Los Angeles: Actor Sean Penn, who received an honorary Cesar Award Friday night from the French film industry, feels honoured to be felicitated by those who provide him "inspiration and encouragement".
After an emotional introduction from a crying Marion Cotillard, who called the actor an "idealist" and a "rebel (who) questions the world and society" in his work and life, Penn said he was inspired by French film while growing up as a teen in the 1960s, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
He continues to be encouraged by the strength and independence of French cinema.
"It's been kind of a refuge when things get too cynical in what we do. Artists are encouraging to each other to sustain a vivid industry, which we saw so briefly in American cinema," he said.
"French cinema is unique for sustaining those emotions, (it's) a kind of refuge when things get too cynical. It's been a breath of fresh air, and that's the reason this means quite a lot to me.
"It has been a very sustaining inspiration, so when I came with my first film as a director, which was in Cannes, there was a sense of film and a discussion about film that was so refreshing and compared to that which I think is 'follow the advertising.' instead of 'let the advertising follow,' which I think is too much in American film.
"So to be honored by those who honor me with inspiration and encouragement is notable," he added.
Penn, who arrived with fiancee Charlize Theron on a rainy Friday night, met with French president Francois Hollande Thursday to discuss his humanitarian charity - The J/P Haitian Relief Organization.