Turkish film “Winter Sleep” examining the huge divide between rich and poor and the powerful and powerless in Turkey won the Palme d`Or award for best film for director Nuri Bilge Ceylan on Saturday at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival.Ceylan`s three-hour-plus dark and atmospheric film was only the second Turkish movie to win the top award at the world`s most prestigious film festival, and the director noted that it came on the 100th anniversary year of Turkish film.
He dedicated the honour to “those who lost their lives during the last year”, adding that he was referring to the youth of his country and to unrest in Turkey.
“These young people actually taught us a lot of things. Some of them sacrificed their lives in a way for us,” Ceylan said later at a news conference.
“Le Meraviglie” (The Wonders) by Italian director Alice Rohrwacher took the second-place prize for a coming-of-age story set in the Tuscan countryside as a family tries to eke out a bohemian life making honey.
Twenty-five-year-old Canadian director Xavier Dolan`s film “Mommy” shared the third-place prize with octogenarian French director Jean-Luc Godard's “Adieu au Langage” (Goodbye to Language) that uses 3D imagery to stunning effect.
American director Bennett Miller won the best director award for “Foxcatcher”, British actor Timothy Spall won best actor for Mike Leigh`s film "Mr Turner" and Julianne Moore was named best actress in David Cronenberg`s “Maps to the Stars”.
Spall, best known to cinema audiences as Peter Pettigrew in the “Harry Potter” films, said he felt proud to win the award.
“Leviathan” by Russia`s Andrei Zvyagintsev took the prize for best screenplay.
Critics had applauded “Winter Sleep” as one of the standout films in a festival that was somewhat short on fireworks, with the French newspaper Le Monde calling it “magnificent”.
Variety critic Justin Chang called it a “sprawling, character-rich portrait of a self-absorbed Anatolian hotelier and his uneasy relationships with those around him”.
The only other Turkish film to win the Palme was Yilmaz Guney and Serif Goren`s “The Way” (1982).
Jury head Jane Campion said she had been daunted by the running length of three hours and 16 minutes but said “it had such a beautiful rhythm ... I could have stayed there a couple more hours”.
“The real gift of this film is how honest it is,” she said.
Campion, the only woman to have won the Palme d'Or, said it had not mattered to her or the jury whether a man or woman won.