Director Laurence Cantet's Entre les Murs (The Class), a film about a year in the life of suburban Parisian students, was the surprise winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival Sunday. It marked the first win by a French film at the festival since 1987. Jury president Sean Penn told reporters that the film "just touched us so deeply." Cantet brought the entire cast of 24 teenagers onto the stage with him to accept the award from presenter Robert De Niro -- and brought the entire audience at the Palais des Festivals to its feet. Of the four titles from U.S. filmmakers in the competition, only one received any recognition -- Steven Soderbergh's biopic Che, which garnered the best-actor trophy for Benicio Del Toro, who portrayed the title figure, Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. The award could be helpful in securing a distribution deal for the $68-million film, which faces an uphill battle given its 4 1/2-hour length, its controversial subject, and the fact that the dialog is delivered in Spanish. Clint Eastwood's Changeling, which received mostly solid reviews from critics and numerous predictions that it would win the top award, was shut out for major awards, but the jury created a special prize to honor Eastwood's achievement in films. (French actress Catherine Deneuve was also so honored.) Turkey's Nuri Belge Ceylon received the best-director award for his Three Monkeys. Two Italian films also fared well at the festival as Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah won the Grand Prix and Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo won the Jury Prize. Brazil's Sandra Corveloni won the best actress award for Linha de Passe and Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who had twice won the Palme d'Or, received the best screenplay award for Le Silence de Lorna.