"Blue Is the Warmest Colour," from French director Abdellatif Kechiche, took home the Palme d’Or Sunday night at the Cannes Film Festival — a confirmation of a surprise critical favorite that seemed like a minor player when the festival started in mid-May.
In an unusual move, the jury, led by U.S. director Steven Spielberg, gave the Palme d’Or not only to the director, but also to the two female stars, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, who engage in a passionate romance with explicit sex scenes.
It’s been called the "three-hour lesbian movie" along the Croisette in the past few days, but the jury stressed that they did not see it as a gay movie but as a very touching love story.
In French, the movie is titled "La Vie D’Adele Chapitres 1 et 2," and it screened during the same week that France legalized gay marriage. But when asked about this at the press conference, Spielberg stressed that politics did not play a role in the jury’s decision.
Spielberg said the movie won because the casting was "the perfect choice between these two actresses," paired with "an incredibly observant filmmaker."
The Grand Prix, or second place, went to the Coen brother’s folk music homage, "Inside Llewyn Davis." The Coens, who were in New York on Sunday, asked star Oscar Isaac to accept the award on their behalf.
The Jury Prize, or third place, went to the sentimental baby-swap drama, "Like Father, Like Son," from Japanese director Kore-Eda Hirokazu.
Bruce Dern, who played an aging small-town man who heads for Nebraska to pick up what he thinks will be a Publishers Clearinghouse prize, won best actor in Alexander Payne’s "Nebraska." And Berenice Bejo, who came to prominence last year in "The Artist," won best actress for her role in "The Past," directed by Iranian Asghar Farhadi.
In one of the biggest surprises of the evening, Mexico’s Amat Escalante won best director for the drug and crime drama "Heli," which became known during the festival as the "genital immolation movie."
Best screenplay went to Jia Zhangke for the four-part Chinese crime tale, "A Touch of Sin."