Bernardo Bertolucci to Receive Honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes

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PARIS -- The Festival de Cannes will award its first ever Honorary Palme d'Or to Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci at this year's Opening Ceremony on May 11, organizers said on Monday.

The fest will award a notable filmmaker whose work has somehow been overlooked by the fest over the years and has never received the coveted Golden Palm prize.

Woody Allen received the distinction in 2002 and Clint Eastwood in 2009, but the prize will now be an official Festival de Cannes Opening Ceremony tradition.

The filmmaker - who was recently honored in New York for a retrospective of his work at the Museum of Modern Art - is famed for titles including 1964's Prima della Revoluzione, 1976 film Novecento, 1970 pic The Conformist and 1987 title The Last Emperor.

"The quality of his work, which appears today in all its uniqueness and the extent of which we receive every day intact, the strength of his commitment to cinema and the ties that bind make this for Cannes the first legitimate recipient," fest president Gilles Jacob and artistic director Thierry Fremaux said in a joint statement.

Jury president Robert De Niro, who acted in Bertolucci's Novecento will attend the prize-giving ceremony on May 11.

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