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CANNES WATCH: Bloody year for animals who meet gruesome ends in film selection

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CANNES, France - Faint-hearted animal lovers are advised to give this year's Cannes Film Festival selection a wide berth.

An unusually high number of films in the 2014 selection feature creatures that meet gruesome ends in long drawn-out sequences that are sometimes crucial to the plot.

The bunny-boiling-style moments have had audience members gasping, and, at times, covering their eyes.

— Abderrahmane Sissako's acclaimed "Timbuktu" movie started the trend. His movie's turning point hinges on a graphic moment when the protagonist's cherished cow, GPS, is fatally speared in the neck and suffers a slow death on screen.

— Then, the slow-burning drama "Winter Sleep" from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan uses the shooting of a rabbit to illustrate how the protagonist, Ayudin, begins to face reality. There's a close up of the rabbit on its side, fighting for life.

— In Naomi Kawase's Japanese film "Still the Water," several goats have their throats graphically slit and their blood drained.

— In David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," a troubled child-star brat called Benjie Weiss accidently shoots his friend's dog dead, thinking the gun barrel is empty.

— In the "Un Certain Regard" section, Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo's film "White God" sees a loveable K-9 being mistreated and abandoned on the street.

But in "The Wonders" by Alice Rohrwacher, the animal world could be said to get its own back. In one scene where Alexandra Lungu has to put a bee in her mouth, the first-time actress admitted at a press conference that she got bitten.

— by Thomas Adamson — http://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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