Paris, France – Friday, 15 October 2010
Robert Redford now a Knight of the French Legion of Honour
US actor/director/environmentalist Robert Redford has a good reason to be in Paris. He has just been presented with the Legion of Honour medal – effectively making him a Knight of France’s Legion of Honour.
Created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honour recognizes military. Cultural, scientific and social contributions to France. This significant recognition includes people who are not French citizens.
Presentation by French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Redford, now aged 74, accepted the red-riboned medal from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who congratulated Robert on his outstanding film acting and directing career, and his work to protect the environment.
“I know 65 million French people who would like to be in my shoes right now,” Sarkozy joked during a speech in French, which Redford followed in translation through an earpiece.
Sarkozy told Redford: “You are the incarnation of the United States and all that that country represents.”
He said Redford’s roles in films such as 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Out of Africa, from 1985, and The Great Gatsby (1974), continue to delight viewers.
“Those who love cinema long remember … (your) films, which we watch and re-watch with the same emotion each time,” Sarkozy said.
He also praised Redford’s long commitment to environmental causes.
“We need friends like you who have the courage to try to wake up people’s consciousness” about the environment, Sarkozy said.
Redford thanked the French people, recalling the time he spent in France after dropping out of college.
“I didn’t know anything about my own country, I was naive and narrow-minded and it was the French students … who opened my eyes and gave me a real education,” said Redford.
With Redford at the ceremony at Paris’ Elysee presidential palace was his wife, painter Sibylle Szaggers.
Robert Redford further stated –
“I will continue with my commitment to make cinema that opens people’s spirits and goes beyond borders, and this prize will help me do that,” said Redford, who also directed the 1992 hit, A River Runs Through It, and the 2007 political drama, Lions for Lambs.
Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival
Redford is President and Founder of the Sundance Institute that hosts the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah every year. The festival focuses on independent cinema, and the 2011 event is scheduled for 20-30 January, 2011.
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