A film about the 2008 US financial crisis, "99 Homes" by Ramin Bahrani, was awarded the Grand Prize at France's Deauville American Film Festival in Normandy.
Part social drama, part thriller, the film centres on a young father who is evicted from his home after it is foreclosed and then agrees to work for the very real estate broker responsible for his troubles.
It depicts an America where evicting people from their homes is a "national sport", Bahrani said at the 41st edition of the festival in the northwestern seaside town.
The film was chosen for "its intense dramatic force and absolutely exceptional interpretation", the head of the jury, French director Benoit Jacquot said, noting also the performances by lead actors Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon.
Second prize at Deauville went to "Tangerine" by Sean Baker which was filmed on a smartphone and focuses on two transgender friends.
The audience award went to "Dope", by Rick Famuyiwa. The comedy, produced by Forest Whitaker, tells the story of a nerdy black teenager living in a violent neighbourhood of Los Angeles. The film's soundtrack was produced by American musician Pharrell Williams.
"Krisha", a debut film by 27-year-old Trey Edward Shults, received the critic's award.