Turkey's 'Winter Sleep' takes top prize at Cannes

The Turkish film won the Palme d'Or Award for best film.

Turkish film 'Winter Sleep' which examines 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.

CANNES - 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).