The day Sophie Marceau was booed at the Cannes Film Festival

On May 25, 1999, Sophie Marceau surprised the assembly. The French actress, then aged 33, had been chosen to present the Palme d’Or to the brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne for their film Rosetta.

On the stage of the Grand Théâtre des Lumières, she delivers a confused and lengthy speech, while the audience grows impatient. The actress does not want to talk about cinema, and refuses to read the files sent to her. She talks about her difficulties in writing this speech and cannot hide her stress, despite the fact that she says she is “honored” to be there.

I wanted to talk to you about things other than cinema, because there are other important things besides cinema.

A flawed speech

“There are, there are, well, I’m confused, but…, I’ll get there, uh, there are all these films, uh… which are… uh… which are here tonight and which have summer, uh… uh… seen… In any case, I will be, uh, very happy for the blessed one who will have this, this Palme d’or this evening and who will remind us, uh… (…) I wanted you talk about things other than cinema, because there are other important things than cinema and then, and then I spent a day with seriously ill children and I can tell you that cinema is one thing that matters in the world, rather than making war, we make movies and I tell you that it makes people dream, and it gives them a… a goal, a project… in the short term and something that remains forever…”, she, in part, told in a blur, before being interrupted by Kristin Scott-Thomas.

“Mr. President, we… oh! I’m sorry, I interrupted you…”, launched the British actress, naturalized French. What Sophie Marceau asked: “If I annoy you, tell me!”. Cruel, part of the public begins to boo and whistle the star who is then one of the favorite actresses of the French. A painful scene, which will mark the career of the actress forever.

The interpreter of The party (1980) was returning from the Alps, where she was staying with Nicolas Hulot on behalf of the Arc-en-ciel association, of which she is godmother, and which makes the dreams of seriously ill children come true. The actress seemed disturbed by the disconnect between this difficult reality and the glitz of the film festival.

Celebrity discomfort

In the public, those around him also feel the discomfort. Dominique Besnehard famous ex-star agent and producer of the series Ten percent had returned to the awkward scene with the magazine Entertainment TV in May 2019. “On stage she lost her footing, I found it endless. I was sitting next to Johnny Hallyday and he said to me: ‘you have to get on stage, you have to get her out of there!’. It was a nightmare,” he recalled three decades later.

At the official dinner that followed, notes Dominique Besnehard, “all the people turned their heads away”. Only one person came to support her, he recalls, “American Anjelica Huston, who said to him, ‘Tonight, you were like everyone else. It doesn’t matter.'”

On July 3, 2021, she confided in her misunderstood tirade in the Sunday newspaper : “I was not in the mood. I was coming back from an afternoon with my association Arc-en-Ciel, which takes care of sick children. The transition was a bit difficult… had given absurd texts that I didn’t want to read. Normally, I prepare things well. There I got confused, I had a hole. I felt it coming… It happens, it’s just boring when it’s in Cannes.”

Dominique Besnehard will specify that the actress did not wish to come to Cannes that year, but that she had been a little constrained by Canal + and Michel Denisot. “When she arrived, I could see she wasn’t there,” he remarked.

Years later, Sophie Marceau continues to make appearances at the Cannes Film Festival and proudly climbs the legendary steps to present her appreciated work.

We wish to give thanks to the author of this post for this remarkable material

The day Sophie Marceau was booed at the Cannes Film Festival