The Louis Delluc prize has gone to Raymond Depardon's La Vie Moderne, it was announced in Paris on Friday.
The prestigious Delluc award is given to the best French film of the year by a jury presided over by Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob.
La Vie Moderne , a documentary, was originally presented in Cannes this year and was released in French cinemas in October by Ad Vitam. It has thus far garnered just over 200,000 admissions.
The film is a sort of self-portrait of Depardon, who hails from an agricultural background, and focuses on the old countryside villagers of Cervennes.
The Louis Delluc prize for best first film went to Samuel Collardey's L'Apprenti although it did not originally figure on the short list of nominated films released by the awards' organizers last month. L'Apprenti previously took the Venice Critics Week jury prize.
Last year's Delluc winners were The Secret Of The Grain from Abdellatif Kechice and, in a tie, Water Lilies from Celine Sciamma and Tout Est Pardonne by Mia Hansen-Love.