CANNES, France (Reuters) - Terrence Malick won the Palme dOr in Cannes for The Tree of Life, but the 2011 film festival will be remembered above all for the shock expulsion of Danish director Lars Von Trier for his Hitler jokes. The 55-year-old Dane, a previous winner of the coveted top prize in 2000, confessed to being surprised by a ban which many movie goers at the worlds biggest cinema showcase questioned. Kirsten Dunst, who picked up the best actress prize on Sunday at the closing ceremony for her role in the film, squirmed with embarrassment during the briefing and Jewish groups in France and the United States complained. Von Trier apologised, but it was too little too late. Cannes did allow Melancholia to remain in competition, however. The Tree of Life was only Malicks fifth picture and expectations had been high among cinephiles who consider him a master of his craft. Critics were sharply divided, however, and its victory in Cannes will not please everyone. The movie stars Brad Pitt as a stern father who alienates his eldest son, and it features long sequences of planetary explosions, expanding galaxies, volcanoes and dinosaurs in a majestic portrayal of the beginning of life. Melancholia felt like its companion piece, but the finality of its ending, when a planet collides with Earth to end all life, meant it was as downbeat as Malicks was uplifting. It remains to be seen whether Von Triers expulsion from Cannes, which meant he had to stay at least 100 metres away from the main festival building, will affect the films distribution. Von Triers relationship with festivals themselves has been possibly permanently damaged, but then hes so unpredictable, so you never know, said Weissberg. Melancholias chances of opening in the United States have been hit. It could be very difficult. The runner-up Grand Prix went to two movies the slow-moving, lovingly crafted Once Upon a Time in Anatolia by Turkeys Nuri Bilge Ceylan and the moving child drama The Kid With a Bike by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The duo narrowly missed out on an unprecedented third Golden Palm at the festival. Best actor went to Jean Dujardin for The Artist, a popular re-make of a silent, black-and-white romance that transported audiences back to the pre-talkie era in Hollywood. Denmarks Nicolas Winding Refn won best director for his high-octane thriller Drive, and best screenplay went to Israeli director Joseph Cedar for Footnote. Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Janet Jackson and Gwen Stefani were among the big names hitting the party circuit or performing in Cannes this year, adding to the feel-good buzz.