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Belgian film, L'Enfant (The Child), triumphs at Cannes



Story by: Jack Foley

A BELGIAN drama about a young couple living on the breadline in France has won the coveted Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

L'Enfant (The Child) triumphed over 20 other films, including hotly-tipped French psychological thriller, Hidden, and Jim Jarmusch's latest, Broken Flowers, starring Bill Murray and Sharon Stone.

Broken Flowers did, however, win the Grand Prix award - the runner-up for best film, with critics praising it for providing Murray with another terrific role as an aging 'Don Juan' searching for a son he did not know he had.

L'Enfant, however, was the toast of the festival, having been directed by brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne - who previously won the prestigious trophy for their controversial drama, Rosetta, in 1999.

Of the other main awards, Hollywood star, Tommy Lee Jones, was named best actor prize for his performance in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, a Western which he directed.

The film was also named best screenplay.

Hidden, meanwhile, did win a trophy for its Austrian director, Michael Haneke, who had been widely tipped as a possible winner of the Palme d'Or.

Israeli actress, Hanna Laslo, took the best actress accolade for her performance in Free Zone, a drama that dared to envision a Middle East free of its borders.

Laslo accepted the prize from actor Ralph Fiennes and immediately dedicated it to her mother, a survivor of the Holocaust.

The special jury prize, meanwhile, was awarded to Chinese director, Wang Xiaoshuai, for his acclaimed drama, Shanghai Dreams, which chronicles a family in turmoil as it attempts to flee the backwater town it was sent to as part of a state program to develop rural areas.

The first-time directors award (the Golden Camera) was shared by American, Miranda July, and Sri Lanka's Vimukthi Jayasundara.

And Ukraine's Igor Strembitskyy was named best short film.

This year's Palme d'Or competition was notable for marking a return of the arthouse veterans, including Gus Van Sant, Lars von Trier and Wim Wenders.

The trophy was presented by Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank on Saturday, May 21, 2005.

And this year's judges included Mexican actress, Salma Hayek, and acclaimed Spanish star, Javier Bardem.

Last year's winner was Michael Moore's controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11.

Full previews of further Cannes highlights will be appearing on IndieLondon's pages throughout the coming weeks.

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