The living legend of the French cinema, Alain Delon will receive the honorary Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival despite the wave of criticism coming from Hollywood, the Cannes General Delegate Thierry Frémaux confirmed in a statement.
The U.S. organization Women and Hollywood slammed the Cannes Film Festival for its decision to honor Alain Delon despite his controversial comments about slapping women and openly opposing child adoption by same-sex couples.
According to Melissa Silverstein, the founder of Women and Hollywood, a person who has associated himself with a racist and anti-Semitic political party such as the French National Front, should not be granted such a high honor.
Silverstein also noted some of Delon's previous statements that being gay is "against nature." Going further, Silverstein pointed out that if Cannes gives him Honorary Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), it will honor his "abhorrent values."
Speaking to the television channel France 2 in 2015, the French actor commented on the recently passed bill legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption in the country. Back then Delon said that he was having a hard time living in an era when we trivialize "what's against nature."
Although he made it clear he was not against same-sex marriages, he heavily criticized the idea of gay couples raising children together:
"We are here to love a woman, to woo a woman, not to flirt with or get picked up by guys," Delon stated.
The founder of Women and Hollywood said that although the French actor has not been accused of anything, these sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic views should not be honored.
To conclude, Silverstein admitted that people nowadays are probably sick and tired of hearing about these issues and rarely care, which in her view, is sad.
The Cannes festival declined to respond to the specific points raised against Alain Delon. However, the organizers of the film festival commented they are honoring the 83-year-old Delon because he is a French acting legend.
The list of previous recipients of the honorary Palme D'Or includes prominent artists such as Jeanne Moreau, Woody Allen, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Manoel de Oliveira, Agnès Varda, and Jean-Pierre Léaud.
The Cannes film festival came under fire in the last couple of years for the scarcity of female directors in its main competition. Last year, 82 women walked the Cannes red carpet to raise awareness of the lack of representation for female directors.
This year the festival committee selected a record-equalling four films by women filmmakers among its 19-strong lineup. The 72nd Cannes film festival will run May 14 - 25.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the decision of the Cannes film festival to honor Alain Delon despite its controversial views?