For all that this year's Cannes festival had been billed as the year of Asian cinema, the winners turned out to be largely European.
Italy's Nanni Moretti won the Palme d'Or for his heart rending tale of loss, The Son's Room (La Stanza Del Figlio). While the competition was wide-open - at least ten films appeared to have a serious chance of some recompense - The Son's Room appeared on most critics' short-lists. One commentator, however, noted that the film's supporters and detractors divided neatly between parents and those without children.
Speaking at the press conference after the ceremony, Moretti said that departing from his usual light-hearted genre: "meant [he] had to apply myself to more to the script than ever before."
The night's other big winner was Austrian director Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste). Produced and shot with French resources, the intense tale about a repressed woman's sexuality scooped the second prize, the Grand Prix Du Jury, as well as best actor and best actress Palmes for Benoit Magimel and Isabelle Huppert. Jury president Liv Ullmann singled out the award to French legend Hupppert, who has appeared in Cannes films an astonishing 13 times, as the only prize on which there was unanimity.
Jodie Foster, the first choice jury chief before she gave way to Ullmann, handed joint directing prizes to American auteur legends Joel Coen and David Lynch, respectively for The Man Who Wasn't There and for Mulholland Drive. Coen's prize was collected by Jean Labadie, head of French distributor Bac which is handling both the Lynch and Coen pictures. Lynch said: I really like and admire Joel and Ethan Coen and it is a great thing to share it with them."
The only Asian winner of the night was Tu Duu-Chih, the sound recordist whose films have also often been to Cannes. This year Tu was involved in Hou Hsiao-hsien's Millennium Mambo and Tsai Ming-liang's What Time Is It There'
The Kodak-sponsored Camera d'Or for best first film went to the first ever Inuit film to come to Cannes, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, while the best screenplay award went to Bosnian director Danis Tanovic's comic look at Yugoslavian civil war, No Man's Land. The film was also a strong contender for the Camera d'Or.
Earlier in the week the Moretti film had also won the FIPRESCI critics' prize. FIPRESCI gave its Un Certain Regard prize to Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Kairo, for its original take on the virtual danger of computers.
Cannes 2001 Official selection prizes
La Stanza Del Figlio Dir: Nanni Moretti
The Piano Teacher Dir: Michael Haneke
Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher
Benoit Magimel, The Piano Teacher
Best Direction (joint)
Joel Coen, The Man Who Wasn't There
David Lynch, Mulholland Drive
Danis Tanovic, No Man's Land
Technical Achievement Prize
Tu Duu-Chih (sound engineer), Millennium Mambo & What Time Is It There'
Atanarjuat The Fast Runner Dir: Zacharias Kunuk
Bean Cake Dir: David Greenspan
Fiction Jury Prize
Daddy's Girl Dir: Irvine Allan
Animation Jury Prize
Pizza Passionata Dir: Kari Juusonen