Dear Euzhan Palcy,

Your life as a filmmaker and artist was nourished by encounters
exceptional, those that give such a unique strength and taste to the
life, of those who create these “fundamental friendships”, which you bring to
the screen with an extraordinary Césaire/Senghor dialogue. Aimé
Caesarius, the great poet of the Cahier d'un retour au pays natal,
this “Voice for History” in your own words, to which the
Republic paid tribute a few weeks ago, gave you
the desire to bring black cultures to the screen. Other figures you have
awakened to the thousand facets of the world of cinema: François Truffaut, well
but also Ousmane Sembene, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles,
Hitchcock. They are the ones who made you the recognized and
distinguished by the greatest festivals – from the Venice Mostra to the
Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), without
forget the Orson Welles Award (1987) - the first black director to be
produced by a major Hollywood studio, the first director to have
directed the myth Marlon Brando in A White and Dry Season (1989),
impressed by your commitment and tenacity in the struggle
for civil rights.

While you are only 24 years old, your first film Rue Cases-Nègres
is successful, with seventeen international awards. You get
then the Silver Lion in Venice, the Caesar of the Best First Work
in 1984 and the Audience Award at FESPACO in 1985. In Martinique
years 30, you brush a powerful and realistic chronicle, in the
great tradition of period films, where the sacrifice of a grandmother meets
learning for the youngest.

«All hope is not too much to watch the
century in front», wrote Césaire in his presentation of the first issue
in 1941, which he founded with his wife Suzanne. Look at the
century in front, this is what led you to meet and film the
Nelson Mandela was a freedom and rights fighter in 1995.

Looking the world in the eye, that’s what you did in 2001 when
you filmed the mutiny of Attica prison and its repression (The
Killing yard). Looking back in the face, that’s what led you to
Parcours de dissidents, this rare documentary that lifts the veil on
a hidden part of history: the contribution of young West Indians to the
defence of France in the Second World War, alongside
forces of General de Gaulle. The film is also screened at various
opportunities, including in 2010, on the 70th anniversary of the call
June 18. In 2007, the TV film you made about the settlement of the island
of Reunion, The Brides of Bourbon Island, is part of this same
requirement: to bring to the screen the black story too long relegated in
forgetting, like this little black girl of 5 years facing barriers
discrimination in America in the 1960s (Ruby bridges, 1999),
Bessie Coleman, the first black American aviator.

All your films fit into this double dimension, to the point of
meeting between memory and the struggles of the present, at the meeting point
between the history of the black people and the struggle, always timely and ceaselessly
The European Union must take the necessary measures to combat discrimination and racial violence.

The special tribute paid to you today by the
Cannes, as well as the retrospective dedicated to WOAgri
of New York and Beijing at the end of the year reflect the admiration you
in many countries, they also reveal your influence
and your place in contemporary cinema, crowned by
many awards and many recognitions, marked by your
commitment to the transmission and training of young people
eyes but also the consciences of tomorrow, you who have been, in
2009, the sponsor of the 20 years of the operation «School, college, high school

You translate into your eyes the idea dear to Edouard Glissant of a
Creolization of the world that sweeps away “root identities” for the benefit of
“identities-relationships”, of a creolization that calls “encounter,
interference, shock, harmonies and disharmony between the
cultures”, in the words of the Treaty of the World
(1997). This idea is my own, through the commitment of the Ministry
Culture and Communication in the framework of the Year of the
2011, but also in the idea I carry of a cultural model
respectful of differences, guaranteeing the expression of all the
the age of digitalization and globalized entertainment. It is
why, dear Euzhan Palcy, I wanted tonight to pay tribute to you, to
express my deep admiration for your career. I also
to express my gratitude for your commitment to ensuring that the
cinema, this «mirror of the world», is also a tool to change the world.

“We are the ones who say no in the shade,” writes Césaire in
Tropics. Through your films and achievements, you shed light on the
world and its history.