CANNES, France – The Chekhovian Turkish drama “Winter Sleep” was awarded the Palme d’Or Saturday at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival.
Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan accepted Cannes’ top honor, handed out by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman. In his speech, Ceylan alluded to the recent mining disaster in Soma, Turkey, in which 301 workers were killed.
“I want to dedicate the prize to the young people in Turkey and those who lost their lives during the last year,” said Ceylan. “I dedicate this to them.”
For the second year in a row, the Cannes Film Festival awarded its top honor to a film running more than three hours. A year after the French coming-of-age tale “Blue Is the Warmest Color” won the Palme, the jury headed by Jane Campion opted for Ceylan’s ruminative drama about a wealthy family running a hotel in the snowy Turkish hills and their strained relationship with their village tenants.
“I was scared. I said, ‘I’m going to need a toilet break,”’ said Campion 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, whose previous film “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” took Cannes’ Grand Prix in 2011, noted it was the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema.
“It’s a beautiful coincidence,” he said.
Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) won the award for 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.
Julianne Moore won best actress for her performance in David Cronenberg’s Hollywood satire “Maps to the Stars.” Best actor went to Timothy Spall who stars as British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s biopic “Mr. Turner.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time being a bridesmaid,” said the veteran character actor Spall, whose phone rang as he tried to read his speech from it. “This is the first time I’ve ever been a bride.”
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 Quebecois 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.
The Italian family drama “The Wonders,” by Alice Rohrwatcher, was the surprise winner of Cannes Grand Prix, the festival’s second highest award. “Leviathan,” a tragic satire about small-town corruption in Russia, won best screenplay.
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.
The ceremony marked the final festival for longtime Cannes President Gilles Jacob.
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