Cannes : 'Titane' wins top Cannes honour. French director Julia Ducournau gets Palme d''Or.

Titane, a wildly imaginative film about a serial killer by French director Julia Ducournau, won the top  Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, as revealed by jury head Spike Lee ahead of time in a gaffe at the ceremony.

In a moment of confusion, when asked in French to reveal what one of the prizes was, the US film director read off a card and prematurely announced the Best Movie winner. ''No excuses, I messed up,'' Lee told a news conference after the event. ''I'm a big sports fan, it's like the guy at the end of the game at the foul line, he misses a free throw, or the guy misses a kick.''

It was not the first blooper moment of an awards ceremony : at the 2017 Oscars, musical La La Land was incorrectly announced as Best Movie, instead of  Moonlight.

Dcournau, 37, became only the second woman to win the the top award at Cannes. Her violent film split critics, with some praising its originality but others put off by its frantic and messy approach.

''Ducournnau's beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy is a nightmarish yet mischievously comic barrage of sex, violence, lurid lighting and pounding music,'' critics at at the BBC broadcaster said. ''It's also impossible to predict where it's going to go next.''

Described as a ''body horror'' film based around a character with a titanium plate in her head, Titane  impressed with its energy. ''I've never seen a film in my life where a Cadillac impregnated a woman,'' Lee said.

Ducournau had previously found critical success with Raw in 2016. The only previous female winner of Cannes' top award was Jane Campion who shared the prize in 1993 for The Piano.

The world's biggest film festival returned to the French Riviera after a 2020 hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic in one of the most unpredictable contests in years.

Stars happy to be back

The event drew stars such as Matt Damon and Sharon Stone to the red carpet, with moviemakers and actors delighted to be back, though attendance was down on previous years.

Once the awards were officially announced, other big winners included Leos Carax, picked as Best Director for Annette, a musical about two artists caught in a twisted love affair.

Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Takamusa Oe of Japan won Best Screenplayfor their tale of  heartbreak and loss Driv My Car.

Renate Reinsve won Best Actress for her role on  The Worst Person in The World by Joachim Trier, a modern-day romantic comedy that was a big hit with critics.

Compartment No 6 by Juho Kuosmanen, about a woman who embarks on a train journey across Russia, tied with  A Hero by Iran's Asghar Farhadi, which features a prisoner faced with a moral quandary, for the Grand Prix distinction.

Caleb Landry Jones, who starred in Australian Nitram, won Best Actor.

The Jury Prize, another runner-up award for Best Movie, went to two films : Ahed's Knee by Israel's   Nadav Lapid and Memoria by Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul. [Reuters]


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