A lesbian love story starring Oscar winner Cate Blancett and Rooney Mara won the 2015 Queer Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival this past weekend. The independently sponsored prize, first awarded to Gregg Araki’s surrealistic film Kaboom in 2010, recognizes a film for its treatment of LGBT themes.
Directed by Todd Haynes and set in the same era of his acclaimed film Far From Heaven, Carol is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, and tells the story of two women who have a clandestine love affair in 1950s New York. Blanchett plays Carol, a wealthy married women who falls in love with a frustrated shopgirl played by Mara. The film has been praised for it’s cinematography, direction and performances, resulting in Rooney being named Best Actress at the French film festival.
The Queer Palm jury also gave special mention to Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, starring Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell and out actor Ben Whishaw. The unusual futuristic tale about lovers who risk being turned into animals if they fail to find a partner, was selected by jury chair and director Desiree Akhavan, to broaden the scope of the award, in a year where there were not many overtly gay selections.
When asked why The Lobster was included when it doesn’t contain any explicit gay subject matter, she explained: “The themes in the films selected for the Queer Palm from the different Cannes sections, especially according to French filmmakers, stretch to anything that goes against the mainstream. That’s why this year for example we decided to include The Lobster.”
The Weinstein Company has scheduled Carol for a December 18 release in the U.S., and The Lobster will be arrive in UK theaters this October, with a U.S. date to follow.