The Festival de Cannes will be Breathless on May 17 when legendary actor Jean-Paul Belmondo is honored with a special evening dedicated to his career, fest organizers announced on Wednesday.
The actor – nicknamed “Bebel” – last graced the Cannes red carpet to promote Alain Resnais’ Stavisky in 1974 after an appearance in 1960 for Peter Brooks’ Moderato Cantabile. 37 years later, the actor will be back on the Croisette for a career homage and fete. Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech’s documentary Belmondo, The Career will premiere on the Croisette followed by a dinner and party honoring the French New Wave star.
Belmondo made an appearance at the festival again in 2001, but this time to honor his friend and colleague Gerard Oury. This time, it’s The Magnificent One himself in the spotlight.
“His range and personal charisma, the precision of his acting, his cocky wit, the ease with which he carries himself have made him, along with Jean Gabin and Michel Simon, one of the greatest French actors of all time, a fact to which many films bear ample witness,” fest toppers Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux said in a joint statement. The reigning Cannes duo expect Belmondo’s famous friends including Jean Rochefort, Claude Rich, Pierre Vernier and Jean-Pierre Marielle to join him on the red carpet for the occasion, adding : “They will want to walk up that Cannes staircase to celebrate ‘Bebel’ to the sound of the rapturous applause of his diehard fans.”
Belmondo began his career in the 1950s and has been steadily working ever since. The actor grew to fame with both popular cinema and art-house titles and has worked with such legendary directors as Henri Verneuil, Gerard Oury, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville and Francois Truffaut among other notable helmers. Belmondo’s celebrated roles during his more than half a century-long career include Breathless, The Man from Rio, Pierrot le Fou, Leon Morin, Priest, Mississippi Mermaid, Stavisky and, more recently, 2009 title A Man and his Dog.
The Festival de Cannes runs May 11 – 22.