×

Cannes Film Festival Director: ‘We’re Not Giving Alain Delon the Nobel Peace Prize’

Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival, defended the decision to give controversial actor Alain Delon an honorary Palme d’Or during a sometimes testy press conference on Monday.

“We’re not giving Alain Delon the Nobel Peace Prize,” a visibly frustrated Fremaux said, drawing some laughter.

The move to recognize Delon, the star of “Le Samouraï” and “The Leopard,” has been criticized by women’s rights advocates such as Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein. They object to comments that Delon made in which he admitted to slapping women, opposed the adoption of children by same-sex parents and expressed sympathy with far right politicians.

Fremaux stressed that the festival was “honoring Delon as an artist” and was “paying tribute to his accomplishments in the film industry which have nothing to do with his political opinions or his friendship with (founder of France’s far-right party National Front, now known as National Rally) Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“Delon is free to have those opinions even if I don’t share them,” said Fremaux, adding that the festival was interested in promoting freedom of expression. He also said Delon’s comments on the French far right movement paled in comparison to President Donald Trump’s calls to crack down on illegal immigration and his nativist policies.

When told that there was an American petition to stop Delon from being honored at Cannes, Frémaux quipped that there should be more petitions in the U.S. for climate change, noting that Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming.

Fremaux also addressed criticism that the festival’s competition only had four films directed by women. He said that the under-representation of women directors in the film industry is a larger issue that should not only be discussed once a year during the festival. He said that when the festival signed a gender parity pledge last year, no one — not even the advocacy group 50/50 for 2020 — expected Cannes to have an equal number of female and male directors vying in its official selection. Despite that, Cannes overall does have a record 15 films helmed by women directors at the festival.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Box Office Mojo new

    Box Office Mojo Site Transformed by IMDbPro

    BoxOfficeMojo.com has been transformed into an IMDbPro site, losing some of its free features. The Amazon-owned site, which had previously operated free of charge, was given a new look with its header reading “Box Office Mojo by IMDb Pro.” Information such as breakdowns by genre is now only available behind the IMDbPro paywall. The Box [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Hocus Pocus' Sequel in Development at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has launched development of a sequel to 1993’s fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus” with “Workaholics” writer and co-producer Jen D’Angelo on board to script. The original “Hocus Pocus” starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witch sisters who have been cursed since 1693 in Salem, Ma. The witches [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Wins 2019 Eppy Award for Best Digital Magazine

    Variety has won two Eppy Awards from Editor & Publisher, including Best Digital Magazine and Best Collaborative Investigative/Enterprise Feature for “American (In)Justice” — a collaboration with fellow PMC property Rolling Stone. “American (In)Justice” also tied with USA Today’s “Copy, Paste, Legislate” collaboration with The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. Variety has provided [...]

  • Joker Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Villains Face Off Again as 'Joker' and 'Maleficent' Battle for First Place

    Despite three new nationwide releases, domestic box office charts look to be dominated by holdovers — Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — during the last weekend in October. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted last weekend with $36 million in North America, enough to dethrone “Joker” after the super-villain origin story’s back-to-back [...]

  • Yasushi Shiina

    Tokyo Market is Finding New Strengths, Says Yasushi Shiina

    Clouds on the global economic horizon and disruption to the scheduling of the event, have done little to dampen the interest of foreign visitors to TIFFCOM, Japan’s biggest film and TV market. Especially those from China, says market head, Yasushi Shiina. The market is again running at the Sunshine City shopping, entertainment and business complex [...]

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    Toho Unveils Dual Media Romance 'Love Me, Love Me Not' at Tokyo Market

    Japan’s biggest film company, which produces, distributes and exhibits its own product in partnership with leading media companies, Toho has brought a line-up to TIFFCOM full of present and future hits. The biggest is “Weathering with You,” the love story animation by Makoto Shinkai that surpassed the $100 million mark only a month after its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content