And she played a US homicide cop in the FX series “The Bridge” set in the drug violence-torn border city of Ciudad Juarez.
Kruger has also shown off her French on screen in films such as “Farewell, My Queen” by Benoit Jacquot, an erotically and politically charged drama about a lovelorn Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution.
Phoenix, who won best actor at Cannes on Sunday, rose to stardom playing tortured souls and a whole bunch of bad guys.
His winning role as a hammer-wielding hitman in Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” combines both archetypes in a magnetic performance, laying bare his monosyllabic character’s physical and psychological wounds.
Variety magazine said the 42-year-old, who bulked up for the part, “never plays wounded the same way twice”, praising his “eccentric, sometimes hilarious inversions of the hardman archetype”.
The actor — three times Oscar-nominated, including for playing troubled country singer Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line” — made a glancing allusion to his own childhood traumas when asked at Cannes about his latest role, which critics called an “exquisite anxious study in damage”.
He plays Joe, a former soldier who is hired by a New York state senator to rescue his daughter from a paedophile sex ring.
But Joe is wracked by his own demons, self-harming and suffocating himself with plastic bags to shut out the memories of his childhood and the Iraq war.
Phoenix grew up in an hippy family that travelled around South America with the Children of … sect before settling in Los Angeles, where his parents hired an agent to launch their children’s acting careers.
Joaquin, then known as Leaf, and his older brother River landed television roles in the early 1980s, with the startlingly handsome River at first overshadowing him.
River Phoenix became a star at 16 in the 1986 drama “Stand By Me” before playing the young Indiana Jones in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and becoming the darling of the art house scene with “My Own Private Idaho” in 1991.
But when Joaquin was only 19 he lost his brother to a drugs overdose, with the recording of Joaquin’s desperate call for an ambulance sold to the media.
After River’s death Phoenix initially did not want to act again, but he was tempted back and turned in a remarkable performance opposite Nicole Kidman in Gus Van Sant’s satire on celebrity, “To Die For” in 1995.
The Greek master of the weird Yorgos Lanthimos picked up the best screenplay award at the Cannes film festival Sunday for his icy thriller “The Killing of a Deer”.
Despite dividing critics — and prompting its star Nicole Kidman to say she wouldn’t be taking her kids to watch it — the creepy tale inspired by Euripides’ Iphigenia impressed the Cannes jury.
He shared the prize with Scottish director Lynne Ramsay for her film “You Were Never Really Here”.
“Deer” picks up the laconic tone of Lanthimos’s hit “The Lobster” but then becomes much darker after a heart surgeon played by Irish actor Colin Farrell operates on a man while he is drunk and kills him.
Years later, the dead man’s teenage son plots revenge, telling the surgeon he must choose a member of his family to kill or they will all suffer an excruciating death.
Born in Athens, 44-year-old Lanthimos spearheaded a crop of young Greek filmmakers specialising in a so-called “weird wave” launched around the time of Greece’s brush with bankruptcy.
He cut his teeth on television adverts and dance videos before bursting onto the international scene in 2009 with “Dogtooth”, a film about the claustrophobic life of two sisters and a brother shut away in a villa by their dysfunctional parents.
“We just did whatever the hell came into our heads,” Lanthimos said of his early years as a director, recalling borrowing equipment and props and shooting in friends’ homes.
* Palme d’Or: ‘The Square’
Swedish film “The Square”, a dark satire of the contemporary art world, was the surprise winner of the top Palme d’Or prize at the world’s biggest film festival.
* Grand Prix: ‘120 Beats Per Minute’
“120 Beats Per Minute”, a moving drama set in Paris at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s, scooped second prize for its wrenching portrayal of a romance between two activists in the advocacy group ACT UP.
* Jury Prize: ‘Loveless’
“Loveless”, a bleak tale of a middle-class couple in Moscow looking to offload their child as they go through a bitter divorce, came in third.
The film by Kremlin critic Andrei Zvyagintsev offers a stinging critique of modern Russian society, depicting a country obsessed with consumerism and its smartphones.
* Best actor: Joaquim Phoenix
Triple Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for playing a traumatised hitman in Lynne Ramsay’s ultra-violent “You Were Never Really Here”.
* Best actress: Diane Kruger
In her first film role in her native German, Hollywood star and former model Diane Kruger swapped her usually glamorous image to play a mother who vows revenge after her ethnic Kurdish husband and son are killed in a neo-Nazi attack.
* Best director: Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola picked up best director for her remake of the American Civil War thriller “The Beguiled”, starring Colin Farrell as a soldier who bewitches several Southern women including Nicole Kidman.
* Best screenplay: Lynne Ramsay and Yorgos Lanthimos
The nine-member jury opted to split the screenplay prize in two, dividing it between Scottish director Lynne Ramsay for “You Were Never Really Here” and Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos for “The Killing of a Deer”, a chilling suburban thriller starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.
* Special prize: ‘Nicole Kidman’
Nicole Kidman was the undisputed queen of this year’s Cannes with four projects showing. To mark its 70th birthday, the festival rewarded her with a special prize.