Image 1 of 8: There’s nothing like a 10 minute lesbian sex scene to spark chattering among the Cannes crowd but Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche also turned out to be the critics’ darling, as his film ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ scooped the coveted Palme d’Or
Image 1 of 8: Iranian Asghar Farhadi didn’t quite cut the French mustard in the Best film/director categories, but he was happy to bask in the reflected glory of Francophone actress Berenice Bejo, who picked up the Best Actress gong for her performance in Farhadi’s ‘The Past.’
Image 1 of 8: The Iranian instigator's name might be anathema in the Persian establishment, sentenced to jail in the homeland, but the director of the offending ‘Manuscripts’ was not about to skip his ball. Rasoulof made it to Cannes where he stuck it to the Frenchman by flashing his banned film
Image 1 of 8: A good place for Francophone Arab artistes, Cannes attracted the controversial Maghrebi cartoonists, Tunisian Nadia Khiari and Algerian Ali Dilem, who rocked up to inject some Arab Spring spice into the prestigious Palme festival
Image 1 of 8: Ali Mosaffa was another one for the Persian prize fleet. The Iranian actor-director could walk proud as part of the winning set for Farhadi’s “The Past”. Already bringing in an Academy Award for its director, the film bagged recognition at Cannes with the Ecumenical Jury
Image 1 of 8: Dutch-Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad is no stranger to Cannes glory - in 2005 his Palestinian-based film ‘Paradise Now’ caused a buzz. He’s back with ‘Omar’, bringing together Palestinian bakers and Israeli soldiers...it’s sure to ruffle a few feathers and is definitely one to watch!
Image 1 of 8: Maya Diab, Lebanese model and singer, is clearly ready for bikini season as she was showing a lot of skin on the red carpet. Bedecked in jewels and with enough volume in her eyelashes to cause a public safety warning, Diab gave the French cameras her best angle
Image 1 of 8: We never see Saudi Mohammed Al Turki without a gorgeous lady on his arm. This time the British babe Carly Steele was keeping him company on the Red Carpet. Multitalented Turki was actually in Cannes for work, seeking out distributors for his new indie film project. Watch this space for more!
It seems that Middle Easterners at Cannes are front and centre stage. Whether it be showcasing top notch directors or providing the finest of ‘lady companions’ to the worlds hottest (and richest), Arabs are dominant on the red carpet in the south of France and this year was no different.
A couple of things seemed a-miss to the keener eye - usually a staple of fine film, Egyptian movies were seriously under-represented this year. Knocking them off their podium were North Africa and Iran, with a Tunisian film taking the Palm D’Or.