The 83-year-old actor, Alain Delon received his first gold medal at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday 19th May, 2019, a “posthumous” tribute, he says, for his entire career.
A lot of emotion in Cannes on Sunday 19th May, 2019. In tears, Alain Delon received a Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival for his entire career despite protests from feminist associations , thanking the audience to whom he wanted to say goodbye.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been so pissed off,” said the 83-year-old, red-faced actor, receiving the award from his daughter Anouchka, with thunderous applause.
In a packed house, in the presence of the Minister of Culture Franck Riester, the President of the Festival Pierre Lescure and his Delegate General Thierry Frémaux, the public had been invited to wear a badge with the word “star”, recalling the one that the actor had brought to the Festival in 2007.
“Tonight is a bit of a posthumous tribute, but in my lifetime,” responded the actor.
“I will leave, but I will not leave without thanking you.”
“If I’m a star, and that’s why I want to thank you, it’s to the public that I owe it and to no one else,” he added, pointing out that he also thought about two of the women of his life, actresses Mireille Darc and Romy Schneider.
Previously, the icon of French cinema of the 60s and 70s had crossed the red carpet of Cannes to the sound of the music of the “Clan of the Sicilians” by Henri Verneuil. Wearing on the back of his jacket a badge representing the cover of the magazine Paris Match of the birth of his daughter, he had long greeted the crowd and signed some autographs.
A petition against the palm
This tribute day began in the late morning with a masterclass during which he had evoked for nearly an hour and a half his memories of cinema.
He took the opportunity to pay tribute to the women who allowed him to become an actor. “It was the women who loved me, who made me do this job, who wanted me to do it and who fought for me to do it,” said the man who made the film with Visconti, Melville or Antonioni.
This Palme d’Or was preceded by a controversy, triggered even before the start of the Festival. Feminists have accused the actor of being “racist, homophobic and misogynist”, in the words of the American association Women and Hollywood, based on what he said earlier. A petition, which has collected more than 25,000 signatures, has also asked Cannes to “not honor it”.
“We do not have to agree with me. But there is one thing in the world that I’m sure of, of which I’m proud, really, only one, it’s my career, “said the actor receiving his award. “This Palme d’Or, it was offered to me for my career and for nothing else, and that’s why I’m proud.”
In Le Journal du dimanche, he had tried to answer his critics, accusing them of having “invented statements”.
“Alain Delon is not afraid to displease, to be wrong, and is not afraid to be alone,” said Thierry Frémaux Sunday evening, saying that the Festival would be “always on the side of artists.”
If he has accepted to receive this Palme d’Or, Alain Delon has always maintained an eventful relationship with the Cannes Film Festival.
He had come for the last time on the Croisette in 2013 for the screening of a restored copy of René Clément’s “Plein Soleil”, after having presented in 2010 a restored version of the “Cheetah”.
But before that, the actor with the character had shunned during ten years the Festival, vexed not to have been invited to the celebrations of the 50th anniversary in 1997.
Alain Delon came to Cannes for the first time in 1961 for René Clément’s “Quelle joie de vivre”, then for “L’eclipse” by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1962, Prix du jury, and “Le Chepard” by Luchino Visconti , 1963 Palme d’Or.
But in 1976, Joseph Losey’s “Monsieur Klein” was coldly received, provoking a first anger.