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French cinema: Yes We Cannes
Results: Cannes Festival 2013
French cinema might be going through a profound crisis, but the Cannes Festival honoured Gallic films with two of its most prestigious prizes. On Sunday 26 May, the coveted Palme d’or was given to Abdellatif Kechiche’s sulphurous movie, La Vie d’Adèle, and the Franco-Argentine actress Bérénice Bejo received the Best Actress award for her role in The Past (Le Passé).
Amid increasingly violent protests against gay marriage in France, Steven Spielberg, at the helm of the jury of the Cannes film Festival, confirmed the choice had nothing to do with politics. However, giving an award to La Vie d’Adèle, a story of a lesbian couple with very explicit erotic scenes between Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, clearly looks like a manifesto in favour of same sex unions.
Even though it was considered to be a chef d’oeuvre by most of the French press, Abdellatif Kechiche’s movie did not entirely convince Julie Maroh. The author of the book on which the movie was based (Blue is a Warm Colour), appreciated the movie artistically speaking but publicly stated her disagreement with the crude lesbian sex scenes. In her view, they were not credible and seemed aimed at men’s porn fantasies. It is thought that the film is likely to be censured in many countries because of its crude content, including in Tunisia, the director’s own country. Nevertheless, this surprising Palme d’Or – who would have thought possible that Steven Spielberg could choose this three hour long movie about lesbian love – could help the film become a cult movie.
Another glorious moment for France was the beautiful Argentine born actress Bérénice Bejo receiving the Best Actress Award. Famous worldwide for her part in The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius, her husband in real life, she only got the César for Best Supporting Actress, whilst her co-star, Jean Dujardin received an Oscar. After, this disappointment, Bérénice Bejo got her own back with The Past by Asghar Farhadi and her talent was finally rewarded. In this movie, she plays Marie, a woman abnadonned by her Iranian husband who goes back to his homeland. While she builds up a new relationship in France, her past comes back to haunt her as she struggles with her divorce.
Palme d'or: La Vie d'Adèle by Abdellatif Kechiche
Grand Prix: Inside Llewyn Davis d'Ethan Coen et Joel Coen
Best Actress: Bérénice Bejo for The Past by Asghar Farhadi
Best Actor: Bruce Dern in Nebraska by Alexander Payne
Jury Prize: Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Tel père, tel fils) by Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Best Setting: Amat Escalante pour Heli
Best Screenplay: Jia Zhangke pour Tian Zhu Ding
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