The only sound of protest were shouts of “no” in the Palais du Festival on Sunday night. Alain Delon described his honorary Palm as an-end-of-life award, not an end-of-career award, “a posthumous homage that comes while I'm still alive.”
A heart-throb of the 1960s and 70s, Alain Delon has been in the Golden Palm competition with seven films since 1956, but had never won a prize.
At the award ceremony in the Palais du Festival, he received a ten-minute long ovation which brought tears to his eyes.
His speech also brought tears to the eyes of the well-heeled audience as his daughter Anouchka awarded him the Palm-leaf-shaped prize.
He said that he was “happy and satisfied” to receive the award, as the only thing he had been proud of in his life was his career
Earlier the 83 year –old actor gave a master class in story-telling to a packed house.
He talked about his memories such as his first time at the Cannes up till the film Monsieur Klein by Joseph Losey in 1976, which he helped to produce.
Earlier in the week, the Honorary Palm award for one of the stars in Luchino Visconti's Il Gattopardo was contested by some women's associations who had garnered 25,000 signatures opposing the honorary prize.
Delon had in the past made comments in public about slapping women. He has also been open about his friendship with the former leader of the extreme-far right party, that used to be called the National Front. Although in the French press this weekend, he said he is “right-wing, full-stop.”
On Sunday in Cannes, he took the opportunity to express his gratitude to many women “who fought for me to make this my career."