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25/05/2010 - Thai film pulls off Cannes shock

A Thai film has won the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. 

The mystical film, entitled Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and is about a dying man who is visited by his late wife and his missing son, who has become an ape.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, said of his win, "I would like to kiss the jury.  I would like to thank all the spirits and all the ghosts in Thailand who made it possible for me to be here."

Uncle Boonmee is played by Thanapat Saisaymar, a roof welder from north-east Thailand whose previous acting experience was limited to TV commercials.

The director had previously won the third-place jury prize at Cannes with his 2004 film Tropical Malady.

Although it gained a glowing response from critics in Cannes, his latest film was considered a dark horse in the race for the Palme d'Or. However, it beat off strong opposition from British Director Mike Leigh's Another Year, which was seen as a favourite by many at the event - Leigh went home empty handed.

Thailand Culture Minister Teera Slukpetch, promising the film-maker a hero's welcome when he returns to Thailand, said, "This kind of victory is what we really need at this time of crisis."

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