A lesbian love story "La Vie d'Adele", by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, has won the Cannes film festival's top honour, the Palme d'Or.
"La Vie d'Adele - Chapitre 1 & 2" (Blue is the Warmest Colour) beat 19 other films in the main competition at the world's biggest film festival to take home one of the most coveted prizes after the Oscars.
The sexually graphic three-hour film set Cannes abuzz with its explicit sex scenes and has made a star out of one of its lead actresses, Adele Exarchopoulos.
Critics swooned over Kechiche's coming-of-age tale of a 15-year-old girl's first love, an older woman.
The picture traces lead character Adele's infatuation with a beautiful blue-haired art student played by rising star Lea Seydoux, while also exploring themes such as class in France and women's careers.
Ahead of the announcement, suspense mounted over one of the tightest races in years. The other top contenders for the prize included a patchwork family drama by an Iranian Oscar winner and a Coen Brothers dark comedy, with a handful of other entries hot on their heels.
The top acting awards went to US actor Bruce Dern and French actress Berenice Bejo.
The 76-year-old Dern stars in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska'' as an aging, alcoholic on a road trip with his son, played by Will Forte.
Bejo, the "Artist" actress, won for her performance in Asghar Farhadi's Le Passe (The Past). She plays a single mother balancing an ex-husband and a fiance.
The awards were chosen by a nine-member jury headed by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg's festival jury, packed with fellow Oscar winners Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee and Christoph Waltz among other luminaries, deliberated throughout the day in a secluded villa in the hills above the French Riviera resort.
"We crossed the world through these films," Spielberg said.
The 12-day Cannes Film Festival is drawing to a close Sunday night with an award ceremony before a screening of the South African drama "Zulu".
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies