The French beach resort of Deauville is all dressed up for its annual film festival dedicated entirely to American cinema.
This 40th edition has drawn its share of actors, film makers and producers, both from Hollywood and the more independent movie-making scene.
According to the director of the festival, Bruno Barde, the goal here is to show the diversity of American cinema: “There are big studio films, there’s an official competition, there are independent movies as well as documentaries – in Deauville, you have all of American cinema,” he said.
“We’re here to judge independent movies, films that take risks. But often, when they meet success at Sundance or other independent film festivals, directors are taken over by Hollywood and become more technical, they start “manufacturing” movies,” said French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a member of the jury.
British actress Helen Mirren was there to present her latest movie. “These kinds of festivals are so important for the continuation of independent film, and not necessarily just for commercial reasons,” Mirren told euronews. “Of course, we all want movies to make money, we all want them to have an audience, but you know there is making money and there is making money.”
Based on the bestseller of the same name, 'The Hundred-Food Journey' by Lasse Hallström tells the story of a Michelin-starred French restaurant owner, played by Mirren, who enters into a cold war with her new Indian neighbours, before eventually teaming up with them.
Euronews met award-winning director Costa Gavras, the president of this year’s jury. He said the aim is to go beyond the clichés that usually identify American cinema: “You know, people often talk about American cinema, about Hollywood and the blockbusters etc., but that is outstanding cinema,” he said.
“From the very start, Hollywood has created films that have entertained us, films we love, which play a role in our everyday lives, so it’s important to follow what’s going on there, and to glorify it when needed.”
US actress Jessica Chastain was the darling of Deauville on opening night, accepting a career honour from incoming Cannes president Pierre Lescure. Over the span of her short career, the young actress has already won several awards and an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her lead role in Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial military thriller ‘Zero Dark Thirty’.
In the movie, she plays CIA agent Maya Lambert, the woman who eventually finds the location of al-Qaeda leader Ossama ben Laden after a ten-year search.
Following an age-old tradition, the actress unveiled her very own dedicated beach locker room on Deauville´s Promenade des Planches, to the delight of her fans.
With her name on the Promenade, Jessica Chastain follows in the footsteps of other big names in the world of American cinema, including James Cameron, John McTiernan, Abel Ferrara, Frank Miller, and Will Ferrell. Find out next week in Le Mag-Cinema the names of the winners of this 40th edition of the American Film Festival in Deauville.