A French film portraying a lesbian love story "Blue is the Warmest Color" has won the Palme d’Or for best film at Cannes. Director Abdellatif Kechiche dedicated the award to the youth of Tunisia, where he was born.
The jury at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday evening selected "Blue Is the Warmest Color: The Life of Adele," as this year's best film from a field of 20 works. The French-language original is called "La vie d'Adèle," using the English-language sub-title.
In unusual move, the jury, headed by the American director Steven Spielberg awarded the Palme d'Or not just to the film's French-Tunisian director, Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to the actors who played the main protagonists, Adele Excharopolos and Lea Seydoux.
"I should like to dedicate this film to the wonderful youth of France whom I met during the long period while making this film," said the director, who was joined on stage by the two actors said.
"Those young people taught me a lot about the spirit of freedom and living together," said Kechiche, an actor who made his directorial debut in 2000.
Kechiche, who was born in Tunis, also used the opportunity to back a wave of democracy movements in the Middle East over the past couple of years, which has been dubbed the Arab Spring.
"I would also like to dedicate this film to other youth, something which happened not so very long ago, the revolution in Tunisia," he said. "They also have this aspiration to live free, to express themselves freely and to love in full freedom."
Spielberg later defended graphic scenes in Kechniche's film: "The film is a great love story that made us all feel privileged to be invited to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak," Spielberg told reporters. "The director didn't put any constraints on the narrative."
Mexican wins best director
Cannes' award for best director went to Amat Escalate for his film "Heli" about Mexico's drug wars.
America Hollywood veteran Bruce Dern, 76, took home the award as best actor for his performance in the road move "Nebraska."
Best actress honors went to France's Berenice Bejo for her role in the patchwork family drama "The Past."
Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" starring Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and newcomer Oscar Isaac about a 1960s folk revival earned the Grand Prix, Cannes' second most prestigious award. Breakout star Isaac accepted the award.
Singaporean director Anthony Chen won the Camera d'Or, the award for best first feature, for his "Ilo Ilo."
Set during the Asia financial crisis in 1997, the film is about a Singaporean family and its new maid.
pfd/ipj (AFP, AP)