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French lesbian love story wins top prize at Cannes

An emotional lesbian love story by French director Abdellatif Kechiche won the top prize at the 2013 Cannes festival on Sunday, ending 12 packed days of premieres, celebrity appearances, rain and dramatic jewellery thefts.

La Vie d’Adele – Chapitre 1 & 2 (Blue is the Warmest Colour) was chosen from a field of 20 films full of sex, violence and anguish vying for the Palme d’Or, one of the most coveted film awards after the Oscars.

Critics had picked the film as a possible winner at the 66th Cannes festival but queried whether its no-holds-barred lesbian sex scenes would be a deterrent to the jury deciding the awards led by U.S. filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

Kechiche, an actor who made his directorial debut in 2000, was virtually speechless as he went up on stage to receive his award before a star-studded audience.

The award for best actor went to American Bruce Dern, 76, from Alexander Payne’s film Nebraska in which he played an ageing, alcoholic father on a road trip with his son through the depressed midwestern United States to collect a lottery prize.

French actress Berenice Bejo won the best actress award for playing the wife in Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s tense domestic drama Le Passe (The Past).

The competition was an open field ahead of Sunday’s award ceremony. Another forerunner, the quirky comedy “Inside Llewyn Davis” about a struggling New York folk singer by the American Coen brothers, was named as runner-up.

The third prize went to Japanese director Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son) while the award for best director went to Mexico’s Amat Escalante for his brutal look at Mexico’s drug war, Heli.