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Kazakhstan's Yeslyamova, Iran's Panahi Among Winners At Cannes

Italian actress Asia Argento presents Kazakh actress Samal Yeslyamova (right) with the Best Actress Prize at Cannes.

Kazakh actress Samal Yeslyamova has won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival for playing an unemployed single mother from post-Soviet Central Asia adrift in Moscow in Kazakh director Sergey Dvortsevoy's Ayka (My Little One).

The 33-year-old actress, who also starred in Dvortsevoy's 2009 acclaimed debut film Tulpan, was praised by The Hollywood Reporter for her "intense, committed performance."

At the awards ceremony on May 19, the prize for best screenplay was split between Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's script for Three Faces and Italian director Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro.

The film by Panahi, who is banned from leaving Iran, premiered to a standing ovation at the festival where it was screened on May 12.

Japanese director Hizokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters won the Palme d'Or, the top award at the festival.

Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, the highest profile American film in competition at Cannes, was awarded the grand prize. The film tells the story of a black police detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.

Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski took best director for Cold War, a black-and-white film that tackles Poland's history during the Cold War era.

The best actor award went to Marcello Fonte for Matteo Garrone's Dogman.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP