Bangkok-born director Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palme d'Or Sunday for best film of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for his movie about animism in the Thai jungle and a man celebrating his past lives.
Weerasethakul's Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives) was one of 19 films vying for the Palme d'Or, which is one of the most prestigious awards in cinema.
Known as something of an avant guard filmmaker, Weerasethakul's success in winning Cannes' top award was also something of a surprise with the movie's quirky story leaving some festival goers perplexed, others enthralled.
At a gala ceremony in the Cote d'Azur resort, the Cannes' jury headed up by US director Tim Burton awarded the festival's second prize, the Grand Prix, to French director Xavier Beauvois for his movie Des Hommes et des Dieux (Of Gods and Men).
The 43-year-old Beauvois' movie is a compelling story about a group of monks living in Algeria during a period of rising Islamic fundamentalist violence.
It is the third consecutive year that a French director has won one of the festival's top awards.
After a rather shaky start to the battle for the Palme d'Or, the main competition seemed to come down to less than a handful of films.
There was stiff competition at this year's festival for the best acting awards.
Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem and Italy's Elio Germano shared the prize for best actor.
Bardem won the award for his role in Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful, in which he plays a man in a race against time. With his life coming to an end, he battles to improve the lot for those around him including those he may have treated poorly in the past.
Accepting the award, Bardem described Inarritu as "a unique creator".
In Italian director Daniele Luchetti's La Nostra Vita (Our Life), Germano plays a young father whose life is turned upside down after his wife suddenly dies.
The prize of top actress went to Juliette Binoche for her role in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's bittersweet romantic comedy Certified Copy.
Accepting the award, Binoche paid tribute to Kiarostami saying: "What a joy to work with Abbas."
Binoche held up a sign bearing the name of jailed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who had been invited to join this year's jury.
South Korean director Lee Chang-dong won the best screenplay prize for his film Poetry, about a grandmother trying to find poetry in life as her world unravels.
French director Mathieu Amalric won the best director award for his Tournee (On Tour), which told the story of a French manager taking a troupe of American burlesque artists on a tour of France.
Chad director Mahamat Saleh Haroun won the festival's jury prize for Un Homme qui Crie (A Screaming Man), which represented Chad's first-ever entry in Cannes main competition.
Haroun's modest film is about a 60-something man forced to relinquish his much-loved job as a pool attendant at a smart hotel to his son.
Cannes' Camera d'Or for best debut feature film was awarded to Australian-born director Michael Rowe for his movie Ano Bisiesto (Leap Year), set in Mexico.
"This is as good as gets," Bisiesto said, accepting the award. "It can't get any better."