Cannes Warmly Welcomes Woody Allen

The Associated Press reported that as director Woody Allen made his way up the famed red-carpeted steps at the Cannes International Film Festival in France on Wednesday for the very first time in his career, he expressed how he felt:

“I’m suppressing panic…[but] I’ve already rented the tuxedo, so there’s no backing out.”

Even though Allen may have been displaying his well-known neurosis, people in the crowd at the opening of the world’s biggest film festival were more than elated to be welcoming a director they admire so very much.

Allen has long been considered one of the greatest directors of all time in Europe and especially France, but the usually reclusive director has never attended the famed festival, despite being asked several times.

This year, he decided it was time.

“The French have been so supportive and so affectionate to me,” Allen told reporters. “I felt that, after so many years, I wanted to give some gratitude to the French people. I wanted to say yes–once.”

“I’m in the clouds,” Gilles Jacob, the festival president, told AP. He confessed he’d been asking Allen to come for 25 years.

Allen‘s newest comedy, Hollywood Ending, will be shown out of competition and seems fitting for the director’s grand appearance because the film jokes about how Allen is better received in France than in the United States.

His attendance at Cannes comes on the heels of his other rare appearance at the Academy Awards show this past March. But don’t think this is a new and improved Allen who has finally come out of his self-imposed isolation.

“I know it looks like I’ve had some kind of religious conversion, but I’ll be back in the house in a few hours,” he joked.