The Lumiere 2009 Grand Lyon Film Festival is underway in Lyon, France. The city is proud of being the birthplace of cinema, which was invented in 1895 by a pair of brothers; Auguste and Louis Lumiere. Until now however, Lyon has not run a film festival, so the stars of French cinema came out in force for the opening of this one.
The first film ever made was a short clip of some local workers coming out of the factory gates and this was shown, along with other films from the era. Says Thierry Frémaux, the director of the festival: “We are lucky in Lyon that we can launch this festival of the history of cinema by showing the very first films ever made. And of course we had to do it on the first night of the festival. We could only do it then, and you know the effect it had on the film-makers who were there, and the actors… the same effect happened with the general public… there were 5,000 people there and suddenly the film-makers weren’t film-makers any more; watching these old films, they just went back in time and became an audience of 1895.” Film director Christian Mungiu said: It was a great opening. I think it was the first time it wasn’t boring at all. I’ve been to a lot of festivals and I think at this one, they are really trying to do something special.” Italian director Paolo Sorrentino said: “I have never seen anything like it anywhere else. It was something quite new and really great. It was really a proof of love for the cinema, very beautiful!” Film director Marjane Kusturica said: “It’s a fantastic festival, to watch and re-watch all these films which are part of the heritage of film, with no competition, it’s a real gift.” Film director Emir Kusturica said: “Each discussion that I had with Thierry (Frémaux) was always about the same thing : how to maintain the mythical dimension of authors [film writer-directors] today? And this is what he’s doing in fact. He brings the team of Sergio Leone – who was one of my idols when I was a student and afterwards, and now too – and he brings us back the view of one of the greatest author of all time, and this is very important.” The festival spotlights Sergio Leone, Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood. Says Thierry Frémaux: “The prize which we are awarding is a lifetime achievement award… but as part of the historical nature of the festival, it is a prize which rewards a film-maker whose work often references the roots of cinema. Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarentino do the same of course, but Clint Eastwood is less well-known in this regard – but he often makes nods to previous film-makers and it was he who suggested we spotlight the work of Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.” Clint Eastwood is expected to pick up this latest prize in person. For more information see