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Cannes shines global spotlight on Austria's budding movie industry

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CANNES, FRANCE – One of the most generous juries at any recent edition of the Cannes film festival handed out prizes Sunday night to 9 of the 20 films in competition, topped by the Golden Palm for Michael Haneke's period drama, "The White Ribbon."

After having been in competition several times and coming away empty-handed, the German-born, Austrian-based Mr. Haneke finally scored with a film dramatizing strange goings-on in a northern German village just before World War I.

"The White Ribbon," which will be released in the US by Sony Pictures Classics, marks a notable departure for writer-director Haneke from his string of highly charged, intense contemporary-set films such as "Caché" and "The Piano Teacher."

Top prize for 'ethical' film

Making the occasion of Haneke's victory all the sweeter was the fact that he received the award from jury president Isabelle Huppert, his leading lady in two of his previous films, "The Piano Teacher" and "Time of the Wolf."

During the press conference following the awards ceremony, Ms. Huppert explained that "our jury meant to give the Palm to an extraordinary film that is in a very different tone and style from [Haneke's] previous work. He has made a film that is very philosophical and ethical."

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