03/03/2012 01:03 pm ET Updated May 02, 2012

Harvey Weinstein's Rendez-Vous With French Cinema Gets Political

It's a great year for Harvey Weinstein. The Weinstein Company co-chairman is the 2012 recipient of the Legion d' Honneur awarded by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy. The distinction was conferred last July but Weinstein wisely requested, according to a press release, "to keep the honor private to avoid a conflict of interest with Academy Award Best Picture winner The Artist."

Harvey Weinstein returned triumphant from his Hollywood sweep of awards for The Artist, just in time to introduce another French comedy, the un-Artist, The Intouchables, in color and with dialogue on opening night of the Rendez-Vous with French cinema. The Intouchables, a funny and touching film about a millionaire paralyzed from the neck down and his Senegalese caretaker, is the second highest grossing film in France.

Completing his introduction to a packed Alice Tully Hall, Weinstein shouted out to the French politician who deems The Intouchables a parable about crippled France rescued by immigrants, a hot topic in any country, politicized. Weinstein said he had two words for him, and they weren't "Happy Birthday."

Among the French filmmakers attending the Rendez-Vous screening were Intouchables star Francoise Cluzet, and directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache who offered with reference to The Artist's five Oscars, "It's a great year for French cinema."

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.