France's Ministry of Culture announced Tuesday that it has named directorWilliam Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) Officer, Orderof Arts and Letters (Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres). Theprestigious honor had previously gone to U.S. directors Mel Brooks, ClintEastwood, Gordon Parks, and Robert Redford. Friedkin will receive the awardduring ceremonies next fall. In a statement, the director said that he wasespecially honored to receive it "because of the profound influence Frenchcinema has had on all the filmmakers of my generation." .