At the end of this year's Cannes Film Festival, the competition's top prize, the Palme d'Or, was handed to Austrian director Michael Haneke for The White Ribbon, a black-and-white drama set in northern Germany during the years before World War I. One viewer describes the film as "[i]mpeccably made with hypnotic skill and control," with a story that is "as disturbing underneath as it is seemingly placid on the surface."
For his well-received drama A Prophet, which follows "a young Arab man's coming of age and into power during six years inside a corrupt, brutal prison," French director Jacques Audiard accepted the Grand Prix prize. The only win for an American film was the best actor prize given to Christoph Waltz, who plays a Nazi colonel in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. In his speech, "Waltz thanked Tarantino, saying 'with your passion and conviction, you gave me my vocation back.'"