'Blue is the Warmest Color' is Cannes' Palme d'Or
Actress Lea Seydoux, left, director Abdellatif Kechiche, centre, and Adele Exarchopoulos pose with the Palme d'Or award for the film La Vie D'Adele during a photo call after an awards ceremony at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
CANNES, France (AP) — The tender, sensual lesbian romance "Blue is the Warmest Color: The Life of Adele" won the hearts of the 66th Cannes Film Festival, taking its top honor, the Palme d'Or.
The jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, took the unusual move of awarding the Palme not just to Tunisian-born director Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to the film's two stars: Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux. The three clutched each other as they accepted the award, one of cinema's greatest honors.
"The film had a beautiful French youth that I discovered during the long time filming the movie," said Kechiche at the festival closing ceremony Sunday. "It taught me a lot about the spirit of freedom."
Berenice Bejo poses with the Best Actress award for her role in The Past during a photo call after an awards ceremony at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 26, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Exarchopoulos stars in the French film as a 15-year-old girl whose life is changed when she falls in love with an older woman, played by Seydoux. The three-hour film caught headlines for its lengthy, graphic sex scenes, but bewitched festival goers with its heartbreaking coming of age story.
"Life of Adele," which premiered at Cannes just days after France legalized gay marriage, was hailed as a landmark film for its intimate portrait of a same-sex relationship.
"The film is a great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning," said Spielberg. "The director didn't put any constraints on the narrative, on the storytelling. He let the scenes play as long as scenes play in real life."