Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson won cheers at the Cannes film festival after the red-carpet premiere of a moving documentary on his turbulent life.
Tyson, dressed in an elegant dark grey suit with a white pocket handkerchief, mounted the stage last night after the screening at the world's biggest cinema showcase, flanked by director James Toback.
"Jim, he just elicited all this stuff out of me, I don't know how he did it," a visibly moved Tyson said as Toback fought back tears.
The retired fighter, who has put on weight in recent years, flew to the French Riviera from his suburban Las Vegas home with a major entourage for the premiere of Tyson, which combines more than 30 hours of interviews with highlights of his boxing career.
To back, best-known for his 1978 drama Fingers which was remade into a hit French movie in 2005, said before the screening that he believed he had succeeded in presenting Tyson as a "complex and iconic and noble human being".
Festival chief Thierry Fremaux, who introduced the picture, described Tyson as "a very special film that conveys the memory of a man and the memory of a sport."
The picture takes Tyson, who turns 42 next month, from his humble beginnings on the mean streets of Brooklyn to his phenomenal rise as a boxing champion, through his epic fall marked by addiction, humiliation in the ring and a rape conviction.
Told entirely from Tyson's point of view, the portrayal is flattering, showing the gentle giant with the high-pitched voice and a lisp taking the long view of his rocky past and extraordinary career.