He called the award a "very great gift" from the Cannes festival, noting that this is the 100th anniversary of Korean cinema.
This year's jury president, Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu of "Birdman" and "The Revenant" fame, said they selected films among the 21 contenders that tapped into the zeitgeist of a fraught era. Their deliberations are done in secret, so what will win is always a guessing game.
The genre-mixing film had been celebrated as arguably the most critically acclaimed film at Cannes this year and the best yet from the 49-year-old director of Snowpiercer and Okja.
However the director - who won the Palme d'Or 25 years ago for "Pulp Fiction" - collected the Palm Dog prize Friday for Cannes' best canine performance, joking, "At least I do not go home empty-handed".
The Oeil d'Or (Golden Eye) award for best documentary went to "For Sama", Syrian Waad al-Kateab's harrowing love letter to her infant daughter shot inside besieged Aleppo.
Belgium's Dardenne brothers, already two-time winners of the Palme d'Or, clinched the best director gong for "Young Ahmed" about a teenage boy who falls under the influence of an Islamist hate preacher.
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The Academy Award-winning actor and star of Showtime's " Ray Donovan " posted his message as a video on Twitter Friday night. "Let us stand for this truth that President Trump is the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln ".
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An introspective turn by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar with a movie about an filmmaker, and a darkly humorous South Korean thriller are among the movies sparking awards buzz at Cannes in an unusually crowded field of runners and riders this year.
In the festival's 72-year history, only Jane Campion has won the prize in 1993 for "The Piano", tying with Chen Kaige's "Farewell My Concubine".
French director Celine Sciamma has also earned glowing praise for period love story "Portrait Of A Lady On Fire", while first time director Ladj Ly of France impressed with the politically charged "Les Miserables", a tale of police violence. Filho viewed his feverish, violent Western about a rural Brazilian community defending itself from a hard-to-comprehend invasion as a reflection of President Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil. After Okja and another Netflix release, Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories, premiered in Cannes, the festival ruled that all films in competition needed French theatrical distribution. The jury also gave a special mention to Palestinian director Elia Suleiman's "It Must Be Heaven".
The Camera d'Or for best first feature film went to Guatamala's Cesar Diaz for "Our Mothers", a drama about those "disappeared" during the country's brutal civil war.
The festival this year released gender breakdowns of its submissions and selections.
It was up against films by a whole cast of industry heavyweights, including Quentin Tarantino's latest opus, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.