The fifth edition of the Lumière Festival in the French city of Lyon was a star-studded affair, with a surprise appearance by cult US film-maker Quentin Tarantino. He will be awarded the Prix Lumière, handed out every year to a great name in the world of cinema.
Tarantino paid homage to French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, the guest of honour at this year’s opening ceremony.
“He’s a god. I can’t believe I’m gonna be meeting him, it’s very exciting – my heart goes boom boom,” said Tarantino.
A living legend, with a career spanning six decades, 80-year old Belmondo was greeted by friends and cinema enthusiasts from all over the world.
“I am delighted to be here, for Jean-Paul of course. We shot three films together, the first was La Viaccia by Mauro Bolognini, when we were really young, and I played a whore in the movie,” said actress Claudia Cardinale.
“Paying homage to Jean-Paul – of course, I’m up for that. I made three films with him, I really think he is the post-war actor who took over from Jean Gabin,” said film director Claude Lelouche.
Another French cinema legend, filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, was there to greet his old friend.
“There’s no such thing as young cinema or old cinema, modern cinema or classic cinema… There are simply two types of films: the good ones, which can be modern, classic, young or old, and those that start at eight o’clock, and on the stroke of midnight, you look at your watch and you realise it’s only 8.15!,” he said
The Lumière Festival is unlike any other – it offers visitors the chance to relive great cinema classics as well as discover unknown gems from the past.
This year, homage is being paid to Belmondo, of course, but also to film directors like Henri Verneuil and Ingmar Bergman. In all, more than 130 films are being screened in cinema theatres throughout Lyon.
“Tarantino surprised the public by being here, I knew he wanted to be here to pay homage to Belmondo. Traditionally, the artist who receives the Lumière Prize only turns up in the second half of the festival. But as soon as I told him, a few months ago, that Jean-Paul Belmondo would be there for the opening, he said: ‘I want to be there too!’,” said Thierry Frémaux, director of the festival.
An eclectic selection of forgotten movies from France, Italy, Tunisia and even the Philippines are among the films being screened as part of the festival, alongside remastered cinema classics such as Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Emperor.
And like previous years, the climax of the festival will be the moment Quentin Tarantino himself picks up his award, following in the footsteps of giants such as Milos Forman, Ken Loach, Gerard Depardieu and Clint Eastwood.