In aceremony full of surprises, Ken Loach's TheWind That Shakes The Barley won the Palme d'Or 2006.
The film had been very warmly received but seemedout of the running after the screening of the Spanish-language crowd pleasers Volver and Babel.But the jury was unanimous in its decision for the film, which jury member Helena Bonham-Carter said had "hit us all profoundly."
The Wind That Shakes The Barley is set in the Irish republican struggle against British rule in the 1920s but Loach believes it has lessons for today.
"Maybe if we tell the truth about the past, maybe we tell the truth about the present," he said in his acceptance speech."Our film is a little, a very little step in the British confronting their imperialist history," he said.
Pedro Almodovar's Volverwas awarded the best screenwriting prize (for the director himself) and thefemale acting award which went to the film's ensemble of six actresses: PenelopeCruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Blanca Portillo, Yohanna Cobo and ChusLampreave.
Thebest male actor award was also given to an ensemble. Rachid Bouchareb's Days Of Glory band of five who portrayed a groupof North African soldiers fighting in World War II includes Jamel Debbouze,Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila and Bernard Blancan.
After anexceptionally moving acceptance speech - during which they spoke of theimportance of recognising this part of forgotten French history - the actorssang the traditional African soldiers' tune leaving the audience on its feet.
In keepingwith the war theme, Bruno Dumont's Flandrestook the Grand JuryPrize.
Babeldid not leave empty handed, however, with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu takingthe best directing prize.
Britishdirector Andrea Arnold was awarded the Jury Prize for RedRoad. It is the director's first film.
The Camerad'Or, which goes to the best first film throughout the main competition andsidebars combined, went to Romanian director Corneliu Porumbiou's 12h08 East Of Bucharest.
In theCannes sidebars, one of the few Asian films in any competition, Wang Chao's Luxury Car, took the top Un Certain Regardaward.
The juryprize went to Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoeswhile acting prizes were shared in a tie between Dorothea Petre for How I Spent The End Of The World byCatalin Mitulescu and Don Angel Tavira for ElViolin from Mexico's FranciscoVaragas.
The jurypresident's prize went to Meurtieresby Patrick Grandperret from France.
TheEcumenical jury awarded Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's competition favorite Babel with its top prize with a special mentiongoing to Z Odzysku bySlawomir Fabicki.
Critics'Week hailed Emmanuel Bourdieu's Les Amities Malefiquesas best film with the Cinefondation award going to GeEt Zeta by Gustavo Riet.
Kim RossiStuart's Italian film Anche Libero Va Benetook the Directors' Fortnight award with the prize for best first or secondfilm attributed to the US' Julia Loktev for DayNight Day Night.