Each year a sleepy holiday town in Northern France transforms into the destination for some of America’s most popular movie stars. The 36th American Film Festival in Deauville gets underway on Friday with a tribute to film star Annette Bening.
It may not have the prestige of Venice or the glamour of Cannes but the small town of Deauville is the “it” place to be for many of America’s biggest movie stars. Oscar legend Annette Bening, director Terry Gilliam and heart throb Zac Efron are among those attending the 36th Annual Deauville American Film Festival that opens on Friday.
This is an unusual festival considering how many big stars make their way to this small town. Unlike film festivals in Cannes, Venice or Toronto where the public is kept back behind the velvet rope lines, the Deauville public is invited to attend the screenings at the town’s three viewing facilities right along with the Hollywood elite.
Organisers have added a twist to this year’s event by expanding the festival from the big screen to, well, the small screen to include television as well. “Deauville: Season 1” will run during the opening weekend and feature screenings of popular TV shows including Modern Family, House and the HBO mini-series about post-Katrina New Orleans, Treme.
The stars, though, do not come all this way to the shores of Normandy to watch television. Instead, Deauville is a celebration of American film. In fact, it is the only festival of its kind outside of the United States that devotes itself exclusively to American film. This year, over 100 films will be shown in competition including 18 premieres. Special tributes will also be paid to both Bening and Gilliam, including screenings of their latest projects.
Gilliam is known to many as the lone American member of the British comedy troupe Monty Python. Movie fans, though, know him better for films such as Time Bandits (1981), The Fisher King (1991) and the 1985 classic Brazil for which the Director’s Cut will be screened for the first time this year in Deauville.
Bening’s current movie The Kids are All Right will be screened out of competition in Deauville. She will also receive a special tribute for her award-winning career that spans over two decades. Her upcoming release, Mother and Child, (trailer below) will hit cinemas on September 15.
The festival runs until September 12 when it will award its grand prize winner.