The Father Director Florian Zeller Receives Frances Legion of Honor

Florian Zeller, the Oscar-winning director and playwright of “The Father” and “The Son,” received the Medal of Honor, France’s highest decoration, at an intimate ceremony in Paris on Wednesday.

The event, hosted in the gardens of the French authors and composers guild (SACD), gathered a flurry of talent and luminaries from the worlds of film, TV, theater and literature — reflecting the breadth of Zeller’s body of work. Zeller was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honor by France President Emmanuel Macron.

Guests included Isabelle Huppert, Pierre Arditi, Catherine Frot and Elodie Navarre who have starred in Zeller’s plays; Christopher Hampton, with whom he shares a best adapted screenplay Oscar for “The Father;” “Simone” actor Elsa Zylberstein; Mediawan boss Pierre-Antoine Capton, with whom he launched the L.A.-based company Blue Morning Pictures; Victoria Bedos (“La famille Belier”); Orange Studio’s Kristina Zimmermann and Sebastien Cauchon, who distributed both “The Father” and “The Son” in France; French singer Julien Clerc; French director Anne Fontaine and producer Philippe Carcassonne; as well as Zeller’s wife, Marine Delterme, an actor who was recently signed by WME.

Zeller was introduced on stage by Arditi, who starred in some of Zeller’s most popular plays, including “The Truth.”

“My path is an addition of successive passions,” said Zeller, whose plays have been staged in 45 countries, more than any other playwright.

“When I begun to write novels, I didn’t imagine for a second that one day, theater would take up so much room, and when I started writing plays I didn’t anticipate that cinema would fill my heart so much, and now I dedicate my time to it, while taking pleasure in imagining that perhaps in 10 years I will be doing something else,” continued Zeller, who was elegantly dressed in a navy suit by Emmanuel Zegna.

Zeller also paid tribute to his father who gave him “the taste of elsewhere, of America,” and his mother, a “marvelous editor” who “inspired” him. “She illuminated my childhood and adolescence with her talent for recounting stories and tales. Many times I have done things while hoping it would make her proud,” said Zeller, who also thanked his wife Marine for embarking with him on a new life in L.A. with their two sons.

Zeller, whose latest film “The Son” starring Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern premiered at Venice, will next serve on the international jury of the Jerusalem Film Festival alongside Claire Denis, Whit Stillman, Joana Vincent and Maria Schrader. Zeller earned a whooping six Oscar nominations with his directorial feature debut “The Father,” earning Anthony Hopkins a best actor award.

Illustrious recipients of France’s legion of honor includes Robert Redford, Miles Davis, David Lynch, Charlie Chaplin, Toni Morrison and Josephine Baker.

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