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2008 Palme d'Or Winner at Cannes

Laurent Cantet's "The Class" wins top prize


2008 Palme d'Or Winner at Cannes

Jury President Sean Penn with the winner of the Palme d'Or, director Laurent Cantet for 'The Class'

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Updated May 25, 2008
This year's Palme d'Or went to the French film The Class by Laurent Cantet (Heading South, Time Out). Actor Robert DeNiro received a standing ovation while presenting the award to Cantet. The Class follows the character of Francois, a high school teacher who is preparing for a new year in a tough neighborhood. According to jury president Sean Penn, the decision was unanimous. Juror Marjane Satrapi, who recently co-directed her first feature Persepolis, said about the film: "There is almost nothing I believe in anymore. But if there is something I believe in, it is culture and education."

Nuri Bilge Ceylan received the best director award for Three Monkeys and two-time Palme d'Or winners Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne won the award for best screenplay for The Silence of Lorna. The jury also created a special Prix de 61st Festival de Cannes to celebrate the careers and new work of Catherine Deneuve, who starred in Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale and Clint Eastwood, who directed Changeling starring Angelina Jolie.

The complete awards:

  • Palme d'Or: The Class, directed by Laurent Cantet
  • Grand Prix (runner-up): Gomorra, directed by Matteo Garrone
  • Prix de la Mise en Scene (best director): Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Three Monkeys
  • Prix du Scenario (best screenplay): Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne for Le Silence of Lorna
  • Camera d'Or (best first feature): Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen; Special mention: Ils mourront tous sauf moi, directed by Valeria Gai Guermanika
  • Prix du Jury (jury prize): Il Divo, directed by Paolo Sorrentino
  • Prix d'interpretation feminine (best actress): Sandra Corveloni for Linha de Passe
  • Prix d'interpretation masculine (best actor)Benicio del Toro for Che
  • Prix de 61st Festival de Cannes: Catherine Deneuve (A Christmas Tale) and Clint Eastwood (Changeling)
  • Palme d'Or (short film): Metron directed by Marian Crisan; special mention: Jerrycan, directed by Julius Avery
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