The 69-year-old Brother director, aka comedian Beat Takeshi, told reporters news of the honour had given him a career boost.

"I feel that I've been suspended somewhere, stuck after having explored a certain number of genres in writing, music, theatre and others," he said, "but today, thanks to this Legion of Honour, I feel boosted with new energy to be able to tackle other domains that remain for me to discover."

First awarded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour has been presented to other foreigners including Sir Paul McCartney and Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, as well as a host of Hollywood stars.