There was hardly any controversy or debate on this year’s shortlisted films for the Palme D’Or. Only a handful of titles were bandied about as the outstanding ones. The disappointment was that there was no new discovery that tipped the scale against all the others.
In a ceremony hosted by the irresistibly coquettish French actress Audrey Tatou and with a jury headed by director Steven Spielberg, the 2013 Cannes Film Festival awarded its top prize, the Palme d’Or, to Abdellatif Kechiche’s lesbian teen romance, Blue is the Warmest Color. What was unusual was that the jury awarded the prize to a trio - to director Kechiche as well has his two lead actresses, Adele Exarchopoulos, and Lea Seydoux. The three-hour film also won the FIPRESCI prize. The film was talked about for its explicit, extended sex scenes between the two unknown lead actresses. It is the first film on a lesbian-gay theme to win the prized Palme D’Or.
The two festival favourites, from the US, Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by the Coen brothers and from Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son’ won the Grand Jury Prize and the Jury Prize respectively, the awards that are considered next in ascendance.
The screenplay award went to Chinese writer-director Jia Zhangke for A Touch of Sin. Some eyebrows were raised when the two actor awards were announced. Bruce Dern won the Best Actor award for his role in Alexander Payne's Nebraska, an amusing and moving story on how old age vagaries can give the concerned younger ones in the family the run around. Actor Bruce Dern played the patriarch with both wit and flair. However, a large number of audience votes were more in favour of Michael Douglas getting the award for his portrayal of the Liberace in the film Behind the Candelabra.
Berenice Bejo was named best actress for Asghar Farhadi's The Past. Here too expectations rested with either of the two actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux getting the award. Ruffled feelings here were appeased by the two actresses sharing the much higher honour, the Palme D’Or. The biggest surprise was Mexico’s Amat Escalante winning the Best Director award for his harsh and violent film, Heli.
And so, another successful Cannes came to a close, with its 2013 edition offering an even high-level feast of films.
2013 Festival de Cannes winners
Palme D’Or: Blue is the Warmest Color, Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Grand Prix: Inside Llewyn Davis, Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Prix de la Mise en Scene (Best Director): Amat Escalante, Heli
Best Screenplay: A Touch of Sin, Writer-director: Jia Zhangke
Camera d’Or (Best First Feature): Ilo Ilo, Director: Anthony Chen
Prix du Jury (Jury Prize): Like Father, Like Son, Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Prix D’Interpretation Feminine (Best Actress): Berenice Bejo, The Past
Prix D’Interpretation Masculine (Best Actor): Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Sony Pictures Classics announced that they have acquired all North American rights to the Viewers Choice Award, Grand Rail d'Or, winner at the 2013 Critics' Week, The Lunchbox written and directed by Ritesh Batra. This could be the first time for an Indian film to have found a buyer while Cannes was still on.