Although it was widely rumored that France's newly elected president, Nicolas Sarkozy, would make a red carpet appearance in Cannes, he instead sent a note along with the country's new culture minister, Christine Albanel.

On Sunday night, the evening of Cannes' 60th anniversary celebration, the minister read a tribute addressed to festival president Gilles Jacob which began, 'In 60 years, you, which is to say, the festi252val that you embody, have given birth to legends.'

The letter went on to say, 'By realizing the list of laureates of this festival which is the memory, the honor and the future of cinema, I am proud of our country which embodies and defends the cultural exception, an exception which has given its vitality to contemporary creativity.'

He concluded by saying he would be vigilant as regards the digital revolution, 'Everyone must play their part in the battle for the protection of rights. You can count on me.'