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Actress Suzanne Clement, left, poses with director Xavier Dolan, who cast her in his third film to bow at Cannes. (Frances Mori/Associated Press)

Canadian Suzanne Clément has been awarded the Best Actress prize in the Cannes Film Festival's sidebar competition, Un Certain Regard.

The Quebec actress claimed the prize for her role in Xavier Dolan's cross-dressing drama Laurence Anyways.

The film tracks the story of a man trying to salvage his relationship with his fiancee after revealing to her his aspirations of becoming a woman.

Clement is sharing the award with Emilie Dequenne for her performance in Joachim Lafosse's A Perdre la Raison.

The competition's top prize went to After Lucia by Mexican director Michel Franco.

Un Certain Regard focuses on new and emerging filmmakers. The winners were chosen Saturday from a slate of 20 films by a jury headed by British actor Tim Roth.

Roth called the 2012 crop an "extraordinarily strong" group of films which prompted passionate deliberations.

This year marks Dolan's third time at Cannes. His debut film, J’ai tué ma mere (I Killed My Mother) won three awards at Cannes in 2009, while his second picture, Les amours imaginaries (Heartbeats), was also critically acclaimed at the festival.