Canine from 'Arabian Night' fetches Palm Dog award at Cannes

Canine from 'Arabian Night' fetches Palm Dog award at Cannes
(From left) French producer Julien Seul, French actor Franck Gastambide, French actor Guillaume Gouix, French actress Virginie Ledoyen, French director Eric Hannezo, French actor Lambert Wilson, Canadian actor Francois Arnaud, French producer Marc Dujardin, French producer Renaud Le Van Kim and French producer Guillaume Lacroix pose as they arrive for the screening of the film "Enrages" (Enraged-Rabid Dogs) at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southeastern France, on May 18, 2015

CANNES - The coveted Palm Dog award for best canine was fetched by Lucky, who appears in epic Spanish film "Arabian Nights", at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday.

The Maltipoo breed -- half Maltese and half miniature poodle -- even barked a recorded acceptance speech from his native Spain.

Lucky left several other canine performers fur-ustrated as she snapped up the top prize, which was presented at the UK Film Centre pavilion.

The second-place jury prize went to the father-son Irish dogs that appeared in eccentric fable "The Lobster" alongside Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, which the jury said was the first time a dog had played a human trapped in a dog's body.

But there was no doubting that Lucky was top dog of the festival, not least because of her extensive wardrobe in "Arabian Nights".

"I think it was the jumpers -- it has 10 different dog jumpers in this film from checked to red," said Kate Muir, film critic for The Times, on presenting the award, adding that Lucky also proved her ability to fetch newspapers.

"In a way, the performance straddles the magic realist and social realist meaning of the film, because it also appears as a ghost," Muir added.

The Palm Dog, now in its 15th year, has sometimes been a bone of contention with the French press, who have argued it is an unwanted intrusion of British silliness into their glamourous proceedings.

One French journalist, looking on bemusedly from the back of the room, said he was not sure what to make of it.

"Luckily, I like dogs," he said. "But seen from the French perspective, this is a bit bizarre. The British are weird."

Peter Bradshaw, film critic for The Guardian and a member of the Palm Dog jury, dismissed the criticism and said the award should be seen as a "much-needed dose of Anglo-Saxon common sense".

Master of ceremonies Toby Jones thanked the jury for their efforts, which he said were done on an entirely "pro bone-o" basis, and hoped that the dogs that missed out on this year's award did not feel they were "persona non-barka".

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