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Sunday, May 23, 1999 Published at 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK


Rosetta wins Cannes prize

Here's looking at you: Rosetta star Emilie Dequenne

The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded the coveted Palme d'Or for best film to the Belgian directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, for the film Rosetta, a poignant tale about a teenager's struggle to overcome a life of misery.

For a full list of winners, click here.

Rupert Carey: European films dominated the festival
The star of the film, the Belgian actress Emilie Dequenne, also shared the Best Actress award. Visibly stunned, Miss Dequenne wept on stage and thanked her family and the two directors for their support.

The second big winner at Cannes 1999 was the film Humanity which took the Grand Jury Prize. The film is the tale of a small-town policeman who investigates a sordid murder.

The French actress Severine Caneele, who starred in the film, also shared the Best Actress award with Miss Dequenne.

And the prize for Best Actor went to Emmanuel Schotte, who also starred in Humanity. Neither Caneele nor Schotte are professional actors.

[ image: Pedro Almodovar: Received a standing ovation]
Pedro Almodovar: Received a standing ovation
"I would like to thank everyone for this award, and I hope there will be more humanity in this world," Schotte said in his acceptance speech.

The Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar, was awarded the Best Director prize for his melodrama All About My Mother which is the story of four female characters: a single mother, a transvestite, a young nun and a lesbian actress.

Almodovar, who was the only winner to receive a standing ovation during the night, was critics' favourite to win the Palme d'Or.

In his acceptance speech he paid tribute to his actresses and to three other directors whom many felt should have been among the winners: Americans David Lynch for The Straight Story, Jim Jarmusch for Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai; and Atom Egoyan, the Canadian director of Felicia's Journey.

In other awards, the Indian director Murali Nair was awarded the festival's Golden Camera award for Marana Simhasanam (Throne of Death).

The film tells the misadventures of a poor labourer used as a political ploy during an electoral campaign.

[ image: Scott Thomas: Presiding over awards]
Scott Thomas: Presiding over awards
There was also success for the acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige.

His period epic The Emperor and the Assassin took the festival's best artistic contribution award.

The star-studded ceremony was presided over by the British actress, Kristin Scott Thomas.

The 10-member jury was headed by the Canadian director, David Cronenberg, whose controversial movie Crash won the 1996 Special Jury Prize at the festival.

Other Jury members included actors Jeff Goldblum and Holly Hunter; directors Andre Techine, George Miller, Maurizio Nichetti and Doris Dorrie; playwright Yasmina Reza; classical singer Barbara Hendricks and French actress Dominque Blanc.

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