Andrej Wajdas' "Man of Iron," a fictional account of the current unrest and strikes of Polish workers presented in reportage form, has been awarded the Palme D'Or as the best motion picture in competition in the 1981 Cannes Cinema Festival.
Isabelle Adjani was voted the best actress for her performances in James Ivory's "Quartet," in which she plays an abandoned young wife among the expatriates living in Paris in the 1920s, and as a young wife possessed by the devil in Andrzej Zulawski's hair-raiser, "Possession."
Ugo Tognazzi won the prize as best actor for his performance as an enriched peasant whose son appears to have been kidnaped in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Tradegy of a Ridiculous Man."
The jury prize was voted to Alain Tanner's "Light Years Away," which the Swiss director shot in English in Ireland and which concerns a mad inventor and his helper and their project to fly like birds.
The best supporting performances were judged to be those of Ian Holm in Hugh Hudson's British entry centering around the 1924 Olympics, "Chariots of Fire," and Elena Solevei in "The Fact," directed by Almant Grikiavicius, in which the Nazi armies exterminate a Lithuanian village, a product of the Soviet cinema.
The scenario prize was awarded to Istvan Szabo and Peter Doba for the adaptation of Klaus Mann's novel of an unscrupulous actor's rise in Berlin after Hitler's takeover. The prize for contemporary cinema was shared by Ken Loach's "Looks and Smiles," about an unemployed English youth, and "Neige," a tale of the Pigalle underworld, the first directorial work of Juliet Berto and J.H. Roger.
A prize for cinematic artistry was created and given to John Boorman for the poetic visual and technical qualities of his retelling of the Arthurian legend in "Excalibur," and Ettore Scola -- whose "Passion of Love" was in competition -- was paid tribute for his contribution to the screen during his career.
The Palme D'Or for the best short went to Bela Vajdas' "Moto Perpetuo," and the jury prize ws split between Elisabeth Huppert's "the rat" and "zea," by Andre Leduc and J.J. Leduc.
The U.S. entries this year were "Heaven's Gate," a frontier epic reedited by director Michael Cimino after its initial opening received disastrous reviews; "Excalibur," director John Boorman's treatment of the King Arthur legend; and "Violent Streets," by Michael Mann, a story about a professional thief.