'Uncle Boonmee' wins Cannes' Palme d'Or

11:09 AM PST 05/23/2010 by Rebecca Leffler, AP

Films by Beauvois, Haroun, Amalric also honored

CANNES -- Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" won the Festival de Cannes' top honor, the coveted Palme d'Or, as the 63rd annual Festival de Cannes wrapped Sunday night.

Charlotte Gainsbourg joined jury president Tim Burton to present Weerasethakul with the prize at the traditional closing-night ceremony held in the Palais des Festivals, as the world's most famous film festival wrapped its 12-day run.

"I'd like to thank the jury, particularly Tim Burton, whose haircut I really like," Weerasethakul told the crowd while accepting his Palme d'Or. He added: "I'd like to send a message home: This prize is for you."

Match Factory is handling international sales for the film about a man suffering from acute kidney failure who spends his last days in the country surrounded by his family.

French director Xavier Beauvois' "Of Gods and Men" was awarded the fest's Grand Prize. Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale lead an all-star Gallic cast of Christian monks living in a monastery in Algeria as terror mounts around them. Toward the end of the festival, Sony Pictures Classics picked up U.S., Australian and New Zealand rights to the film.

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Burton was joined on stage by his Jury: Kate Beckinsale, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Alberto Barbera, Emmanuel Carrere, Benicio Del Toro, Victor Erice, Alexandre Desplat and Shekhar Kapur. Imprisoned Iranian filmmaker and Juror Jafar Panahi's seat remained empty.

The jury prize went to Mahamet-Saleh Haroun's "A Screaming Man" from Chad. "I come from the country where nothing much exists," Haroun said, adding: "You need to make films like meals you'd make for people you love."

Kirsten Dunst, who presented her short film in the Critics Week sidebar earlier in the week, presented the prize for Best Director to Mathieu Amalric for his film about American showgirls in France, "On Tour." "It's very moving for me. I have the impression I'm back at home," the Cannes veteran said before asking the star actresses of the film to join him on stage.

South Korean director Lee Chang-dong won the best screenplay award for "Poetry." 

The Best Actress prize went to this year's Festival de Cannes poster girl Juliette Binoche for her role in Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy."

"I still believe in love. I still think I'll get married one day. And I thank all of the men who have put up with me along the way," Binoche told the crowd.

"Certified Copy" has been in French theaters since last Wednesday and MK2 is handling international sales.

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"Biutiful" star Javier Bardem shared the Best Actor prize with Italian actor Elio Germano, star of Daniele Luchetti's "Our Life."

French actress Emmanuelle Beart joined Camera d'Or Jury President Gael Garcia Bernal to present the prize for best first film to Mexican director Michael Rowe's Director's Fortnight title "Leap Year."

The traditionally calm closing night ceremony kicked off with a star-powered red carpet as international actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek and Diane Kruger joined Javier Bardem, Lambert Wilson and Guillaume Canet for the walk up the Palais steps.

The awards were handed out at a gala ceremony presided by Kristin Scott Thomas ahead of a screening of Julie Bertuccelli's "The Tree" starring last year's Best Actress winner Charlotte Gainsbourg.

VIP guests then headed to a closing-night dinner and cocktail party in the Palais Salon des Ambassadeurs, followed by a night of dancing at the Majestic Hotel.
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