Ukrainian film director Serhiy Loznitsa has won a best director prize in the Cannes film festival's Un Certain Regard competition for Donbass, his odyssey about the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Un Certain Regard awards, which were announced on May 18, go to more edgy films and up-and-coming directors than those awarded in the Palme d'Or prizes in Cannes' main film competition.
The Un Certain Regard prizes were awarded a day ahead of the main awards ceremony, which is due to take place on May 19.
Loznitsa's hard-hitting film Donbass depicts the brutal conflict since 2014 between government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in a "post-truth" world dominated by fake news.
The film portrays the region as declining into a gangland-style war at a time when Russia is seeking to reassert itself in the world some 18 years after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Loznitsa, whose previous film A Gentle Creature competed in the Cannes festival last year, told the AFP news agency in an interview last week that he felt compelled to make the film because of "the world crumbling around him."
"My main concern and my main subject is the particular type of human being, which is produced by a society, where aggression, decay, and disintegration rule," he said.
"The information war waged by [President Vladimir] Putin's Russia uses all of the most efficient and modern technical means available to influence attitudes around the world, to hammer home one truth as the truth," he told AFP.
Loznitsa is viewed as a national treasure in Ukraine after making some two dozen documentaries and films that have brought him international renown.
His documentary Maidan about Kyiv's pro-Western street revolution premiered at a special Cannes screening in 2014.