Cannes 2009: The Tomato Report - Haneke's The White Ribbon Scoops Palme d?Or

While Inglourious' Christoph Waltz wins Best Actor

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Michael Haneke took Cannes' top honour tonight as his film, The White Ribbon, won the prestigious Palme d'Or. It's Haneke's third major Cannes prize but his first Palme d'Or. The director took to the stage to be presented with the award by jury president Isabelle Huppert, who starred in his 2001 film La Pianiste (The Piano Teacher). Set in a small German town on the eve of the First World War, The White Ribbon is a tragic tale of life as conflict approaches. "Happiness is a rare thing, but this is a moment in my life when I am truly happy," Haneke told the Cannes audience.

Another film heavily tipped for the Palme, Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, went home with the Grand Jury prize but failed to win Best Actor for its young star Tahar Rahim, despite much praise for his performance. That award instead went to Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds and his role as Nazi 'Jew Hunter' Col. Hans Landa, who thanked his director in a speech which mixed French, German and English. "You gave me my vocation back," he said.

Dominique Charriau/
Michael Haneke takes home the Palme d'Or

Charlotte Gainsbourg won the Best Actress award for her role alongside Willem Dafoe in Lars von Trier's controversial and explicit meditation on grief, Antichrist. It was the only award for a film which has heavily divided critics as von Trier is wont to do. From a showbiz dynasty, Gainsbourg thanked her mother, Jane Birkin, and late father Serge Gainsbourg in her speech.

Brillante Mendoza took the best directing prize for Kinatay while Lou Ye's Spring Fever won the screenplay award. Honouring a first film, the Camera d'Or went to Aussie Warwick Thornton for Samson & Delilah, which ran in Un Certain Regard. Yaron Shani's Ajami, running in Director's Fortnight, got a special mention for the award.

Two films shared the jury prize. Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, also heavily tipped for the Palme, shared the award with Park Chan-wook's vampire tale Thirst. Arnold took the same prize for her debut feature Red Road in 2006, while Park won the Grand Prize for Oldboy in 2004.

87-year-old director Alain Resnais took to the stage to receive a lifetime achievement award, the Exceptional Prize of the Cannes Film Festival, and received a standing ovation. His film, Wild Grass, is his sixth in competition at the festival.

Best Short went to Joao Salaviza for Arena, while a special mention went to The $6.50 Man by Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland.

Click on the film titles below to jump straight to our Tomato Report articles with further information on critical reactions to them.

Palme d'Or
The White Ribbon - Michael Haneke

Grand Prix
A Prophet - Jacques Audiard

Lifetime achievement award
Alain Resnais - Wild Grass

Brillante Mendoza - Kinatay

Jury prize
Fish Tank - Andrea Arnold
Thirst - Park Chan-wook

Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

Charlotte Gainsbourg -- Antichrist

Mei Feng - Spring Fever