The Festival de Cannes will welcome Jean-Paul Belmondo on Tuesday 17 May with a special evening held in his honour.

“We are delighted that he has agreed to attend this gala evening in celebration of his talent and career. 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. No doubt the entire panoply of French actors, headed by his Conservatory friends Jean Rochefort, Claude Rich, Pierre Vernier and Jean-Pierre Marielle, will want to walk up that Cannes staircase to celebrate ‘Bébel’ to the sound of the rapturous applause of his diehard fans,” say Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux.

The time has certainly come to celebrate this extraordinarily talented French actor. Since the late 1950s, Jean-Paul Belmondo has encapsulated the very best of popular cinema (Philippe de Broca, Henri Verneuil, Gérard Oury, Georges Lautner, Jacques Deray), ably blending this with the glorious art-house cinema of the ‘60s and ‘70s (Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, François Truffaut, Claude Lelouch and Alain Resnais, not to mention Vittorio Sica and Alberto Lattuada). That Man from Rio, Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Léon Morin, Priest, Mississippi Mermaid, Le Magnifique, Stavisky and Borsalino are just a few examples of his extraordinary range.

Known throughout the world, the inspiration for generations of actors, and popular from Los Angeles to Tokyo and from Mexico to Moscow, Jean-Paul Belmondo is without a doubt one of the best loved personalities in French cinema.

It has long been the wish of the Festival de Cannes to see him tread the red carpet. Surrounded by friends and admirers, Jean-Paul Belmondo will attend the première of Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech’s documentary, “Belmondo, The Career” on Tuesday 17 May. The screening will be followed by a dinner and party, bringing this day of tribute to a close.