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2008 Palme d'Or Winner at Cannes

Laurent Cantet's "The Class" wins top prize

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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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