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Former School of the Art Institute student Apichtpong Weerasethakul’s film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” won the Palme d’Or or choice of the festival this year.
“I’d like to thank the jury, particularly Tim Burton, whose haircut I really like,” Weerasethakul, a native of Thailand, told the Cannes crowd.
"Uncle Boonmee" is a dream-like story of a dying man who decides to spend his last days in the countryside. Once there, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, while his long lost son returns home in a non-human form.
Critics have called it short on plot but full of sumptuous images.
Burton said it was the film's unique vision that won over the nine-member jury, which also included Kate Beckinsale and Shekhar Kapur.
"I felt it was a beautiful, strange dream you don't see very often," Burton said at a news conference Sunday. "It's the type of cinema I don't usually see and again, that's what this festival is all about. ... You always want to be surprised by films and it did that for most of us."
Asked whether it had been hard to agree on the winning film, Burton, gesturing at his trademark shades, joked, "That's why I'm wearing dark glasses, I got a black eye today."
Other big winners that night, Juliette Binoche received the best actress prize for her role in “Certified Copy,” by Abbas Kiarostami.
In her acceptance speech Binoche told the crowd, “ 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.”
The Best Actor prize was a tie, shared by “Biutiful” star Javier Bardem and Italian Actor Elio Germano for “Our Life.”
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