There were Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman, red carpet glamour and a crop of new Academy Award contenders -- but this was also the year the global financial crisis exploded onto movie screens at Cannes.
"La Crise" -- as the French call it -- bedeviled Robert Pattinson's disaster-bound billionaire in David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," the unemployed Glasgow youth in Ken Loach's "The Angels' Share," the bare-knuckle boxer in Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" and the worried mobsters in Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly" (which Pitt produced and starred in).
In the face of this angst, the jury rewarded love, giving Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or, to Austrian director Michael Haneke for "Amour," a starkly powerful film about an elderly couple coping with the wife's worsening health.
Second and third prizes went to Matteo Garrone's Italian satire "Reality" and Ken Loach's whiskey-tasting comedy "The Angels' Share."
There were no prizes for American films, but U.S. directors did look long and hard at their country. Lee Daniels ("Precious") stirred the sexual and racial politics of the 1960s South into a death-row thriller in "The Paperboy," while Jeff Nichols' ("Take Shelter") "Mud" spun a modern-day "Huckleberry Finn" story among Mississippi River fishing families whose way of life is threatened.
Kidman's red carpet date traveled for 35 hours to join her in Cannes.
The actress's husband -- musician Keith Urban -- made the trip from Sydney, Australia, where's he's been filming "The Voice," to escort her up the famous Palais stairs at the Cannes Film Festival for the screening of her film, "The Paperboy."
And Kidman says his effort meant "everything" to her: "As long as he's there, he's my rock, everything's fine. I feel a little out to sea if he's not there."
Actress Audrey Tautou, known for her sweet and light roles in such films as "Amelie," praised the late director Claude Miller as a "bright and passionate" filmmaker who helped her turn in a darker direction in his final film.
The French star plays a husband-poisoner in Miller's "Thérèse Desqueyroux," which closed the estival on Sunday at a special screening celebrating the lauded New Wave filmmaker, who died last month of cancer at age 70.
"I really liked the experience," Tautou said. "I had to try to not be scared of Thérèse. I want to go to the darker side of humanity."
Singer Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, 67; composer Danny Elfman, 59; singer LaToya Jackson, 56; actress Annette Bening, 54. singer Melissa Etheridge, 51; actress Lisa Whelchel ("The Facts of Life"), 49; guitarist Noel Gallagher (Oasis), 45; cartoonist Aaron McGruder ("Boondocks"), 38.