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France Herself Takes the Palme d’Or

CANNES, France (AFP) ‚Äî A French film about life in a tough Parisian classroom on Sunday won the Cannes film festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or, the country’s first Palme in 21 years.

“The Class” by Laurent Cantet, is a “fly-on-the-wall” story about life in a classroom that was based on an autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau about his life as a young teacher.

“It is an amazing, amazing film,” said the head of the nine-member Cannes jury, US actor-director Sean Penn, as he announced the prize.

Best Director went to Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey) for Three Monkeys, the story of an imprisoned man whose wife and son find ways of making money in his absence.

“We are nine people, but we are only nine people,” Penn told the audience just before the presentation of prizes. “We are in a time, in a stage of our lives, where certain things chose us to speak.’

“It was our second unanimous decision,” he said.