Son's Room Wins Top Cannes Prize

The Son's Room, Italian director Nanni Moretti's stirring account of a family whose happy life is shattered by the death of a teen-age son, won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival today.

The festival's second-highest honor went to The Piano Teacher, Austrian director Michael Haneke's dark tale of a music instructor seduced by a student.

The Piano Teacher also took both acting awards, with Isabelle Huppert winning best actress and Benoit Magimel winning best actor.

Coen Brothers Split Director Award

Best-director honors were split between Joel Coen for his film-noir thriller The Man Who Wasn't There, co-written with his brother, Ethan, and David Lynch for his enigmatic Hollywood tale Mulholland Drive.

The directing awards were presented by Jodie Foster, who had to drop out as Cannes jury president because of a scheduling conflict for a film she was shooting.

The Golden Camera award for first-time directors went to Canada's Zacharias Kunuk for Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, the story of two Eskimo brothers who challenge the rule of an evil shaman.

The screenplay award went to Bosnia's Danis Tanovic for the irreverent war satire No Man's Land, which he also directed.

The jury awarded a prize for technical achievements to Tu Duu-Chih, sound designer for two films in competition, Millenium Mambo and What Time Is It There?

Coppola Returns With Redux

And celebrity watchers complained that top stars were scarce this year. Those who did turn up included Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

For the closing-night film, spectators were treated to visits by Melanie Griffith, who was honored at Cannes with a lifetime achievement award, and her husband, Antonio Banderas; Milla Jovovich; and Nick Nolte, who is shooting Neil Jordan's film Double Down in France.

Nicole Kidman, the star of opening-night film Moulin Rouge, provided a festival highlight when she wandered off the red carpet at the movie's premiere to shake hands with fans.

Another highlight was the return of Francis Ford Coppola with Apocalypse Now Redux, a new version of his Vietnam epic that won the Palme d'Or in 1979. Coppola added 53 minutes of footage cut from the original release, restoring some darkly funny moments and a dreamlike French plantation scene.

"Thirty years later, his masterpiece is there and growing," Ullmann said at the closing ceremony.

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