'Grand Central'

From right, French director Rebecca Zlotowski and actors Tahar Rahim, Lea Seydoux, Camille Lellouche and Denis Menochet. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP / Getty Images / May 18, 2013)

CANNES, France -- The audiences at the Cannes Film Festival, if they are so moved, really know how to do things right when it comes to recognizing new film talent. This was the case in spades with the Saturday morning premier of Rebecca Zlotowski’s “Grand Central.”

The second film for the 33-year-old Paris-born co-writer and director, “Grand Central” debuted in the Un Certain Regard section before an audience that included French film luminaries like “A Prophet” director Jacques Audiard.

CHEAT SHEET: Cannes Film Festival 2013 trailers

Starring “A Prophet” leading man Tahar Rahim, Lea Seydoux and Olivier Gourmet, “Grand Central” turned out to be a nifty neo-noir that expertly details an amour fou between Rahmin’s rootless worker and Seydoux’s Lana Turner lookalike, smartly set in the toxic ambiance surrounding one of France’s numerous nuclear power plants.

When the film ended, the festival’s Theatre Debussy simply exploded in sustained, rhythmic applause that lasted more than five minutes. A spotlight was turned on the director, resplendent in a lime green dress, and the crowd circled her and kept clapping boisterously as she embraced her costars one by one.

“Bravo, Rebecca,” someone shouted from the balcony, as the director was kissed on both cheeks by festival head Thierry Fremaux. Then, finally, the crowd let her go.

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