The Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was a surprise winner of the Palme d’Or last night, as the Cannes Film Festival closed.
It is the first Asian Palme d'Or winner since Abbas Kiarostami shared it with Japanese film maker Shohei Imamura in 1997.
Uncle Boonmee, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, traces the dreamlike final days of a man dying of kidney failure as the ghost of his dead wife returns to tend him, and his long-lost son comes home in the form of an ape.
There was little surprise that Juliette Binoche was named best actress for her role as the enigmatically named She in Abbas Kiarostami's A Certified Copy.
Critics were united in their praise of her stunning performance, though she told journalists this week that the trickiest part of the role had been filming on Tuscan cobbles wearing heels.
Spain's Javier Bardem was joint winner of the best actor accolade for playing a corrupt policeman who is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He appears in Biutiful, by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, best known for Babel and 21 Grams. Bardem shared the prize with Italian actor Elio Germano for La Nostra Vita.