It was six years in the making, but Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life has finally borne fruit, taking the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The story of a man looking back at his childhood and coming to understand how his family story is woven into the story of the world, it's a sprawling yet thoughtful epic which, with a little luck, you'll be able to see in UK cinemas in June. The reclusive director did not appear in person to collect his award.
Best Director went to the intermittently brilliant Nicholas Winding Refn for his tight little thriller Drive, in which a stuntman finds himself pursued by an assassin. The director gave profuse thanks to the jury, congratulating them on their wise decision, and praised his lead actor, Ryan Gosling. Meanwhile, Maïwenn Le Besco's Poliss won the Special Jury Prize and the Grand Prix was shared by Once Upon A Time In Anatolia and The Kid With A Bike.
Kirsten Dunst won the Best Actress prize for her work in Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, taking the opportunity to stand up for the director, who has now been banned from Cannes, and to thank him for letting her be "so free". She also thanked the jury for allowing the film to remain in competition after the ban.
Best Actor went to Jean Dujardin for his performance as the swashbuckling hero of The Artist. Joseph Cedar took the Best Screenplay award for Footnote and Best First Feature went to road movie romance Las Acacias. Meanwhile, if there had been an award for worst translation, it would probably have gone to Robert De Niro, who inadvertently called his fellow jury members mushrooms ('champignons') when he meant to call them companions.