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Brad Pitt in Terence Malick’s ‘Tree of Life,’ winner of the Palme D’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

The mysteriously enigmatic U.S. director Terrence Malick took the Cannes film festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or, Sunday evening,  for his film The Tree of Life-  about a family of sons dominated by a tyrannical father in Texas, and the origins and mysteries of life. The film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and luminous newcomer Jessica Chastain. Shy as ever, Malick had one of the film’s co-producers, Bill Pohlad accept the award on his behalf. (Malick also did not promote the film at the festival.)

“I know he is thrilled with this award, as are all of us,” Pohlad said. “The Tree of Life was a long road.” Malick apparently took an extra year re-cutting and fine-tuning the film, which was originally set to screen at the 2010 Cannes film festival.

The award ceremony brought an end to the May 11-22 Cannes Film Festival. Belgium’s Dardenne brothers and Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan shared the runner-up Grand Prix prize “The Kid With a Bike” and “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia.” Denmark’s Nicolas Winding Refn won the best director prize for his high-octane film noir “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, about a stuntman who moonlights as a get-away car driver.

The lovely Kirsten Dunst won the Cannes version of  “Best Actress” for her portrayal of a depressed woman at the end of the world in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia.”

“Well, what a week it’s been,” Dunst sighed, referencing the fact that her controversial director von Trier was named persona non grata by the Cannes team after his strange Hitler remarks at a recent press conference.

“I’d like to say thank you to the Cannes film festival for allowing the film to be in competition, it’s such a special night for me,” she said, and thanked von Trier for casting her.

French actor Jean Dujardin took the best actor award for his role as a silent movie star, fighting to deal with advent of talking films, in Michel Hazanavicius’  all silent movie “The Artist.”

Winners

In Competition :

Feature films

Palme d’Or
THE TREE OF LIFE directed by Terrence MALICK

Grand Prix Ex-aequo
BIR ZAMANLAR ANADOLU’DA (ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA) directed by Nuri Bilge CEYLAN
LE GAMIN AU VÉLO (THE KID WITH A BIKE) directed by Jean-Pierre et Luc DARDENNE

Award for Best Director
Nicolas WINDING REFN for DRIVE

Award for Best Screenplay
Joseph CEDAR for HEARAT SHULAYIM (Footnote)\

Award for Best Actress
Kirsten DUNST in MELANCHOLIA directed by Lars VON TRIER

Award for Best Actor
Jean DUJARDIN in THE ARTIST directed by Michel HAZANAVICIUS

Jury Prize
POLISSE (POLISS) directed by MAÏWENN

Short Films

Palme d’Or – Short Film
CROSS (CROSS – COUNTRY) directed by Maryna VRODA

Jury Prize – Short Film
BADPAKJE 46 (SWIMSUIT 46) directed by Wannes DESTOOP

 

Cinefondation :

1st Prize Cinéfondation
DER BRIEF (THE LETTER) directed by Doroteya DROUMEVA

2nd Prize – Cinéfondation
DRARI directed by Kamal LAZRAQ

3rd Prize Cinéfondation
YA-GAN-BI-HANG (FLY BY NIGHT) directed by SON Tae-gyum

Golden Camera :

Caméra d’or
LAS ACACIAS directed by Pablo GIORGELLI

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