Cannes Film Festival – Mike Leigh, Dardenne brothers, Nuri Bilge Ceylan lead field to scoop Palme d’Or

UnknownAs the 67th Cannes Film Festival reaches the halfway point, three films have emerged so far as top contenders to win the coveted Palme d’or on Saturday. The Dardenne brothers, Deux Jours, Une Nuit  (Two days, One Night)  was given five-star reviews after today’s screening from critics at The Guardian, Le Monde newspaper and Premier magazine.
The film follows Sandra (Marion Cottilard) who returns to work after a breakdown to find her job has gone and her colleagues stand to take home a 1000 euro bonus if they can increase productivity. She has the weekend to convince them to give up the bonus so she can keep her job.  A win on Saturday for the Dardennes would give them an unprecedented third Palme d’or. Cottilard, who won the  best actress award in Cannes 2006 for her role as Edith Piaf in La Môme, is also strongly tipped to take home the prize this year as well.

Elsewhere, Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner which opened the competition a week ago, has drawn rave reviews including a best actor nod for its star Timothy Spall. The film is a period biographical drama about the Romantic landscape artist JMW Turner. Leigh was the winner of the Palme d’or in 1996 for Secrets and Lies. Spall could win best actor, but he faces stiff competition from Steve Carrell in Bennet Miller’s Foxcatcher.

Carell plays John DuPont an eccentric American millionaire who decides to buy the national wrestling team to try and win a gold medal for the US at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It’s a change of direction for Carell who is usually more at home in comedy films such as The 40-year-old Virgin,  Date Night and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Finally Winter Sleep by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is creating a top prize buzz with French magazine Telerama describing it as “3h15 of complete joy”. It’s the story of a rich, retired actor who wants to play God.  Ceylan has already won at Cannes for Uzak, ThreeMonkeys and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, although never the coveted Palme d’Or.

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