The Lumière Academy has announced that Monica Bellucci and Jean-Paul Belmondo will be guests of honor for the 23rd edition of the organization’s Awards, taking place Feb. 5 at Paris’ Arab World Institute. The distinction is reserved for actors whose work has helped illuminate French cinema across the world.
Launching 1995, the Lumière Awards were started in order to highlight achievements in French cinema through the eyes of the foreign press.
Bellucci started her career in TV in her home country of Italy in 1990, but it wasn’t long before her talent started to gain international recognition in the film industry. By 1992 she made her first major international feature appearance in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
The actress has featured in a number of high-profile French productions such as: “Asterix and Obelisk: Mission Cleopatra,” where she starred alongside French legend Gerard Depardieu, “The Apartment,” with her long time partner Vincent Cassel; and her international breakout feature, Gaspar Noé’s “Irreversible.”
Although the award focuses mainly on contributions to French cinema, the Academy will also pay tribute to a decades-long international career as well, including the 2015 James Bond installment “Spectre,” a season 3 role in Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and the Wachowski’s “Matrix” films.
French New Wave living legend Jean-Paul Belmondo started acting for the screen in the mid 50’s. His first role in a feature was in 1957’s “On Foot, on Horse, and on Wheels,” where he acted alongside Jean-Pierre Cassel, Bellucci’s former father-in-law.
Belmondo’s international career took off, however, with a lead role in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 classic “Breathless.” The actor became the face of France’s Nouvelle Vague, and launched into a decade in which he averaged five films per year, notable among them a second Godard film, “Pierrot le Fou,” and Philippe de Broca’s “That Man from Rio.”
By the mid-sixties, Belmondo had left arthouse behind and established himself as one of France’s biggest box office draws, working primarily in comedy and action films. Over the course of his career, the actor received two BAFTA nominations, a César award, a career achievement Golden Lion at Venice and an Honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Following in the footsteps of fellow French star Alain Delon, Belmondo started his own production company, Cerito, which produced more than 20 films over two decades. At the company, he joined forces with his press officer, René Château; the two distributed his films as well.
This years Lumière Awards will be live streamed from the Lumière Academy’s Facebook page at 10:30 p.m. Paris time, Feb. 5.