mapanuod ninyo ang Traingle of Sadness pag lumabas dito sa ‘tin," she wrote, "kasi proud na proud ako at gusto ko ibahagi sa inyo ang pelikulang pinaghirapan, pinagpawisan at wagas na minahal namin ng taospuso."
"And I also want you to meet Abigail, a character I fell in love with and miss. She’s a force to be reckoned with and I hope she inspires you the way she inspired me."
"Thank you, everyone for holding my hand this entire journey. Long live cinema!" she said.
De Leon took up theater arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman. In the mainstream, she has acting credits in Shake, Rattle & Roll III (1991), Aswang (2011), Diary ng Panget: The Movie (2014), Cuddle Weather (2019), and Midnight in a Perfect World (2020), among others. She also appeared in local television shows like Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Pintada, Mirabella, as well as Magpakailanman and Ipaglaban Mo.
Triangle of Sadness received an eight-minute standing ovation during its premiere. Its Palme d'Or win is the second for Ostlund, whose The Square bagged the prestigious award in 2017.