×

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

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content