For the first time, a gay themed love story ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ directed by French-Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche has won the top honour - the Palme d’Or - at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, head of the competition jury, announced that he and the other jurists including Oscar-winning actors Nicole Kidman, Christopher Waltz and Bollywood actor Vidya Balan, had decided to formally recognise not only the movie’s director but also its two young actors, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.
‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ is a three-hour coming-of-age movie in which Exarchopoulos plays a 15-year-old, who falls in love with an older woman, played by Seydoux.
The movie has been selected from the 20 films in competition at Cannes this year.
The second place Grand Prix went to another popular choice, the Coen brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. A bleak comedy set in the early 60s folk scene of Greenwich Village, the film has made a star of its lead actor Oscar Isaac and it was he who collected the award in place of the directors.
Another American to receive a significant award was Bruce Dern, who was named best actor for ‘Nebraska’.
Alongside Kechiche, France’s other big award of the night went to Berenice Bejo, who was dramatically crowned with the best actress award for ‘The Past’, from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, an honour that catapulted her into the front rank of French actors after her career-making role in the Oscar-winning silent film ‘The Artist’.
The jury prize, Cannes’ third top award, went to Kore-eda Hirokazu’s drama ‘Like Father, Like Son.’ Mexican filmmaker Amat Escalante took best director for his brutal drug war drama ‘Heli’.
The best screenplay was given to Jia Zhang-ke for ‘A Touch of Sin’. The prize for Un Certain Regard, a sidebar section, went to ‘L’Image Manquante’, a feature from the Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh.
The award for the Camera d’Or, for the best first feature, went to ‘Ilo Ilo’, from the Singaporean director Anthony Chen.
The Palme for the best short film was won by ‘Safe’ from South Korean director Moon Byoung-gon.
Two American films took awards outside the main competition. Jeremy Saulnier’s revenge melodrama ‘Blue Ruin’ took the International critics’ prize for the Directors Fortnight section, and Ryan Coogler’s Sundance winner ’Fruitvale Station’ won the Prize of the Future from Un Certain Regard.
Films completely missed out include Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic ‘Behind the Candelabra’, the Tilda Swinton vampire movie ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, and ‘La Grande Bellezza’, the acclaimed Italian film from Paolo Sorrrentino.
India was the guest country at the 12-day annual film carnival this year, which came to an end on Sunday night.