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Cannes 2011: The Tree of Life wins the Palme d'Or

Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life

Story by Jack Foley

TERRENCE Malick’s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, has taken the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes.

The film, set in 1950s America, revolves around the relationship between a father and son. It divided critics following its press screening. Find out more

But leading man Brad Pitt told reporters at a press conference that it was a “universal” film that reflected Malick’s desire “to speak to all cultures”. Read more

Accepting the award on Malick’s behalf, the film’s producers Bill Pohlad and Sarah Green jointly joked “Terry remains incredibly shy”, before Pohlad added. “The Tree of Life was a long road. Winning this award tonight has made it all worthwhile.”

In other awards, Nicolas Winding Refn was named best director for Drive and Kirsten Dunst won best actress for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia

Jean Dujarin, meanwhile, was named best actor for The Artist. The French actor won widespread acclaim for his performance as a silent movie star struggling to deal with the transition to the talkies.

While the Grand Prix was shared by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid With A Bike and , by Nuri Bilge.

Best Screenplay went to Israeli film-maker Joseph Cedar for Footnote, which chronicles the rivalry between a father-son pair of Talmudic scholars.

And the best short film was awarded to Maryna Vroda for Cross Country.

Polisse, a gritty film from French actress-director Maiwenn, received the special Jury Prize.

This year’s Jury President was Robert De Niro.