George Lucas, Honorary Palme d’or of the 77th Festival de Cannes

APRIL 9, 2024
A Hollywood legend, the director, screenwriter and producer George Lucas will receive the Honorary Palme d’or on Saturday, May 25, at the Closing Ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, to be broadcast live on French TV channel France 2.

At the mere mention of his name, a whole section of the Seventh Art lights up, and you can hear a few unforgettable music notes (by John Williams!). Inseparable from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones sagas, George Lucas has forever given the blockbusters an illustrious history, and audiences the world over unrivalled pleasure.

“The Festival de Cannes has always held a special place in my heart. I was surprised and elated when my first film, THX-1138, was selected to be shown in a new program for first time directors called the Directors’ Fortnight. Since then, I have returned to the festival on many occasions in a variety of capacities as a writer, director and producer. I am truly honored by this special recognition which means a great deal to me.”

George Lucas’ debut in the film industry was marked by his close collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola, who helped him produce THX 1138 (1971), adapted from one of his experimental short films made at the University of Southern California. From his very first feature, George Lucas staged the themes that are dear to him: science fiction to denounce a society of surveillance, using love to fight fate and conformity, and reversing moral values to challenge the role of good and evil.

With American Graffiti, an ode to American youth, George Lucas revealed Harrison Ford and directed his first major success which enabled him to embark on his ambitious saga. 

A visionary intergalactic odyssey that reinvented the codes of cinematic genres as part of the New Hollywood movement, Star Wars is nothing short of mythology, a study that has fascinated George Lucas since his university days, in the construction of characters and plots and the breadth of its cultural reach. Like Tolkien in literature, he imagined a universe, with its geography, populations, languages, moral values and even its vehicles. This exceptional ambition, which initially frightened 20th Century Fox’s producers and led to a grueling post-production period, was nonetheless the recipe for unprecedented success: the film captivated the American crowds and became a worldwide socio-cultural phenomenon, which continues to this day.

In the space of 40 years, George Lucas built a Hollywood empire through the nine episodes of the saga — four of which he directed himself. With his company Lucasfilm and its many subsidiaries, acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2012, George Lucas touched on everything. His unflagging passion for technology made him one of the pioneers of the visual effects industry: he founded Industrial Light & Magic and helped develop many new visual technologies, including the computer-assisted camera. In sound, he contributed to the evolution of stereo through his company THX. He also founded the famous animation studio Pixar. Moreover, George Lucas is an outstanding producer: in addition to the three Star Wars trilogies, he is associated with the development of mythical films by other directors, from Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha to the Indiana Jones saga, which he created.

The Honorary Palme d’or will be presented to him on stage at the Grand Théâtre Lumière during the Closing Ceremony on Saturday May 25, 2024.

The Festival de Cannes is delighted to pay tribute to one of the greatest figures of contemporary cinema, a man with an extraordinary career, who brings together great entertainment and innovation, mythology and modernity and cinephilia and technology.

The Closing Ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes will be broadcast live on France Télévisions and Brut. on Saturday, May 25. Camille Cottin will serve as Master of Ceremony.

Antonis Tsagronis
Antonis Tsagronis
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