Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the ceremony of the remisedes inisgnes d'Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in FayeDunaway

Dear Faye Dunaway,

The first time you came to Cannes was to present the
Golden palm to Wim Wenders for his film Paris-Texas. Today, if you
are the face of the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival
a menacing beauty with endless legs and chiseled eyes
in jade, you embody, by your grace, your sophistication and your
character intelligence, a «cinema dream». I am
particularly pleased to pay tribute to an actress who knew
combining glamour and vulnerability, chic and neurotic finally, a
actress for whom, according to the happy formula of Rourke/Bukowski about
of Wanda in Barbet Schroeder’s Barfly, «goddess» can rhyme with
“distress”. Indeed, you are the actor of internal conflicts, of
all ambivalences.

Bonnie Parker is the character you say you are
felt the closest, didn’t it? A year after the release of Arthur’s film
Penn, Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot sang You have read
the story of Jesse James? How did he live, how did he die? That
you liked it, didn’t you? You’re asking for more. Well, listen to the story of
Bonnie and Clyde…” If the fates are different, if you don’t follow them
in the Barrow gang hell, it’s just the opposite..., you got the
feeling, like her, that one day you were the little girl from the south
would hold his revenge. So now let’s hear the story of an ascent
The story of Faye Dunaway.

After attending theatre classes at the American National Theater and
Academy, you are noticed by Lloyd Richards in Witches of
Salem» by Arthur Miller and recommended to Elia Kazan, then in search of
young talents for the Lincoln Center Repertory Company that had just been
created. It’s a role in “Hogan’s goat” that makes a name for you in the
middle of the show. In 1967 Sam Spiegel made you sign your first
Elliot Silverstein’s “The Happening” contract with Anthony Quinn
partner. Then you are hired by Otto Preminger to hold the
unexpected role of a young Southern farmer for the needs of «Hurry
Sundown”. Then the beautiful Faye makes her talent known to the world
to the rhythmic tac-tac-tac of machine guns in "Bonnie and Clyde," which
is worth a first Oscar nomination and an Italian Donatello.

Your career is launched, you work with the greatest actors
Hollywood, Kirk Douglas, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Robert
Redford, Paul Newman, Johnny Depp as you see a prince, a
Gérard Philippe among others, under the direction of
and continue to share with your characters a bad vulnerability
that enhances your radiance. We remember a former covergirl
in a desperate quest for one’s own identity in
«Portrait of a fallen woman», by Louise Pendrake the great love of
Dustin Hoffman in "Little big man" by a television producer
disturbing in «Network, hand on the television» in 1977,
Oscar in 1977 and the Golden Globe for best actress,
Not to mention the funny lady from Chinatown.

Then you retire to London eager to assert your freedom from
Hollywood productions, where however you brilliantly reconcile
the profession of actress and that of mother. «Barfly» in 1987 marks the return
smashing a Faye Dunaway transformed into an alcoholic mine and
hair down. In 1993 you decide to turn with young
filmmakers and film in «Arizona Dream» by Emir Kusturica, with his
procession of fantasies. You do not neglect the small screen where
you become the heroine of a sitcom "It Had to be You"; the series is
unfortunately cancelled after four episodes. Then you contact
actor Peter Falk who was waiting to find the ideal actress for
to play a role in his episode «Murder with two faces»,
performance for which you receive the Emmy Award for best
actress. In 2001, after thirty-three years spent in the
you become a producer and director of «Yellow Bird».

Your impressive filmography combines auteur cinema and
mainstream cinema; it helps to forge your personal mythology
halfway between the inaccessible star - like a Garbo or an Ava
Gardner - and the simplicity of a Jane Fonda. You thus embody a dream
American» rubbed to the flaws of humanity, a Gatsby [title of its
autobiography: Looking for Gastby, 1996] in feminine and beautiful
a bright star, rich in this brilliance which some say it
distinguish you.

Dear Faye Dunaway, I would like to greet in you an actress who
not afraid to strip themselves of the splendour of Hollywood glamour, of
the stereotypical image of untouchable beauties. Your
immense generosity led the platinum heroine you were to give
a greatness to personalities that carry an intimate flaw, a secret
preserved, a wound badly closed.

So, dear Faye Dunaway, on behalf of the French Republic, we
You are presented with the Officer’s insignia in the Order of Arts and Letters.