Thai film 'Uncle Boonmee' wins top prize in Cannes

Thai film 'Uncle Boonmee' wins top prize in Cannes

Thai film 'Uncle Boonmee' wins top prize in Cannes

Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (L) poses with cast member Javier Bardem after winning the Palme d'Or award for the film Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives) during the award ceremony of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on Sunday. ReutersThe mystical exploration of reincarnation as a well-to-do farmer confronts his imminent death was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

"I would like to thank all the spirits and all the ghosts in Thailand who made it possible for me to be here," he said after receiving the award, decided by the jury headed by U.S. director Tim Burton.

Weerasethakul, who has won other prizes in Cannes before, said during the festival that his thoughts were mainly on violence back home between government forces and protesters in the "red shirt" movement.

Uncle Boonmee was among the favourites for awards at the end of the 12-day cinema showcase on the French Riviera, although it beat the two frontrunners -- Mike Leigh's "Another Year" and Xavier Beauvois' "Of Gods and Men".

The latter, based on the real-life story of seven monks murdered during unrest in Algeria in the 1990s, took the runner-up Grand Prix award.

Best actress went to France's Juliette Binoche for her turn in "Certified Copy", by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami.

The best actor award was shared between Spain's Javier Bardem, for "Biutiful", and Italy's Elio Germano for "Our Life". Both had been tipped for the prize.

French actor and filmmaker Mathieu Amalric won the best director prize for "On Tour" and the screenplay award went to South Korean entry "Poetry".

Chadian picture "A Screaming Man" picked up the jury prize, effectively for third best movie out of the 19 in the main competition in Cannes eligible for awards.