France's Vincent Lindon wins Cannes's best actor award
Talented, gruff and a former squeeze of Monaco's Princess Caroline, French character actor Vincent Lindon scooped the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday for his leading role in a tough drama about unemployment.
Able to jump from touching everyman to rough hooligan, Lindon has rarely been seen abroad but will get international attention after winning the prize for his part in "The Measure of a Man".
He plays a laid-off factory worker desperately searching for a job, and eventually forced to take a position as a security guard that he hates.
"What's moving in the film is that it depicts people doing things they don't really want to do," Lindon told reporters after the screening last Monday.
"It depicts people in very precarious situations."
In an understated but powerful performance, he exhibits a quiet dignity as he struggles to keep his pride and provide for his family in the face of financial difficulty.
Accepting the award on Sunday night, a deeply moved and weeping Lindon said it was the first time he had won an acting award, and paid homage to his director Stephane Brize.
"I'm the ambassador of his dreams, his generosity, his professionalism," he said.
Having played in some 60 films ranging from broad comedies to social dramas, and working with the cream of French cinema, Lindon's victory at Cannes will be welcomed by fans since he has never taken home a Cesar -- the French equivalent of the Oscar's -- despite five nominations.
"I was attracted to this character for his dignity, his ability to roll with the punches, for his internal revolt," Lindon told AFP earlier this week.
"I liked him. I wanted to be him. The part really touched me."
Brize praised Lindon's performance as he headed up the red carpet for the award ceremony on Sunday evening.
"Something happens with Vincent that becomes the DNA of the film, that carries the film," said Brize.
Lindon had previously made more headlines for his off-screen affairs, particularly his five-year relationship with Princess Caroline of Monaco that made him a front-page celebrity in the 1990s.
Born on July 15, 1959 in northern France, Lindon comes from a family that is a far cry from the everyman characters he has often played. His father was a wealthy industrialist, and his uncle the founder of a renowned publishing house.
Lindon started off working behind-the-scenes on film sets and worked as a left-wing journalist for a time.
His first film role came in 1983 with "The Falcon" and he clocked up a number of acclaimed roles in the following years.
In France, he is known for films such as 1988's "The Student" with Sophie Marceau and 2009's "Mademoiselle Chambon", and has recently appeared in "The Diary of a Chambermaid" opposite young star Lea Seydoux.
He married actress Sandrine Kiberlain, with whom he had a daughter, in 1998. They divorced a decade later.
© 2015 AFP