Biopics in Lumiere spotlight; 'Class' best pic

Vincent Cassel and Yolande Moreau best actor, actress

PARIS -- Laurent Cantet's "The Class" earned the highest marks from foreign press based in Paris as the Festival de Cannes Palme d'Or winner was named best film of the year at the Lumiere Awards ceremony Monday night in Paris.

"The Class" also took home international francophone TV channel TV5Monde's public prize for best film of the year.

Biopics were in the spotlight as Vincent Cassel won the best actor prize for his eponymous role as the legendary criminal in Jean-Francois Richet's "Mesrine," and Yolande Moreau took home the best actress prize for Martin Provost's "Seraphine."

Francois Dupeyron was named best director for "Aide toi, le ciel t'aidera."

Samuel Benchetrit was awarded the best screenplay prize for "I've Always Dreamed of Being a Gangster." Nora Arnezeder was named most promising actress for her song-filled romp through Christophe Barratier's musical "Faubourg 36," and Mohamed Bouchaib was awarded the most promising actor prize for his role in Lyes Salem's "Mascarades."

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Festival de Cannes Competition title "Lorna's Silence" picked up the prize for best French-language title hailing from a country other than France.

French actress Jeanne Balibar presided over the ceremony, nicknamed the "French Golden Globes," at Paris' Hotel de Ville. The evening featured an homage to recently deceased actor Guillaume Depardieu and marked the closing night of Unifrance's Rendez-vous with French cinema in Paris.