The award adds to a successful run at the French cinema showcase for Asian films after Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda clinched the prestigious honour last year.
"Parasite", a suspenseful dark comedy about class struggles directed by South Korea's Bong Joon-ho, won the top Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.
Bong, who made his mark at Cannes in 2017 with Netflix-produced "Okja", set his latest movie in modern South Korea.
It follows a down-on-their-luck family of four who spot an opportunity to con a wealthy household into giving them jobs.
They worm their way into the other family's lives - before things start going south.
This year's Cannes film festival also shone a light on newcomers, in an unusually crowded field.
"Atlantics", a ghost story about migrants directed by Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop, won the runner-up Grand Prix award.
The movie, based on her 2009 short documentary, was Diop's first feature-length film.
Spain's Antonio Banderas won the male acting prize for his role as a tortured filmmaker in Pedro Almodovar's loosely biographical "Pain And Glory" - one of the films that had been tipped for the top honour.
Britain's Emily Beecham was crowned best actress after starring in Jessica Hausner's "Little Joe" as a botanist who starts having doubts about her latest genetically-modified creation when it begins to affect her loved ones.
Following is a list of the prize-winners at the 72nd Cannes film festival
Palme d’Or: "Parasite" by Bong Joon-ho (South Korea)
Grand Prix: "Atlantics" by Mati Diop (France)
Jury Prize: "Les Miserables" by Ladj Ly (France) and "Nighthawk" by Kleber Mendonca Filho (Brazil)
Best director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Belgium) for "Young Ahmed"
Best actress: Emily Beecham (Britain) for "Little Joe"
Best actor: Antonio Banderas (Spain) for "Pain and Glory"
Special mention: "It Must Be Heaven" by Elia Suleiman
Best screenplay: "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" by Celine Sciamma (France)