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Cannes kicks off with hommage to Bertolucci

Italian
director Bernardo Bertolucci (L), is awarded with the Honorary Palme
d'Or for his career from the president of the Cannes Film Festival
Gilles Jacob (C) as President of the Jury Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman,
Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Jude Law and Argentinian actress
and producer Martina Gusman applaud during the opening ceremony of the
64th Cannes Film Festival. - AFP PHOTO

CANNES:
The Cannes film festival got off to a glittering start on Wednesday,
paying hommage to the creator of “Last Tango in Paris” before sitting
back to enjoy “Midnight in Paris”.

“I declare the Cannes
festival open,” said Bernardo Bertolucci in Italian and French, after
French actress Melanie Laurent, the evening’s master of ceremonies,
invited the Italian director to do the honours and “cut the ribbon”.

Just
minutes earlier, the septuagenarian wheelchair-bound Bertolucci was
visibly touched as he received a Palme d’Honneur for his life’s work
including “Last Tango in Paris” and “The Last Emperor”.

“The
surprise makes this even more important,” said Bertolucci, who has never
won a coveted Palme D’Or despite his respected oeuvre.

He
dedicated his award to Woody Allen “who I can see in his seat with a
strange expression I’ve never seen in his films” – Allen looked
poker-faced slumped in his seat – and to Robert De Niro, president of
this year’s Palme d’Or jury, “a big, big friend” who starred in his epic
film “1900”.

Allen’s latest romantic comedy “Midnight in Paris” opened the festival.

Bertolucci
then added: “And then I’d like to dedicate this honorary Palme to all
Italians who still have the strength and the energy to struggle, to
criticise and to be indignant.”

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