Brillante Mendoza receives highest French honor for the arts [fr]
Director Brillante Mendoza was conferred the title Chevalier (Knight) in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) in a reception led by French Ambassador Gilles Garachon at his residence last January 23, 2014.
With cultural diplomacy at the forefront of France’s relations with the Philippines, it is but fitting for the country considered as the birthplace of cinema to honor one of today’s most prolific storytellers in film.
“Perhaps thanks to the digital revolution, a nouvelle vague (new wave) of Filipino filmmakers are coming out with beautiful movies about their country, sharing Philippine stories to the whole world through the silver screen. Brillante, or Dante to his friends, is obviously leading this new generation of talented directors,” said Ambassador Garachon in a speech.
His nomination came following the success of his films in the different sections of the Cannes Film Festival and notably, for being the first and only Filipino to receive the award of Best Director for his 2009 entry, Kinatay.
Mendoza first caught the attention of French movie-goers after the well-received commercial release of Foster Child in 2007. This success paved the way for Mendoza to co-produce 4 films with Swift Productions of France: Serbis (2008), Kinatay (2009), Lola (2009), and Captive (2012), which starred Isabelle Huppert, one of France’s most accomplished actresses.
In his acceptance speech, Mendoza expressed his gratitude for being conferred the recognition “from the country that gave us the earliest filmmakers in history, Auguste and Louis Lumière.”
“Although I was acknowledged in Europe in 2005 with my first feature, it was Cannes that gave me the major recognition as a filmmaker, which inspires me with the responsibility to pursue my advocacy and continue the task of filming the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations,” Mendoza explained.
Created in 1957, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is one of France’s highest awards established to recognize men and women, both French citizens and foreigners, for their significant achievements in the field of arts or literature or for their contribution to the promotion of French arts and literature in the world.
The Order has three grades: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), and Commandeur (Commander) as the highest honor.
Notable Filipino recipients include Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Chevalier, 1979; Napoleon Abueva, Chevalier, 1984; Arturo Luz, Officier, 1987; Rosalinda Orosa, Officier, 1993; F. Sionil Jose, Chevalier, 2001; Corazon Alvina, Chevalier, 2002; Allan Cosio, Chevalier, 2002; Lulu Tan-Gan, Chevalier, 2003; Tikoy Aguiluz, Chevalier, 2003; Lourdes Montinola, Officier, 2008 ; Ambeth Ocampo, Officier, 2008 ; Deanna Ongpin-Recto, Officier, 2008; Juvenal Sanso, Officier, 2008; and Augusto Villalon, Chevalier, 2012.
Also recognized for their contributions to the arts were Clint Eastwood, Chevalier, 1985; Bob Dylan, Commandeur, 1990; Sharon Stone, Chevalier, 1995; Meryl Streep, Officier, 2000; Uma Thurman, Commandeur, 2006; George Clooney, Chevalier, 2007; Leonardo DiCaprio, Chevalier, 2007; and Kylie Minogue, Chevalier, 2008.
Photos by Jude Bautista.