Thai film "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" became the first Asian movie since 1997 to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The previous Asian champ was Japan's "The Eel," which shared the golden palm with Iran's "Taste of Cherry."
"Uncle Boonmee," by director Apichatpong Weerasethakul -- about a man taking a mystical journey as he dies of kidney failure -- pulled off a bit of an upset. Front-runners were considered to be Xavier Beauvois' "Of Gods and Men," which won the grand prize, and Mike Leigh's "Another Year," which won nothing. "Uncle Boonmee" may have been popular with the fest jury, but not with Hollywood execs. It failed to secure a U.S. distribution deal while unspooling on the Riviera.
Jury Prize: "A Screaming Man" by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad)
Best director: Mathieu Amalric, "On Tour" (France)
Best screenplay: Lee Chang-Dong, "Poetry" (Korea)
Camera d'Or (first-time director): "Ano Bisiesto" by Michael Rowe (Mexico)
Best short film: "Chienne d'Histoire," by Serge Avedikian (France)
Photo: Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and director Apichatpong Weerasethakul as he accepts the Palme d'Or award for "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" at the Cannes Film Festival. Credit: Eric Gaillard / Reuters