The Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award, at the 2009 Film Festival in Lyon. France’s second city is intimately linked with the movies: Lyon was the birthplace of the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, who invented cinema itself in 1895.
Clint Eastwood shot to fame in Sergio Leone’s so-called ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ and has gone on to win countless awards as an actor, director, producer and composer. But he saluted the men who started it all as he received his award: “I see here we have Augusto and Louis? (Auguste!) August and Louis, we all owe them a great deal of thanks. And I owe them 50-some years of employment.” From playing gritty characters like maverick cop ‘Dirty’ Harry Callaghan, and retired gunslinger William Munny in the multi-Oscar-winning Unforgiven, to directing thoughtful blockbusters like Million Dollar Baby and the twin war movies Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers, Clint Eastwood has dominated the silver screen for decades. He insists, though, that 2009’s Gran Torino will be the last time he appears in front of the camera.