Bullying drama scoops Cannes new talent prize

The members of the Un Certain Regard Jury (from L) French director Tonie Marshall, the Head of Cinemas at Centre Pompidou in Paris Sylvie Pras, British actor and Jury President Tim Roth, French actress Leïla Bekhti and Argentinian cinema critic Luciano Monteagudo pose for a picture. "After Lucia" won the top prize

"After Lucia", a harrowing drama about a young girl who falls prey to bullying, on Saturday won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival new talent sidebar, Un Certain Regard.

The movie by Mexico's Michel Franco tells the story of teenaged Alejandra who arrives in a new city with her father after her mother dies in a car accident, only to become the target of vicious bullying at school.

Tessa Ia, the sister of Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal, holds the lead role in the movie, described by its director as "a study of violence in all its forms", and one of 17 competing in the sidebar competition.

Un Certain Regard's jury prize went to "Le Grand Soir" by France's Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern, an oddball road movie about an ageing punk rocker and his brother, who lives a tame life until the day he loses his salesman job.

The best acting prize was shared between Suzanne Clement and Emilie Dequenne, for their parts in "Laurence Anyways" by 23-year-old Canadian Xavier Dolan, and "A Perdre la Raison" by France's Joachim Lafosse, respectively.

Clement plays the girlfriend of a man who decides to undergo a sex change in Dolan's ambitious drama, while Dequenne delivers a searing performance in Lafosse's film about one of society's last taboos, infanticide.

The jury also gave a special mention to "Djeca" (Children of Sarajevo) by Bosnian film-maker Aida Begic, about the lingering ghosts of the country's war.

The Palme d'Or, the top prize in the main competition at Cannes, will be handed out on Sunday to one of the 22 films in the race.