Aki Kaurismaki's Cannes Grand Jury prize winner, The Man Without A Past, has been snapped up by Sony Pictures Classics for the US, while in its home territory, the film has seen an 80% leap at the local box office.

According to news wire sources, Sony Pictures Classics picked up both The Man Without A Past and Russian title The Cuckoo in the closing stages of the festival.

Other Cannes acquisitions by the company included US rights to Owning Mahowny, the new film from Richard Kwietniowski from Alliance Atlantis Entertainment Group, as well as Emanuele Crialese's Respiro, winner of the Critic's Week Grand Prize.

Meanwhile in Finland, The Man Without A Past has jumped from 9th to 3rd place in the local box-office chart.

The film was released by UIP on March 1, but despite rave reviews and the first ever TV-spot for a Kaurismaki film, it only attracted 43,898 admissions until its Cannes prize. Now local audiences are flocking to see the film and the high level of interest might make the veteran director's latest effort his most successful. Kaurismaki's most popular title so far was his last Cannes contender Drifting Clouds in 1996, which reached 60,000 admissions domestically.

The director has always been more successful abroad than in Finland, and Bavaria International sold it to a number of territories during the festival.

Indeed many critics felt that The Man Without A Past was more original and pithier than Roman Polanski's Cannes winner, and the film was the outright winner in Screen International's poll of scores from leading international critics across ten countries.