CANNES, France (Reuters) - Jean-Pierre Leaud, whose gaze into camera at the end of the 1959 movie "The 400 Blows" became a defining image of French New Wave cinema, will receive a lifetime achievement award at Cannes, the film festival's organizers said on Tuesday.
Leaud was an unknown 14-year-old when he played the troubled schoolboy Antoine Doinel in Francois Truffaut's first feature, a role he resprised in four other Truffaut films as he grew up.
Now 71, he will receive an honorary Palme d'Or on May 22 at the closing ceremony of the festival which opens on Wednesday. Previous recipients include Woody Allen (2002), Manoel de Oliveira (2008), Clint Eastwood (2009), Bernardo Bertolucci (2011) and Agnes Varda (2015).
Leaud, who stars as the French king in "La Mort de Louis XIV" (The Death of Louis XIV) which will be screened at Cannes, "made his first appearance on the Croisette (the festival's venue) in 1959 as an extrovert, unruly 14-year-old," the organizers said.
As well as his appearances as Antoine Doinel, Leaud made a great impact in Jean Eustache's "La Maman et la Putain" (The Mother and the Whore) in 1973 and Truffaut's "La Nuit Americaine" (Day for Night) the same year.
Editing by Robin Pomeroy