Sex and violence

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Sex, violence and emotional anguish found resonance in the films screened at the Cannes film festival this year, including many of those vying for the top honour — the Palme d’Or.
Frontrunners for the prize, Abdellatif Kechiche’s love story La Vie d’Adele (Blue is the Warmest Colour) had graphic lesbian sex scenes, while Francois Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful) focused on a 17-year-old prostitute and celebrated director Roman Polanski’s La Venus a la Fourrure (Venus in Fur) explored a sexual power play between a writer and actress.
Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra was about the flamboyant pianist Liberace and his gay lover, played by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Family anguish filled Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son) about two boys swapped at birth while Takashi Miike, took on violence in police thriller Wara No Tate (Shield of Straw).
The festival — now in its 66th edition — got off to a violent start with a brutal torture scene in Mexican drama Heli and with Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin) by Jia Zhangke, but the blood-letting in Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn sharply divided critics.
Films on the short list also included Le Passe (The Past), a domestic drama by Asghar Farhadi and the menacing Borgman by Alex Van Warmerdam .
Choosing the winners of the top prize was a jury led by filmmaker Steven Spielberg with actresses Nicole Kidman, Vidya Balan and Oscar-winning director Ang Lee. Jury members mingled on the red carpet on Cannes’ palm-lined waterfront with A-list stars from around the globe since the festival opened with Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s lavish The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
“It’s been a good year at Cannes but it (was) harder than usual to predict the winner as there was no one stand-out film,” critic Jay Weissberg said.

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