Xavier Dolan Pays Emotional Tribute To The Late Gaspard Ulliel During César Awards

The César Awards ceremony held tonight in Paris included a poignant tribute by Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan to late actor Gaspard Ulliel who died in January at age 37 following a skiing accident.

Ulliel, a star of Marvel’s upcoming Moon Knight series, previously won the Best Actor César for 2016’s It’s Only The End Of The World which Dolan directed and wrote.

In a 10-minute speech, a very emotional Dolan spoke in the form of a letter to Ulliel’s mother as a hush fell throughout the Olympia concert hall where the ceremony was taking place.

Here is an abridged translation:

“I wanted to pay homage to my friend, our friend, Gaspard. I decided to do it in the form of a letter.

Madame,

I’m writing this letter to you without knowing you well.

Outside, behind the window of my room in the woods where I have sought refuge, the snow twirls in the air. It is transfigured by the light of the sun, and the wind persists in beating it into loose snow. Big conifers rise in front of me, covered with a very heavy white deposit. Winter is calm, all of a sudden, after a brutal start.

I knew that in coming here to seek out isolation I was going to start thinking and writing about Gaspard. And other than for an article, an interview or a prize, believe me that I had no intention to do so.

The day he died, I sought out his company by rewatching a number of his films, including A Very Long Engagement…Perhaps I intentionally decided that this film would confirm things that we refuse to see, that I still refuse tonight, for example, to see, to believe.

But I didn’t come here to speak about the career of Gaspard Ulliel — I could recount the list of brilliant exploits and feats, of starry passages among the stars of the Riviera, of the industry. But what effect could these things have on the gaping wound of his departure?

I couldn’t help but think he would have hated this kind of elegy. He would have perceived a lack of elegance in this glorification. And he was very elegant…His talent we still have and that, no can take away.

It is the privilege of being famous and an actor of his light to be able to count on art to fade us into eternity while other important bereavements for some remain unknown to all or become so quickly evanescent.

It’s a whole world that cried for Gaspard, it’s a whole world that still mourns him.

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