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Polanski wins Palme d'Or

Polanski said he was honoured
Polanski said he was honoured  

CANNES, France -- Director Roman Polanski has won the Cannes film festival's coveted Palme d'Or for "The Pianist."

"I'm honored and moved to accept this prize for a film that represents Poland," said the 68-year-old director of such classics as "Chinatown," "Repulsion" and "Rosemary's Baby."

The decision of the jury was announced on Sunday and marked the end of the annual festival.

"The Pianist" is the story of one man's survival in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II.

Finland's Kati Outinen won the award for best actress for her performance in "The Man Without a Past," as a Salvation Army officer who falls in love with a man who has lost his memory.

The award for best actor went to Belgium's Olivier Gourmet, who starred as a carpenter forced into an awkward relationship with an adolescent who murdered his son in "Le Fils" ("The Son").

"The Pianist" was one of 22 films from 15 countries in contention for the Palme d'Or, ranging in style from a school-shooting documentary to a comedy about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Critics has said the field was wide open with no clear front-runner.

Festival president Gilles Jacob said the process was akin to diplomatic negotiations.

"There are some people who can hold their position for an hour and not move a millimetre," he told the trade weekly Screen International.

Twenty-two films were in contention for the coveted Palme d'Or
Twenty-two films were in contention for the coveted Palme d'Or  

The eight-strong jury, headed by American director David Lynch, includes Hollywood star Sharon Stone and former James Bond actress Michelle Yeoh.

The award bring to a close the 11-day festival which attracts a glittering cast of actors, actresses and directors.

Spotted at this year's event has been Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, Antonio Banderas, Pierce Brosnan, Rosanna Arquette, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Elton John.

Reclusive U.S. actor-director Woody Allen made his first visit to the festival to present his latest comedy, "Hollywood Ending," and Martin Scorsese gave a 20-minute sneak preview of his eagerly awaited epic "Gangs of New York."


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