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Africa's "fragile" cinema has kept a toe-hold at the Cannes Film Festival, with a veteran Malian director and the first-ever Ethiopian as the continent's only entries in the official selection. "I feel very grateful, lucky and proud to represent this part of the world," said Yared Zeleke, 36, whose movie "Lamb" became the first Ethiopian flick selected for the world's premier film festival. The only other African director among the 50-odd films in the official selection was Souleymane Cisse, a 75-year-old Malian who won the third-place jury prize in 1987 for "Yeelan".
A version of "Macbeth" starring a "dream team" of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard closed the Cannes Film Festival's competition on Saturday, with many critics swooning for the visceral blood-and-betrayal movie. Directed by an Australian, Justin Kurzel, and shot on location mostly in Scotland where the Bard's tragedy is set, the picture plunges the viewer into a naturalistic, brutal world that informs Macbeth's creeping madness as he murders his way to power. The Guardian newspaper said Fassbender and Cotillard are a "dream-team pairing, actors who radiate charisma, perhaps more charisma than can be entirely absorbed into the fabric of the film".
A Cate Blanchett lesbian love story, a gruelling Auschwitz drama, an all-star tableau on the ravages of age, and a slow-burn martial arts movie from Taiwan all looked well-placed to capture top honours from a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen. Audiences swooned over "Carol" by US director Todd Haynes, featuring knock-out performances by Blanchett and Rooney Mara as lovers nearly crushed by the conservative values of their time.
Joel and Ethan Coen, the sibling writing/directing duo behind quirky US cult hits "The Big Lebowski" and "Fargo", and the Oscar-winning "No Country for Old Men", are this year's co-presidents of the jury. The 33-year-old British actress's career took off in 2004's "Layer Cake" (which earned its star, Daniel Craig, the role of James Bond) and her turn as Andy Warhol's muse in 2005's "Factory Girl". Sophie Marceau, 48, has carved out a more-than-three-decade-long career in her native France, and is probably best-known elsewhere for her turns in the big-budget studio movies "Braveheart" and as a Bond villain in "The World is Not Enough".
Australian singer Guy Sebastian will try to beat the Europeans at their own game in Vienna on Saturday night in the 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest, the uproarious pop extravaganza. Eurovision has a cult following in Australia, which led to the special invitation to mark six decades of the show.
Who can follow Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst and wow 200 million viewers worldwide to win the Eurovision Song Contest at its 60th edition in Vienna on Saturday? With five Eurovision victories including ABBA in 1974, Sweden is always a good bet and according to the bookies, Mans Zelmerlow is the man to watch, as long as he remembers his flies. Monika Kuszynska is a combative contestant, refusing to let anything as trifling as her wheelchair -- she was in a car crash in 2006 -- get in the way of lifting Poland's first ever Eurovision title.
A new animated film based on the best-selling French book "The Little Prince" was to premiere in Cannes on Friday, adding a touch of childhood magic to the red carpet of the movie festival. The $63-million (57-million-euro) cartoon is the most expensive France has made, and its choice of a US director, Mark Osborne, who made "Kung Fu Panda", aims it squarely at the family market dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks. Jeff Bridges, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, James Franco and Benicio Del Toro head the English-language voice cast.
CAP D'ANTIBES, France (AP) — Amid celebrity schmoozing, glamorous fashions, musical performances and the frequent banging of the auction hammer, the French Riviera's annual star-filled amfAR gala brought in its expected share of drama — with celebrity invitees including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Sienna Miller and Adrien Brody.
French movie star Gerard Depardieu sought to play down controversy over his views on Ukraine and Russia at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, but couldn't resist the chance to praise his friend Vladimir Putin. After presenting his new movie "Valley of Love" with fellow French icon Isabelle Huppert, Depardieu faced questions about his much-criticised decision to take Russian citizenship in 2013. "I know Vladimir Putin, I like him very much.
The movie industry's obsession with slim figures and six-packs is notorious but if the Cannes Film Festival is anything to go by, a generous gut may now be key to winning critics' hearts. Stars ranging from Colin Farrell, Joaquin Phoenix and France's larger-than-life icon Gerard Depardieu sported "dad bods", as a bit of male flab has come to be known, in well-received movies premiering at cinema's top showcase. While the chiselled torsos of stars such as Matthew McConaughey and French heartthrob Jeremie Elkaim couldn't save their Cannes movies from a critical mauling, a bit of paunch went over big at the festival, at least on screen.
The coveted Palm Dog award for best canine was fetched at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday by Lucky, who appears in an epic Portuguese film, "Arabian Nights". The second-place jury prize went to the father-son Border Collies that appeared in eccentric fable "The Lobster" alongside Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, which the jury said was the first time a dog had played a human trapped in a dog's body. "I think it was the jumpers (sweaters) -- it has 10 different dog jumpers in this film from checked to red," said Kate Muir, film critic for The Times, on presenting the award, adding that Lucky also proved her ability to fetch newspapers.
Actor Tim Roth said he fully supported assisted suicide, saying it was "crazy" that governments still opposed it, after playing an end-of-life nurse in his latest Cannes Film Festival entry on Friday. "I'm all for it -- that's crazy to make people go through that," said Roth at a press conference after a screening of "Chronic" on the French Riviera. Mexican director Michel Franco said he was surprised to find that many nurses helped people die regardless of the law.