Michael Haneke gets French honor

'White Ribbon' director feted Sunday in Cannes

CANNES -- Michael Haneke, director of last year's Palme d'Or winning "White Ribbon," added a medal of honor to his trophy case Sunday as French Cultural Minister Frederic Mitterrand inducted the Austrian director into the French legion of honor at a ceremony in Cannes.

Festival de Cannes p[resident Gilles Jacob and actress Juliette Binoche joined the celebration at the Cafe des Palmes as Haneke was given the country's highest arts honor, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

"Last year, right here in Cannes where you've been celebrated many times, you have received the supreme distinction of shall I say the 'Republic of Cinema,' and now, in the way that one spoke during the Renaissance, of the 'Republic of Letters,' " Mitterand told Haneke before giving him the medal.

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"I thank you from the bottom of my heart," Haneke told the crowd in perfect French.