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Filmmaker Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions took home three prizes Saturday from the César awards -- France's equivalent of the Oscars -- best film, best director and best original screenplay.

"It's too much, it's way too much, but I'll take it anyway," Arcand quipped.

Hours earlier, Arcand was decorated as a Commander of the Ordres des arts et des lettres, the country's highest cultural honour.

The Barbarian Invasions, the sequel to Arcand's The Decline of the American Empire, tells the story of a cranky Montreal intellectual who is dying of cancer and whose friends and family gather around for an emotional but joyous sendoff.

The film is up for two Academy Awards on Sunday, best foreign film and best original screenplay.

Arcand has previously received Oscar nominations for The Decline of the American Empire in 1986 as well as 1989's Jesus of Montreal.

In accepting the César, Arcand thanked his "partner and producer" Denise Robert, without whom, he said, "the film wouldn't have been possible."

Robert thanked "Denys Arcand for being Denys Arcand."

Also at the ceremony, Canadian Benoît Charest picked up the prize for best original music for The Triplets of Belleville, an animated film almost entirely drawn in a vast workshop in Old Montreal.

Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood won the best foreign film award for Mystic River, a dark drama about friends haunted by a tragedy from their childhoods.

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