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Editorial 2003
The 29th Annual Deauville American Film Festival

When Jason Biggs (American Pie 1, 2 & 3) is hailed as a major new star you know that his career is possibly headed the same way as Jerry Lewis. When a major festival decides to show American Pie Three (The Wedding) and Legally Blonde 2 as part of its programme, you know that things are a lot more desperate than you think. The French aren’t popular in America right now, so they have made an extra effort this year to bring out the ‘stars’. Notably Harrison Ford was very much in attendance, not only to promote his desperately unfunny Hollywood Homicide, but there also to give Roman Polanski his Oscar ™ without fear of arrest. Polanski, fresh from the deserved success of his ‘The Pianist’, is leading the judges at this year’s festival.

Deauville is an extrordinary place. Situated on the Normandy coast, the town is already shuttered for winter and there was no late ‘Indian’ summer for us this year, so the beach remained unused. The hotels were absolutely full, the restaurants busy, and Trouville looked very active as well, situated alongside the Deauville, where they were also hosting a short film festival and an exhibition of Jacques-Henri Lartique photographs (Not open Sunday. Monday or even Tuesday as far as we could work out.) Deauville is very beautiful and clean. The Sunday market is good and the town really comes alive when the market is active. A wider choice of local foods, hot and cold as well as meats and cheeses can be found at the Trouville market on the same day alongside the harbour; well worth the short walk.

Jessica Lange, James Ivory, Sir Ridley Scott
AVANT-PREMIÈRES Hollywood Homicide, The In-Laws, American Wedding Anything Else, Confidence, Le Divorce, Down With Love, Finding Nemo, Identity The Italian Job, Legally Blonde 2 : Red, White & Blonde, Matchstick Men, Normal, Rugrats Go Wild !, Seabiscuit
American Splendor, Assassination Tango, The Cooler Dot, The I Milwaukee, Minnesota Northfolk, Thirteen, United States of Leland, What Alice Found, Courts-métrages : A Ninja Pays Half My Rent, Firepussy, Four Simples Rules Neo-noir Parallel Passage What are you having ?
Alien Director's Cut, Evenhand, Ghost Of The Abyss, Interview With the Assassin, Levity, Off The Map, Poolhall Junkies, Tiptoes Zero Day
The Agronomist, Capturing The Friedmans, Easy Riders- Raging Bulls, The Fog Of War, Persona Non Grata, Standing In The Shadow Of Motown, The Weather Underground, Prix Michel D'Ornano : Depuis Qu'Otar est parti Bio : Julie Bertuccelli Prix Littéraire : Rien Ne Vas Plus
( Douglas Kennedy )

The Jury:
Claudia Cardinale ( actrice ) Nastassja Kinski ( actrice )
Ludivine Sagnier ( actrice )
Sir Ben Kingsley ( acteur )
Fernando Trueba ( réalisateur )
Tom Tykwer (réalisateur )
Zbigniew Preisner (compositeur ) Pawel Edelman (directeur photo) Jacques Fieschi ( scénariste )

Sir Ben Kinglsey and James Ivory
This year’s festival was celebrating Ridley Scott, James Ivory and Jessica Lange. Both directors have new work out (Matchstick Men and 'le divorce'). James Ivory brought along a few icons of his own to impress the locals. Leslie Caron is in his new film ‘le divorce’ and she wears a lot better than Harrison Ford, who looked morose in front of the massed press and TV cameras. ‘Le Divorce’ was shown to a sell-out audience with a nice little speech by Sir Ben Kingsley and lots of photocalls for the cast. (Nathalie Richard, Jean-Marc Barr, Romain Duris, Samuel Labarthe, Thierry Lhermitte.) Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts stayed away, no doubt already aware of how trite and unfunny this complex little bourgeois film is. Why is this film popular? Do we think it is sophisticated? What the hell happened to Mathew Modine’s career that he ends up the crazy guy in this mess.
See Review of Le Divorce

Having sat through Johnathan Demme’s ‘home movie’ (the director in attendance) - a little documentary called ‘The Agronomist ‘about the democratic movement in Haiti and then the largely unfunny Woody Allen movie ‘Anything Else’ starring the aforementioned Jason Biggs, one quickly develops ‘festival numbness’. We had no desire to see ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’ by James Cameron, milking Titanic again, or even ‘Seabiscuit’, despite Tobey Maguire wandering around the town hoping someone would recognise him. John Cusak was on hand to promote ‘Identity’ with Amanda Peet at his side, but is this the best Hollywood can offer this year? Identity was sort of fun but ‘Confidence’ was a better movie. I note Ed Burns was also in town to promote this. Does there even need to be an American Film Festival that just shows blockbusters? Cusak looked bewildered, Calista Flockart stayed in the shadows and the cocky Jack Valenti was there to make sure we only get a diet of complete drivel on our screens; but where are the indie films? Thirteen could be an 'indie' film I guess but Finding Nemo? This is very much a celebration of the status-quo and that is sad. Particularly pathetic was James Ivory going to some length in his speech to deny he was English but actually an American. Could have fooled me Jim.

The Fishwife of Trouville © Sam North '03

It you plan to go there for next year beware, the Euro has made Deauville and the surrounds fantastically expensive. You need to be a lawyer or movie exec to afford it.
If you want to stay where the stars stay, then The Hotel Royale-Barriere will cater to you from around 700 Euros a night. It’s big, it’s like Vegas with taste. If you want a place to hang out in, locate Bar Cubain, you never know who might be there....
Where did we stay? The dreaded Hotel Ibis on the Deaville harbour which at 136 Euros a night is quite enough thank you for a penniless web magazine.
A day pass to see the films costs 40 Euros or 140 Euros for the whole thing.
Note: You have to queue at least an hour before the film starts to get in CID, but the screen can take at least a 1000 so there is space. To find out more about his years festival which ends this weekend go to

© Sam North September 11th 2003

Previous Editorials:

August: Deathrate 2003 and Being Your Age
August: Summer Movies -London heat
July: London Art Fair
July: Readjusting
June : Saying Goodbye
Returning to Blighty

May: Dystopia
Art and the Matrix
Blossom Time
Forget your troubles
- April
Oscars -March
Oscars have a message

Waiting for War February
Winning the Peace
The Munster House
Renting in Kits

Winter Escape to the UK
Hacks takes a break

What will you seeing at the movies? November
'The city where everyone gets to live a millionaire lifestyle'
It’s SECTION 9 in the N.Y. Sunday Times
A cornucopia - October
The Kids stay in the picture- August
Hacks visits the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma- August
Hot Sweats in a Cold Read at the Anza Club- August
LIFE ON FAST FORWARD - Vancouver on speed -September
SweetSista'Shorts Carousel Theatre- Granville Island - Off Fringe
Arts in the Community is for real -
Time to enrol
Vancouver Film Festival Trade Show report

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