Iran's Kiarostami impresses Cannes
Iran's Abbas Kiarostami shaped up as a possible two-time winner of the Cannes film festival's top prize Monday with his first film shot in Europe.
"Certified Copy," starring French actress Juliette Binoche, won a round of enthusiastic applause at a packed press screening here a day before its red carpet premiere.
Kiarostami, 69, who won the Palme d'Or in 1997 with "Taste of Cherry," cast English opera singer William Shimell, who had never previously acted in a film, as the male lead in a bleak tale set in Italy's Tuscany region.
Binoche plays an art dealer who spends a tense day with a British writer during which the pair confront the harsh realities and illusions of marriage.
The Cannes top prize is to be awarded Sunday by a jury which Iran's jailed film-maker Jafar Panahi had been invited to join.
The French government and the festival jury headed by US director Tim Burton have called for Panahi's release.
Kiarostami's own films are not screened in his native country.
© 2010 AFP