* Second Turkish film in Cannes history wins top prize
* Britain's Spall, America's Julianne Moore best actors
* Canada whiz kid Dolan shares jury prize with Godard
(Adds quotes from press conferences, details)
By Michael Roddy and Alexandria Sage
CANNES, France, May 24 Turkish film "Winter
Sleep" examining the huge divide between rich and poor and the
powerful and powerless in Turkey won the Palme d'Or award for
best film for director Nuri Bilge Ceylan on Saturday at the 67th
Cannes International Film Festival.
Ceylan's three-hour-plus dark and atmospheric film was only
the second Turkish movie to win the top award at the world's
most prestigious film festival, and the director noted that it
came on the 100th anniversary year of Turkish film.
He dedicated the honour to "those who lost their lives
during the last year", adding that he was referring to the youth
of his country and to unrest in Turkey.
"These young people actually taught us a lot of things. Some
of them sacrificed their lives in a way for us," Ceylan said
later at a news conference.
"Le Meraviglie" (The Wonders) by Italian director Alice
Rohrwacher took the second-place prize for a coming-of-age story
set in the Tuscan countryside as a family tries to eke out a
bohemian life making honey.
Twenty-five-year-old Canadian director Xavier Dolan's film
"Mommy" shared the third-place prize with octogenarian French
director Jean-Luc Godard's "Adieu au Langage" (Goodbye to
Language) that uses 3D imagery to stunning effect.
An emotional Dolan said he thought the jury may have twinned
him with Godard, an inventor of "New Wave" film, "because of our
respective searches for freedom in cinema".
American director Bennett Miller won the best director award
for "Foxcatcher", British actor Timothy Spall won best actor for
Mike Leigh's film "Mr Turner" and Julianne Moore was named best
actress in David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars".
Spall, best known to cinema audiences as Peter Pettigrew in
the "Harry Potter" films, said he felt proud to win the award.
"I'm like a bewildered 16-year-old girl, or boy," he said.
"I'm so astounded by this award, it's amazing."
"Leviathan" by Russia's Andrei Zvyagintsev took the prize
for best screenplay.
"It was an extremely diverse ensemble - films that were
classical, films that were radical, films that were about the
future of cinema," jury member and Danish director Nicolas
Winding Refn said after the awards were announced.
Hollywood Reporter critic Stuart Kemp told Reuters there
were "no surprises with the awards going to predictable places".
Critics had applauded "Winter Sleep" as one of the standout
films in a festival that was somewhat short on fireworks, with
the French newspaper Le Monde calling it "magnificent".
Variety critic Justin Chang called it a "sprawling,
character-rich portrait of a self-absorbed Anatolian hotelier
and his uneasy relationships with those around him".
The only other Turkish film to win the Palme was Yilmaz
Guney and Serif Goren's "The Way" (1982).
Jury head Jane Campion said she had been daunted by the
running length of three hours and 16 minutes but said "it had
such a beautiful rhythm ... I could have stayed there a couple
"The real gift of this film is how honest it is," she said.
Campion, the only woman to have won the Palme d'Or, said it
had not mattered to her or the jury whether a man or woman won.
"It never entered our discussions the gender of the
filmmaker that won," Campion said. "These films were on equal
basis with each other. We didn't go, 'Oh my God, was this made
by a woman or a man?' We were moved and responded to the film."
Despite its setting in the vast Anatolian steppe, the film's
atmosphere is almost claustrophobic as it shows a rich man and
former actor named Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) who uses his intellect
and position to bully his tenants and beat his wife and sister
into intellectual submission.
Ceylan was peppered with questions during the festival about
a recent coalmine disaster in Turkey, and about unrest and
whether his film was trying to explore these themes.
He said current events were important for him, but what his
films really were about was human nature.
"I can find enough motivation only if I make movies about
the human nature," he said. "My motivation and starting point is
to try to understand the dark side of my soul and that means
human nature as well."
British film critic Richard Mowe, who served on the Cannes
Directors Jury, said the centenary of Turkish film might have
been a consideration in the award to Ceylan, but he doubted that
the Palme d'Or would boost its commercial potential.
"It's a hard film to get into cinemas because you can't even
describe what it's about in an easy way - it's all very
metaphysical and metaphorical," Mowe said.
This year's festival had its share of glitz and glamour,
with Nicole Kidman playing Grace Kelly in "Grace of Monaco," the
widely panned film that opened the festival but was not in
Those making a requisite turn down the red carpet flanked by
tuxedo-wearing photographers included Sophia Loren, Sharon
Stone, Aishwarya Rai, Uma Thurman and John Travolta, Eva
Longoria, Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain.
(Additional reporting by Alexandria Sage; Writing by Michael
Roddy; Editing by Gunna Dickson)