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Austria's Michael Haneke takes home second Palme d'Or

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 27, 2012 -- Updated 1815 GMT (0215 HKT)
Singer Cheryl Cole walks the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, May 20. The annual event runs from May 16 to May 27. Singer Cheryl Cole walks the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, May 20. The annual event runs from May 16 to May 27.
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65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
65th annual Cannes Film Festival
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The winning film is "Amour"
  • NEW: It's the second Palme d'Or for Michael Haneke
  • 22 films were in competition for the top prize
  • The Cannes festival began May 16

(CNN) -- Austrian director Michael Haneke took home the prestigious Palme d'Or prize -- his second -- at the Cannes Film Festival for his film "Amour."

The film, according to the festival's website, is about a retired couple in their 80s and how their bond is severely tested after the woman, Anne, "has an attack." It features actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.

Haneke also won the Palme d'Or at the festival in 2009 for "The White Ribbon." That film depicted the cruel punishments meted out at a rural German school before World War I.

"The Palme d'Or is the best prize a filmmaker can win," said Haneke at a press conference following his 2009 award. "I am not proud, but I am very happy. In my opinion, it's silly to be proud."

Another contender for the top prize was "Moonrise Kingdom," a film by Wes Anderson that tells the tale of two young lovers who reunite and run away into the wilderness in 1965 after a year apart.

The film stars Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Ed Norton along with Anderson favorite Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. But it's the two young lovers, portrayed by newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who steal the show.

"My point of view about it was the memory of feeling that way is so strong for me," Anderson told CNN earlier this week. "Rather than starting with an idea of a character or characters and a setting, instead I was starting out with a feeling. An emotion. A memory of an emotion that I was hoping to recreate in some way."

Pictures from 65th annual Cannes Film Festival

"Moonrise Kingdom" was one of a handful of American movies in the 22-strong competition section. Others included John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era move "Lawless," with Shia LaBoeuf, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce; Andrew Dominick's thriller "Killing Them Softly" with Brad Pitt; Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" with Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman. Also featured is Jeff Nichols' "Mud" with McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon and David Cronenberg's Don DeLillo adaptation "Cosmopolis" starting Robert Pattinson of "Twilight" fame and Juliette Binoche.

In addition, Kanye West also premiered a short film/art installation, "Cruel Summer," at the festival, which kicked off May 16. It stars Kid Cudi as a car thief who falls in love with a blind Arabian princess, but West also makes an appearance.

And British rock start Pete Doherty, the on-again, off-again lead singer of the Libertines, also made his acting debut in "Confession of a Child of the Century," which screened at the festival.

Last year's Palme d'Or prize went to "The Tree of Life," a film from American director and writer Terrence Malick.

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