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Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan delivers a speech next to US director Quentin Tarantino (left), and US actress Uma Thurman (2nd left), after being awarded with the Palme d’Or for the film ‘Winter Sleep’ during the closing ceremony of the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes
Wintery epic rules at Cannes Director dedicates award to young people in Turkey

CANNES, France, May 25, (Agencies): The richly ruminative Chekhovian drama “Winter Sleep” was awarded the Palme d’Or on Saturday, bestowing the Cannes Film Festival’s top honor on an intimate, wintery epic set on Turkey’s Anatolian steppe. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan accepted the award, handed out by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman at the French Riviera festival. In his speech, Ceylan alluded to anti-government protests in Istanbul that began a year ago and have raged following a recent mining disaster that killed hundreds. “I want to dedicate the prize to the young people in Turkey and those who lost their lives during the last year,” said Ceylan.

For the second year in a row, Cannes awarded its top honor to a film running more than three hours. The French lesbian coming-of-age tale “Blue Is the Warmest Color” won the Palme in 2013; this year, the jury, headed by Jane Campion, opted for Ceylan’s meditative character study about a retired actor running a hotel and lording over his village tenants. “I was scared. I said, ‘I’m going to need a toilet break,’” said Campion backstage about the three hour, 16 minute running time of “Winter Sleep.” But she said the film “took me in,” calling it “masterful” and “ruthless.”

Accepting the award, Ceylan, who has twice won Cannes’ second-highest honor, the Grand Prix, noted it was the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. “It’s a beautiful coincidence,” he said. “Winter Sleep” is the second film by a Turkish director to win the Palme d’Or following Yilmaz Guney and Serif Goren’s “The Way” in 1982. Julianne Moore won best actress for her performance in David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood satire “Maps to the Stars.” Screenwriter Bruce Wagner accepted the award for Moore and cheered the town he savagely parodies in the film: “Vive Los Angeles. Vive David Cronenberg. Vive Julianne Moore. And vive la France,” he said. Best actor went to Timothy Spall, who stars as British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s biopic “Mr. Turner.” He spoke emotionally about a long, humble career that has often gone without such notice. “I’ve spent a lot of time being a bridesmaid,” said the veteran character actor, whose phone rang as he tried to read his speech from it. “This is the first time I’ve ever been a bride.”

Won
Bennett Miller (“Capote,” ‘’Moneyball”) won best director for his wresting drama “Foxcatcher,” the American film that made the biggest impact at Cannes. Miller dedicated his award to his stars Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, as well as producer Megan Ellison. The jury prize was shared by the oddest of couples: Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language.” The two were the oldest (Godard is 83) and youngest (Dolan is 25) directors at the festival. “Goodbye to Language” is a 3-D art-house sensation from the ever-experimental French master (who sent a short film in his absence from Cannes). “Mommy” is a French-language mother-son drama shot in an Instagram-like 1:1 aspect ratio (a square).

Dolan, a Quebec filmmaker who has already made five features, told Campion that her films inspired him to write strong women characters. Campion’s “The Piano” won the Palme in 1993, the sole female director win.
“There are no limits to our ambitions except those we build for ourselves,” said Dolan. Alice Rohrwatcher’s “The Wonders,” an Italian drama about a family of beekeepers, was the surprise winner of the Grand Prix. Rohrwatcher was one of two female directors among the 18 films in competition for the Palme d’Or. “Leviathan,” a tragic satire about small-town corruption in Russia by Andrey Zvyagintsev, took best screenplay. Though the film depicts corrupt local officials in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, it was made with financial support from that country’s Ministry of Culture.

The Camera d’Or, an award for first-time filmmakers, went to “Party Girl,” a portrait of a 60-year-old nightclub hostess by a trio of directors: Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis. Most surprisingly absent from Saturday’s awards ceremony was “Two Days, One Night,” the Dardenne brothers’ working-class drama starring Marion Cotillard. The Dardennes have twice before won the Palme d’Or (no one has ever won three). The ceremony marked the final festival for longtime Cannes President Gilles Jacob, who received a standing ovation. Following the awards, Tarantino introduced a 50th anniversary screening of Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars.”

Showcasing
 Miller scooped the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for “Foxcatcher”, a film showcasing another side to the acting skills of funny Carell. “It’s really something to be supported, and to have people who have faith in you, and to come out the other side,” Miller told the audience at the festival hall in Cannes as he accepted his prize. Speaking afterwards, he lauded Carell’s courage in taking on the role. “I wonder if it can really be communicated how courageous that is to show up knowing that the survivors of the family and the people who lived the story are going to be around set, and that the movie is going to be scrutinised,” he told reporters. Both Mark Schultz and Dave’s widow Nancy came on set to help the actors and filmmakers during the shoot.

Carell said earlier this week that his first encounter with Nancy had been very awkward as he was decked out as his character du Pont when they met. Britain’s Spall on Saturday claimed the best actor prize at Cannes, nearly 20 years after he had to miss the festival because he was diagnosed with cancer. Spall described himself as “like a bewildered 16-year-old” after scooping the prize for his role as British Romantic landscape painter JMW Turner in director Mike Leigh’s historical biopic. Julianne Moore won the best actress prize at the 67th Cannes Film Festival Saturday for her role as a shallow starlet in Canadian director David Cronenberg’s biting Hollywood satire “Maps to the Stars”. Moore won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for portraying Sarah Palin in 2012’s “Game Change,” about Republican John McCain’s doomed 2008 White House run with the former Alaska governor as his gaffe-prone running mate.

Meanwhile, the director of a movie based on the Malaysian Airlines plane disappearance says he rushed the trailer of the project so he could bring it to the Cannes Film Festival. “I was seeing the festival calendars and I could not miss Cannes. And so I told my team to make a trailer immediately,” said Rupesh Paul of his planned film, “The Vanishing Act.” It wasn’t until he arrived at the festival that he faced questions over the timing of the film’s promotion and whether he was being sensitive to the families of the missing passengers.
“These things came in to my thoughts only after I came here,” said Paul, also a producer, in an interview on Saturday. “From the very first interview I was only asked about this fact that we did not even think of much when we were pitching this in India. Nobody asked this question in India actually. When we came to Europe this was the only question I faced.”

The 35-year-old director says he never thought his actions might upset anyone but insists “that nobody will be hurt (by) this movie.” “Why should I gain out of somebody’s pain?” said Paul, who is also behind the movie “Kamasutra 3D,” which was shown to buyers at the festival. The trailer for “The Vanishing Act” shows two crew members kissing as a third looks at them angrily. It’s something the director says will not be included in the main feature. “This trailer was not even meant to get released on the Internet online,” said Paul. “It was meant to show some investors and producers that the movie will be dramatic and thrilling. Somehow it got released, we had to give it to many people, it got out of my hands. And there is no love triangle in this movie at all and there is no romance in this movie.” A handgun is also featured in the movie, but Paul said it isn’t what it seems.

“Everyone that has flown once on even a small flight will definitely understand that it is impossible to carry a gun inside, whatever you do,” he said. “So it’s impossible, but there is a weapon in the story.” The director is keeping tight-lipped about his theory on how the plane disappeared and what will be shown in the film. He said that although he “cannot reveal the climax, it will not be a tragic climax.” The trailer, which also shows commotion and horror on the plane, has garnered more than 300,000 views on YouTube. Authorities still have not been able to locate the plane, which was carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it went missing. Paul is aiming for a September release.

The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival featured a number of remarkable performances, many of them from big-name stars. These were among the actors that had Cannes buzzing:
 

* Steve Carell: It was an open question which star of Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” turned in the most impressive performance. There’s Channing Tatum as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, a physically potent but emotionally stunted man. And as his older sibling and mentor, Mark Ruffalo’s brotherly physicality is also essential. But Carell, with a prosthetic nose and grayed hair, was the one to cause the biggest stir at Cannes for his dramatic turn as the creepy multi-millionaire John du Pont who’s obsessed with the other two.
 

* Kristen Stewart: There’s a clever irony to casting one of the most famous American actresses as the assistant to a European star, played by Juliette Binoche. But in Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria,” Stewart does more than wink at her fame. She’s natural and intelligent in a way she hasn’t been perhaps since the 2009 “Adventureland.”
 

* Timothy Spall: Great artists have often been given majestic big-screen incarnations. In Mike Leigh’s biopic of British master J.M.W. Turner, Spall takes another route. His Turner is a humble, grunting worker whose grand artistry is hidden beneath his gruff manner.
 

* Marion Cotillard: The Dardenne brothers have never before cast a major star as a protagonist, but they said they were smitten by Cotillard after a brief encounter. In their “Two Days, One Night,” Cotillard proved (to most, although not all) that her stardom didn’t interfere in telling a story about a working class woman trying to convince her co-workers to vote against a raise that will eliminate her job.
 

* Robert Pattinson: The former “Twilight” star is beginning to put his teen heartthrob past behind him, and the early returns are encouraging. Along with a supporting role in David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” Pattinson impressed as Guy Pearce’s bloodied, not-all-there companion in David Michod’s Australian thriller “The Rover.”
 

* Evan Bird: “Maps to the Stars,” a midnight dark satire of Hollywood, offers up a lot of choice parts. Most notable is Julianne Moore as a star actress terrified that her status is slipping. But the 14-year-old Evan Bird breaks out playing a Justin Bieber-like child star with an ego far greater than his years.
 

* There were others, too. The Italian family drama “The Wonders” was impossible to imagine without the gentle presence of the young Maria Alexandra Lungu. Alexey Serebryakov enlivened the Russian tragedy “Leviathan”. Ibrahim Ahmed rooted the Turkish “Winter Tale” with uncommon gravity. Jean-Luc Godard’s dog also took a bite out of Cannes — stealing the show in the French master’s 3-D “Goodbye to Language.”

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