CANNES - Luke and Body, two mongrels who shared the role of an adorable pet that turns into a killing machine in the film "White God", scooped the Palm Dog for canine talent Friday at the Cannes Film Festival.
The young brothers appeared as Hagen in the latest movie by Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo, a strange, dystopian canine thriller that intrigued critics.
Describing the film as "The Expendables for dogs", the London Times' chief film critic Kate Muir handed over the unofficial Palm Dog award -- a toy bone with Union Jack colours -- to Mundruczo, who had just flown back to the French Riviera resort after promoting his film earlier in the week.
"It was really great to watch how these two races can cooperate," Mundruczo said, adding that the two golden-furred mongrels were talented young newcomers to the movie industry.
"White God" is competing in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival that seeks to recognise new talent and encourage innovative, daring work. The winner is announced Friday evening.
The unofficial Palm Dog award has become something of an institution at the festival, and several dogs were present at the UK pavilion where the event took place.
Imogen Diamond, the elderly, jewel-clad former Bond Girl, showed up with her pooch James Bond, and black Chihuahua Bobik made an appearance with his owner, Russian actress and producer Julia Koroleva.
Luke and Body's star turn in "White God" caps a festival that has seen several stellar performances by man's best friend.
"Every year, I am sorry to say, I receive what I can only describe as joshing from the French journalist community: 'Oh you Anglo-Saxon eccentrics, you and your dogs'," said The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw, a member of the Palm Dog jury.
"Well I can only say that nobody can doubt the importance of dogs this year at Cannes."
In other canine star moments at Cannes, film legend Jean-Luc Godard cast his own dog in his Palme d'Or contender "Goodbye to Language" and "Saint Laurent", a biopic about the famed designer, sees a bulldog dying from a pill overdose.
Previous winners of the Palm Dog include a white poodle who played the part of a blind pet owned by Liberace as well as terriers Smurf and Ged, which featured in British black comedy "Sightseers".
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