In the Cannes – film festival closes with awards for Mads Mikkelsen and Ken Loach

Austrian director Michael Haneke scooped the Palme d'Or for the second time while other films sparked hot debate among judges

Love conquered all at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which had its closing awards ceremony last night.

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Austrian director Michael Haneke picked up the coveted Palme d’Or for the simply titled story of an elderly couple whose bond is tested after the wife suffers debilitating illness. This is the second time he has picked up the award, the first being in 2009 for his political period drama The White Ribbon.

“I thank my wife, who has been putting up with me for years,” he said.

British director Ken Loach was also a winner for the second time, collecting the Jury Prize for The Angel’s Share, a whiskey-soaked comedy drama about an ex-offender who turns his life around with booze. It’s a far cry from Loach’s 2006 Palme d’Or winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley, about the Irish struggle for independence, but the winning films reflect the socially conscious approach that is typical of both directors.

“Underneath the humour this is a tragedy we’ve inflicted on a generation,” Loach said afterwards.

The top acting honours went to Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt who said winning was “a big surprise”, while newcomers Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan shared the best actress award for Romanian drama Beyond the Hills.

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Italian director Nanni Moretti headed the judging panel which included Ewan McGregor, British director Andrea Arnold and actress Diane Kruger. He revealed that none of the winners had been a unanimous choice with several films, including sex tourism drama Paradise: Love, causing heated debate.