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Cannes: ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Wins Fipresci Prize

‘Manuscripts’ and ‘Ruin’ also winners

CANNES  — Confirming its status as one of the major revelations of year’s Cannes Festival, Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue is the Warmest Color” took the nod Saturday from the Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics as the best film in Cannes Festival’s Competition.

The plaudit goes to a film whose “explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes,” in the words of Variety Justin Chang, do not overshadow for Chang and the films’ other many admirers at Cannes “Blue’s” huge achievement as an emotional epic depicting over three hours a girl’s discovery of her sexuality and her multi-faceted love relationship with another woman over the space of years.

REVIEW: ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color

Leads Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux are also being talked up on the Croisette as front-runners for Cannes’ best actress prize, announced Sunday.

Fipresci plaudits go to one outstanding film in Cannes Competition, another in Un Certain Regard and a third in either Directors’ Fortnight or Critics’ Week.

Fiprecci’s Un Certain Regard nod went to Iranian Mohammad Rasoulof’s “Manuscripts Don’t Burn.” Secretly shot in Iran, the Elle Driver-sold “Manuscript” turns on a former political prisoner who manages to write his memoirs about his time in jail despite being under constant state security surveillance. Plot echoes director Rasoulof’s own situation in Iran, where he is currently on bail, awaiting a one-year prison sentence for shooting without a permit in 2010.

Beyond its subject matter, Rasoulof told Variety at Cannes on Saturday that he was very proud that critics had recognized the cinematographic merits of “Manuscripts.”

Directors’ Fortnight entry “Blue Ruin,” the second pic from Brooklyn-based Jeremy Saulnier (“Murder Party”) and a revenge thriller about a homeless man’s family’s murder, also received Fipresci recognition.

“It’s a humor-laced, action-packed film noir which sheds light on the gun craze and violence in contemporary America,” Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Eduoard Waintrop told Variety before the Festival.

“Blue Ruin” was acquired at Cannes by Radius/The Weinstein Co. in the first U.S. distribution buy anounced at Cannes festival.

Also announced Saturday, Cannes’ Ecumenical Jury awarded its main Prix to “The Past,” from Iran’s Asghar Farhardi who won an Academy Award for “A Separation.”

Anther of this year’s Cannes Competition favourites, and a companion piece to “A Separation,” as Variety senior critic Justin Chang observed to Variety Studio, “The Past” is once more a family melodrama, though this time set in Paris and starring Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”), in which a woman seeks the end to a marriage. As Farhardi’s carefully sprung revelations suggest, however, that is not so easy.

“The Past,” like “Separation,” is backed by France’s Memento Films whose Alexandre Mallet-Guy pointed out that “A Separation” also started out winning an Ecumenical prize.

“I hope ‘The Past’ now follows ‘A Separation’s’ prize course,” he said Saturday in Cannes.

Italian actress Valeria Golino’s directorial debut “Miele” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Cannes Competition contender “Like Father, Like Son” both received commendations from the Ecumenical jury.

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