Meryl Streep honored in emotional ceremony as Cannes opens

May 15, 2024 - 2:19 PM
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Meryl Streep poses on the red carpet during arrivals for the opening ceremony and the screening the film "Le deuxieme acte" (The Second Act) Out of competition at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 14, 2024. (Reuters/Yara Nardi)

The Cannes Film Festival officially kicked off on Tuesday night as celebrities walked the red carpet into the plush Grand Theatre Lumiere to honor Hollywood actor Meryl Streep before settling in to watch this year’s opening film, “The Second Act.”

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The French comedy’s cast, including Lea Seydoux and Vincent Lindon, were joined by actor Jane Fonda, model Heidi Klum and Messi, the dog star of 2023’s Palme d’Or winner “Anatomy Of a Fall,” as well as this year’s jury, headed by Greta Gerwig.

Ahead of the ceremony, French singer Zaho de Sagazan performed David Bowie’s “Modern Love” in the theatre aisles to honour Gerwig’s black-and-white dance scene in “Frances Ha.”

Gerwig sang along and seemed visibly touched by the performance as de Sagazan got on stage to kiss her hand.

The audience gave a minutes-long ovation for Streep when she took the stage in a simple white gown and black-frame glasses, welcomed by French actor Juliette Binoche in a red dress.

“You changed the way we look at women in the cinema world,” said Binoche, who tried to control her breathing as she cried during her speech. “And yet you are not self-serious, like me.”

Streep – whose long list of films includes “Death Becomes Her,” “Mamma Mia!” and “The Iron Lady” – listed people she wanted to thank.

“It’s like looking out the window of a bullet train,” she said of the montage that played of all her films.

“My mother, who was usually right about everything, said to me ‘Meryl, darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast.’ And it has. Except for my speech,” Streep told the audience.

—Reporting by Miranda Murray; editing by Jonathan Oatis