Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Eastwood receives Palme d'Or gong

Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood was unable to receive the award at the festival in May

Actor and director Clint Eastwood has been awarded a prestigious Palme d'Or award, three months before this year's Cannes Film Festival starts.

Festival president Gilles Jacob presented the Dirty Harry star with the honorary prize at a ceremony in Paris.

The 78-year-old, who is currently promoting his latest movie Gran Torino, which he directed and starred, in said he was "very, very flattered".

Ingmar Bergman is the only other director to receive the award, in 1997.

'Admiration'

In a statement the festival said Eastwood was being honoured for "the talent of a grand master at the summit of his craft".

Jacob said it also was a "testimony of my admiration and a quarter-century of complicity".

The star has regularly attended the festival and showcased many of his films there over the years.

Eastwood praised the support of French filmmakers who encouraged him to continue directing after his directorial debut, Play Misty For Me in 1970

"People were saying we're not even sure we like this guy as an actor much less as a director," he said.

The star, best known for his spaghetti westerns, went on to receive widespread acclaim, particularly with Unforgiven in 1992.

Awards given outside the annual festival are rare, but Eastwood will be unable to attend this year's event, as he will be filming in South Africa.



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