Benicio Del Toro won the best actor award at Cannes overnight for his role as Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s film on the revolutionary hero.
“I’d like to dedicate this to the man himself – Che Guevara,” said Del Toro, after accepting his second big award under the US director’s helmsmanship.
“I wouldn’t be here without Che Guevera.
“Through all the awards the movie gets, you’ll have to pay your respects to the man.”
Del Toro, 41, transmutes into a larger-than-life Che in the marathon four-hour movie. It charts two episodes in the life of the guerrilla hero – the late 1950s ouster of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista alongside Fidel Castro, and Che’s subsequent aborted bid to bring the Cuban revolution to Bolivia.
Some critics have slammed the film, shot in Spanish, for its length and meticulous documentary-style presentation. It has also been criticised for failing to focus on the politically controversial aspects of the Cuban revolution.
Soderbergh will need to tighten it for average moviegoers, critics say.
Other award winners overnight included Sandra Corveloni, who won the best actress prize for her performance as a pregnant single mother of four in Line Of Passage.
Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the best director prize for searing family drama Three Monkeys.
“The film is about life, about many things, about the inner world,” he told AFP before accepting the award.
“I don’t make films on this or that as that is too didactic. And by the time I’ve ended a film the idea may have changed.”
US director and actor Clint Eastwood and French actress Catherine Deneuve, meanwhile, were awarded a special prize for their body of work at the Cannes Film Festival.