Cannes countdown: favourites for the 2013 Palme d’Or

May 24, 2013

Coen brothers’ take on 1960s New York folk scene and landmark lesbian love story lead the hopefuls

Editor's Update: In the event, the Palme d'Or was won on Sunday by 'Blue is the Warmest Colour'. The runner-up prize – the Grand Prix – went to 'Inside Llewyn Davis'. Bruce Dern won Best Actor for 'Nebraska', and Berenice Bejo won Best Actress for 'The Past'.

THE 66th Cannes Film Festival reaches its climax on Sunday with the announcement of the winner of the Palme d’Or for best film. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Pulp Fiction (1994) and The Pianist (2002) and according to the New York Times this year’s title could go to any number of contenders. Here are the frontrunners after ten days of screenings:

Inside Llewyn Davis: Described by as a “razor-sharp deadpan comedy suffused with sorrow about a struggling folk singer in early-1960s New York”, Inside Llewyn Davis is the latest offering from the Coen brothers and features standout performances from British actress Carey Mulligan and singer-actor Oscar Isaac.

The Great Beauty: Directed by Italian Paolo Sorrentino, this has been described by one critic as a “sumptuous feast of a film”. Set in Rome, it follows ageing writer Jep Gambardella (played by Toni Servillo) as he tries to recapture his passion for life by visiting some of the city’s finest sights.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour: Hailed by The Guardian as a “landmark in cinematic depictions of lesbian love and female sexuality”, it stars French actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux (pictured above in Cannes). Called La Vie d’Adele in France, it is directed by Abdellatif Kech and loosely adapted from a steamy “coming out” novel by Julie Maroh.

Nebraska: This black and white film directed by Alexander Payne (who made the 2011 George Clooney move, The Descendants) is a gentle but searching comic drama about a father and son taking a road-trip through America’s heartland. Featuring Bruce Dern and Will Forte, Nebraska has been praised for its cinematography, score but above all its subject.

The Past: French film reviewers are raving about Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, which revolves around a couple (an Iranian and a Frenchwoman) going through a messy divorce in Paris. A French language film, The Past is beautifully acted but some critics accuse of it being too introspective and having too tangled a plot.

Behind the Candelabra: Steven Soderbergh’s film of the Liberace story stars Michael Douglas as the entertainer and Matt Damon as his long-time partner. Critics have been raving about Douglas’s perfomance on a role he described as a fabulous gift after coming through treatment for cancer.

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