Jean-Pierre Léaud is to the French New Wave what Anna Magnani was to Italian Neorealism and what John Wayne was to American westerns: its spirit, its emblem, its avatar. The actor, who last year received the Cannes Film Festival’s Honorary Palme d’Or in recognition of a career spanning nearly 60 years, first broke through as François Truffaut’s on-screen surrogate Antoine Doinel in 1959’s The 400 Blows, and he won Best Actor at the 1966 Berlin Film Festival for Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin féminin. Since then he has worked with French masters Jacques Rivette, Jean Eustache, Philippe Garrel, Bertrand Bonello, and Olivier Assayas, and such key international filmmakers as Tsai Ming-liang, Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Aki Kaurismäki, Raúl Ruiz. On the occasion of the release of Albert Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV (NYFF54)—in which he delivers a magisterial, career-capping performance as the longest-reigning French monarch during his final days—the Film Society is proud to pay tribute to the prolific actor’s irresistible presence and undeniable legacy.

Organized by Florence Almozini and Dan Sullivan. Special thanks to Amelie Garin-Davet and Mathieu Fournet, Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Tomek Smolarski, Polish Cultural Institute NY; Camilla Cormanni and Marco Cicala, Luce Cinecittà; Philippe Garrel and Caroline Deruas; Luc Moullet; Royal Cinematheque of Belgium.