France honors actress Penelope Cruz

France's culture minister on Wednesday honored &to=http://english.pravda.ru/fun/2003/01/10/41875.html' target=_blank>Penelope Cruz, calling her a "great European actress" and proclaiming her a knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres praised in particular her international film career, which includes roles in French, English, Italian and her native Spanish.

"It's France's role to be the ardent defender of cultural diversity and to recognize those who extend, with their talent, the culture of their country," the minister said. "I'm happy to have honored this great European actress."

The Spaniard, who is in Paris to promote her new movie "Bandidas," received the minister's accolades with modesty.