'Pulp Fiction' Castmembers Reunite for Quentin Tarantino's Prix Lumiere Award
LYON, France – Quentin Tarantino brought out the big guns – including Harvey Weinstein, Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel – when he received the Prix Lumiere at the film festival here Friday night.
The Prix Lumiere, which has been awarded to Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Gerard Depardieu, and Ken Loach in the five years since its inception, was envisioned by Cannes and Lumiere film festivals head Thierry Fremaux to become the Nobel prize of filmmakers to honor their bodies of work.
At an exceptionally emotional tribute and award ceremony, which preceded a brief backstage government ceremony in which he was awarded the Commander of Arts and Letters by French culture minister Aurelie Filippetti, the director was honored by his longtime friends and creative collaborators.
Tim Roth got the evening off to a bawdy start with a few well-placed swears, but the mood soon turned more sweet and serious as producers Lawrence Bender and Weinstein took the stage. The famously demanding Weinstein credited Tarantino for both of his companies' successes.
"My first company, Miramax, was the house that Quentin built, and my second company, The Weinstein Company, is the house that Quentin saved," he said, showing an uncharacteristic soft spot when adding that Tarantino is "tough minded and tough, but really one of the most compassionate human beings I know."
Keitel, who took the stage next, was moved by Weinstein's words and grew teary as he began to talk about the director. "Damn, I'm not going to make it through this," he said when composing himself, before comparing his relationship with Tarantino to a great romance. "I always felt we were meant for each other and nothing could keep us apart. Maybe if he had been a woman we could have gotten married, had kids," he joked. "Working with Quentin is like reading a great novel or hearing a great symphony or piece of music -- it changes you. You don't know how, but it has."
With a barrage of superlatives that required Fremaux to translate from her "terribly" hand-written speech on the back of the day's program, Thurman declared: "For all your wildness, your work always has aspirations for justice, freedom from oppression, courage, and most of all love and passion."
"You have been an explosion of dynamite in the art of cinema itself," she said, comparing him to Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and the namesake of the Nobel Prize. "You invented your own dynamite, your 'cinemite.' May your legacy be your fearlessness and the flicker of light projected through the darkness of a movie house forever be your fuse."
"I don't have words for how I feel -- probably one of the first times that has happened to me," said Tarantino. He credited the actors onstage for bringing his characters to life, and Bender and Weinstein for backing him and his dreams throughout his career.
"I have always thought of myself as a lone wolf, but always because I never really had a family, but these people are my family. Their affection and respect is all I ever want," he said, just before Thurman presented him with the award.
He thanked the roaring crowd, the city of Lyon - where film was invented by the Lumiere brothers in 1895 - and France as well. "Cinema is my religion and France is my Vatican," he said, causing much confusion in the crowd. "I probably just insulted you a little bit with that but it was the best example I could come up with."
"I don't know where I would be if the Lumiere brothers' mother and father had never met," he said. "Probably somewhere selling 'Royale with Cheese.' "