The 39th Deauville American Film Festival is over, but not before the traditional showering of gongs.
Amongst the winners, Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ picked up the festival’s Grand Prix. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning, it tells the story of three eco-activists who botch a bid to run a boat of explosives into a hydroelectric dam in the forests of Oregon. The film explores the tension between activism and idealism, and the difficult negotiation between the two.
The Jury Prix was shared between ‘All is Lost’ and Sam Fleischner’s ‘Stand Clear of the Closing Doors’. The latter centres on an autistic teenager and his underground odyssey through the New York subway.The former – affectionately referred to by some critics as ‘The Life of Pi’ without the tiger – is an almost dialogue-free narrative featuring Robert Redford as a sailor alone and in distress.
Whilst the award ceremony concluded the 10-day festival with typical panache, the 14 films in competition were not necessarily always its central attraction. As ever with Deauville, the festival’s charm lies primarily in the celebrities and Hollywood stars it attracts.
Among them, was the all-singing, all-dancing, Scientologist of the skies, John Travolta. Present to receive a lifetime tribute award, the ‘Grease’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’ star said he felt humbled to have a beach cabin the resort names after him – Deauville’s version of the Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame hand-prints: “I felt a devotion from the audience for many many years. It’s a very nice thing to have something be presented to you like this.”
When euronews asked him whether whether he was comfortable with the number of ‘bad guy’ roles he has played of late, Travolta was adamant: “I’m comfortable with good writing and good scripts. Whether the character’s good or not doesn’t really matter. More important is the quality of the communication. Is that good? And if it’s good, I’m happy.”
Along with the award, the festival screened Travolta’s forthcoming film – ‘Killing Season’ – in which he and Robert De Niro play two Balkan war veterans who meet again for one last personal battle.
Fans were also greeted to a surprise appearance from Tilda Swinton. She arrived unannounced to promote ‘Snowpiercer’, her new movie, in which she plays an unhinged despot.
Euronews asked her where she got her inspiration for the role, and the actress pointed to a potent mixture of politics and Chaplin: “I think there is a real tradition to see great, bombastic leaders as clowns. And sometimes they do actually play the clown a little. I mean, if you remember Gaddafi with all his pictures, all the medals that he used to pin on himself… he was a great inspiration. Also I was thinking of other filmmakers, such as Charlie Chaplin in ‘The Great Dictator’, taking bombastic leaders and turning them in some kind of plaything.”
Director Bong Joon-Ho’s latest work is about survivors of a frozen earth forced to ride a train in perpetual motion, and the social unrest that develops among its segregated passengers. It is set for European release at the end of October.