Annual Film Festival kicks off in Cannes, and at least one decision of its organizers has already caused a flash of criticism: activists persuade the festival director Thierry Fremault to refuse to honor Alain Delon (the corresponding petition on the Web was signed by more than twenty thousand people). This year in Cannes, the 83-year-old actor should be awarded the honorary Palme d'Or. The initiative was announced in mid-April, and even then she angered the organization Women and Hollywood, which advocates for gender diversity in the film industry.
Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein reminded Delon of his homophobic and misogynistic remarks, as well as support for the far-right French party National Front. In his interviews, the actor has indeed repeatedly stated that homosexuality is "contrary to nature," and also defended aggressive macho: “It depends on who we call macho: if you slap a slap in the face is [behavior] macho, then yes, you can call me macho. But keep in mind that I also received slaps in the face, even from women!"
In addition, Delon is accused of domestic violence: six years ago, his son, 18-year-old Alain-Fabian, said that his father beat his mother, Dutch model and TV presenter Rosalie Van Bremen (Delon Sr. broke eight ribs and - twice - her nose) and constantly terrorized him and his half-brother Anthony (“he didn’t hit”, but “he could yell, drag him by the hair, throw dishes and break windows”). The actor himself then dismissed the accusations, saying that his son was "not himself" and was selling sensational interviews.
When asked about Delon's reputation, Thierry Fremault responded at a press conference with noticeable irritation: “We are not giving him the Nobel Peace Prize. We are honoring him with the Palme d'Or for his acting. " Calling for the separation of art from a person and his views, the director of the festival noted that Delon has the right to freedom of opinion, and, apparently, for persuasiveness, added that the actor's speeches in support of French nationalists pale against the background of Donald Trump's immigration policy in the United States.
“That's the way I am, I'm doing stupid things. I was in jail. I was a petty bandit. I had nothing but my face"
“It has become very difficult to reward or honor anyone, the political police will immediately come for you,” Fremo complained. Indeed, in a difficult issue, the separation of art from the creators of Cannes is at least consistent. Be guided by the organizers of the festival, the public reputation of the laureates, almost a third of the honorary "palm branches" awarded since the beginning of the 2000s would have had to be taken away: in different years Woody Allen (accused of raping his adopted daughter), Catherine Deneuve (who publicly criticized the movement #MeToo), Bernardo Bertolucci (during his lifetime accused of inhuman manipulation of actors on the set of "The Last Tango in Paris") and Clint Eastwood (whose fickle political rhetoric in the United States has raised and raises many questions).
Delon hardly stands out against their background. Despite the fact that no one disputes his services to French cinema, in his historical homeland (in 2000, Delon received Swiss citizenship and settled in Geneva), they are very ambiguous about him. Back in the sixties, he was credited with having connections with the Corsican mafia and was even suspected of organizing the murder of his former bodyguard, Stevan Markovic. The latter, shortly before his death, in a letter to his brother said that if he was killed, “Alain Delon and his godfather François Marcantoni would be one hundred percent guilty of this” (the case of Markovich's murder remains unsolved).The actor is also regularly remembered for the support of the National Front and the Movement of Citizens of Geneva (a populist party that advocates the ultimate tightening of Swiss immigration laws). Delon, whose character is usually explained in part by a difficult childhood and upbringing in a family of foster parents, in turn, also does not try to maintain the reputation of a universal favorite: “That's the way I am, I do stupid things. I was in jail. I was a petty bandit. I had nothing but my face."
All this, however, does not really bother Fremo and his colleagues, who in recent years have been trying to sit on two chairs: on the one hand, not to ignore the demands of the time regarding gender balance in the industry (this year's jury consists of four women and five men), on the other, to maintain independence. It turns out with difficulty. And although the Cannes Film Festival gradually ceases to be a place where women are allowed on the carpet only in heels, Fremo has to explain not only the incident with Delon, but also why only four of the nineteen films selected for the main competition were shot by women directors - despite the fact that for Cannes these are record numbers.
Photos: The Criterion Collection