Film Focus: Controversy at Cannes festival

A controversial film grabbed the headlines at Cannes

A controversial film grabbed the headlines at Cannes

AS MOVIE FESTIVAL’S go they don’t get much more glamorous that the Cannes Film Festival.

Each year the stars descend on this small town in the south of France to soak up the sunshine, and watch as some of the year’s most exciting, and off-beat films are given their world premiere.

Although the winners of the festival’s awards will not mean much to most cinema viewers the festival is very important to the movie industry and a chance for the spotlight to focus on Europe for a change – as opposed to the other side of the Atlantic getting all the attention.

Usually Cannes provides an idyllic setting for all the beautiful people to lounge about on their yachts, and watch a few films as well but this year some unseasonal wet and dull weather put a damper on the location, but not on the films taking part in the festival.

This year a French film has won the coveted Palme D’Or, the top prize at the festival making it two years on the trot that a French film has won the top award.

This year’s winner is a film called ‘Blue is the warmest colour’ (when translated from French), a film about a passionate lesbian relationship in modern day Lille.

The film courts a hot political issue, the legalisation of gay marriage, which is as topical in France as it is in other countries including here, and in the US.

President of the Cannes judging panel Steven Spielberg said the fact this is a politically sensitive issue played no part in the jury’s decision to award the film the Palme D’Or.

This year the famous director was joined on the jury by Nicole Kidman, fellow directors Ang Lee and Lynne Ramsey and ‘Inglorious Basterds’ star Christoph Waltz.

The film’s two leading actors – Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos – were including in the winning citation, including the film’s Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche.

The director said he hoped the film would be shown in his native Tunisa, although this seems unlikely given the number of sex scenes contained within the film, and the censorship laws in that country. But the director told the assembled media that countries other than his own had problems with censorship.

“The film is a great love story. We were absolutely spellbound by the two brilliant young actresses, and the way the director observed his young players,” Spielberg said.

And while it may be unlikely ‘Blue is the warmest colour’ will get a cinema release here we should see the second place film sometime later this year.

The Grand Prix (apt given the award co-incided with the Monaco GP just up the road) went to ‘Inside Llewyn Davis, the new film from Joel and Ethan Coen which is a comedy set in the folk music scene in New York in the 1960s. The film, already showing in the US, has made an overnight star of lead actor Oscar Isaac. We should see this film later this year.

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