French-Tunisian director’s lesbian love story wins Palme d’Or at Cannes

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The sexually graphic lesbian love story “Blue is the Warmest Colour” on Sunday scooped the top Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche’s three-hour film set Cannes abuzz with its explicit unassimilated sex scenes and has made a star out of one of its lead actresses Adele Exarchopoulos.

Head of the jury Steven Spielberg, announcing the prize, said the jury was this year taking the unusual step of honouring three people with the award -- Kechiche, Exarchopoulos and the other lead actress Lea Seydoux, who all went on stage to accept the accolade.

Critics swooned over Kechiche’s coming-of-age tale about a girl’s first love, an older woman.

“La Vie d’Adele - Chapitre 1 & 2” [“Blue is the Warmest Color”) is a poignant tale of love and sexuality centered on a 15-year-old girl named Adele, in a breakout performance by Adele Exarchopoulos, and her lover Emma (Lea Seydoux).

“Sure to raise eyebrows with its show-stopping scenes of non-simulated female copulation, the film is actually much more than that: it’s a passionate, poignantly handled love story,” a Hollywood Reporter critic told AFP.

“Remarkably, though, the explicit scenes never really feel pornographic, especially since the film isn’t about titillation or arousal.”

Last year, Michael Haneke’s “Amour” was the far-and-away favorite, and went on to win best foreign language film at the Oscars and earn the rare best picture nomination for a non-English film. In 2011, Terrence Malick’s cosmic rumination “The Tree of Life” won the Palme d’Or.

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