Movie Director John Bailey Receives Medal at Cannes Film Festival

By David Vives

The spotlight shone on American movie director John Bailey at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Bailey received the medal of Order of Arts and Letters at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19.

The Order of Arts and Letters is a highly distinguished award that recognizes contributions to France’s arts and literature. Jim Jarmusch and Michael Keaton were previous recipients of this honor.

The 76-year-old movie director is also president of the organization that bestows the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He evokes various sources of inspiration in his work, which have had a decisive impact on his career—especially French Nouvelle Vague filmmakers such as François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godart.

During the Sixties’ new wave, young French cinematographers created new codes in filming and storytelling that would make cinema an art in its own right rather than a novel support, as it was before.

Bailey said he felt “overwhelmed” when Serge Toubiana, Director of the Cinémathèque Française, pinned the medal on him. Bailey was also gifted an original poster of the film “La peau douce” (The Soft Skin) by Francois Truffaut.

Before he became a veteran film director, Bailey had an 11-year-long career as director of photography. In that role, he apprenticed as crew with filmmakers such as Vilmos Zsigmond and Néstor Almendros.