‘Uncle Boonmee’ wins Palm d’Or at Cannes Film Festival

Thai film about a dying man scoops festival’s top prize

Thai film Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives has won the top prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, the Palm d’Or.

The film from Apichatpong Weerasethakul centres on a dying man visited by the spirits of his dead wife and son, and was awarded the prize from a jury led by Alice in Wonderland director Tim Burton.

The award came as something of a surprise in a year that Cannes heavyweights Ken Loach and Mike Leigh went home empty-handed.

Weerasethakul dedicated the honour to his fellow countrymen and criticised Thailand’s rigid censorship rules.


He said: “I’d like to thank the jury, particularly Tim Burton, whose haircut I really like. I’d like to send a message home: this prize is for you.”

Of Gods And Men, the drama from Xavier Beauvois which featured Christian monks in an Algerian monastery and told the true story of their kidnap and deaths at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, won the Grand Prix gong – the second most prestigious award at Cannes.

Javier Bardem and Elio Germano shared the Best Actor prize for their respective roles in Biutiful – the drama from Babel and Amores perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu where Bardem played an underworld businessman dying of cancer – and La Nostra Vita, an Italian comedy. Juliette Binoche scooped the Best Actress award for Certified Copy.

Kirsten Dunst presented France’s Mathieu Amalric – perhaps best known to British audiences as an actor, having played a Bond villain Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace – with the directorial award for his burlesque comedy-drama Tournee, and the screenplay prize going to South Korea’s Lee Chang-dong for Poetry.

Cannes 2010 was considered by many to be lacking the wow factor this year, with few stand-out entries, and few big name blockbusters, which traditionally screen out of competition. Robin Hood – from Gladiator duo Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe – opened the festival, but the premiere on May 12 fell on the same day as the film opened on general release in the UK.