British director Ken Loach took the Palme d'Or top prize at the Cannes film festival Sunday for the second time in a decade for his moving drama "I, Daniel Blake" about the shame of poverty in austerity-hit Europe.
The left-wing director, who turns 80 next month, is known for shining a light on the downtrodden. The film tells the story of carpenter Daniel Blake's Kafkaesque journey to get benefits in Britain after suffering a heart attack.
On Sunday, stars had gathered for the glittering awards ceremony at the Cannes film festival.
Before announcing Loach as the top Cannes prize winner, the hilarious German comedy “Toni Erdmann” was being mentioned as favorite to win the Palme d'Or and make its director only the second woman ever to lift the prize.
The film is about an uptight executive trying to deal with her off-the-wall prankster father, she would also be the first German to win since Wim Wenders in 1984 for "Paris, Texas.”
The only woman to have won the Palme was Jane Campion in 1993 for "The Piano.”
After nearly two weeks of stars, scandals and some stirring films at the world's most important cinema showcase, the nine-member jury led by "Mad Max" creator George Miller sat down to decide the winners at lunchtime on Sunday.
Romanian director Cristian Mungiu — who took the Palme in 2007 — also won over many critics with "Graduation", about a father's dilemma over how to educate his daughter to deal with a corrupt world.
But in the Loach emerged the winner. This is his second Palme after winning the top prize a decade ago with "The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” which left many in tears with his scalding indictment of austerity Britain, "I, Daniel Blake.”