CANNES, France (AP) — A French-Cambodian film, "The Missing Picture," which explores the bloody history of Pol Pot's dictatorship in late 1970s Cambodia, has won the "Un Certain Regard" prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

To rousing applause, director Rithy Panh collected the award at a ceremony Saturday night, expressing his gratitude to be able "to have the freedom to do the films I want to do."

The "Un Certain Regard" accolade, presented one day before the Palme d'Or, is often seen to reward up-and-coming filmmakers and works that transmit original messages and aesthetics.

Panh's film, based on his nightmarish memoir "The Elimination," documents his own family's experience under the heavy-handed Communist Party's Khmer Rouge that resulted in the death of his parents and sisters.