The 30th anniversary edition of theDeauville Festival of American Film has seen a troupe of Hollywood luminariespass through town over the past week - with the promise of more to come.
While the festival is sometimesconsidered a poor cousin to the simultaneous Venice and Toronto film festivals,Deauville founder Lionel Chouchan told ScreenDaily.com, "I really don'tcare what people say, we are distinct territories and there is no competitionbetween us."
The festival kicked off lastFriday with the world premiere screening of Claude Lelouch's Les Parisiens, thefirst installment of his trilogy Le Genre Humaine.
Over the first weekend,Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Matt Damon were in town to promote theirrespective films The Terminal and The Bourne Supremacy.
In this US election year,politics have been on many a mind. Illustrating the complex relationshipbetween France and the US, Dwight D. Eisenhower's granddaughter Susan receivedspecial recognition for the former president's efforts during the D- Daylandings while anti-Bush documentary Uncovered: The War In Iraq has alsobeen screened.
Indeed, any lingeringfeelings of Franco-American tension seem to have gone by the wayside withChouchan insisting, "I am fed up with the hypocrisy of the French and othercountries who spit on the Americans until the moment that they need them at afestival because no matter where, if a festival doesn't have big US stars,people say its lame."
French company Oval Eventshas even made an exact reconstruction of the Oval Office in the festival's mainvenue which can be visited for a Euros5 fee. So far, no one has vandalized thepredominant presidential photos.
Outgoing MPA chief andDeauville regular, Jack Valenti was also in town over the weekend. He leftbefore producer Christine Vachon - to whom the festival paid homage - publiclyrailed against the MPAA. She said, "The censorship of the MPAA is more and morestrict, I think this has something to do with our current administration whichpromotes the notion of family values."
Deauville is traditionally alaunch pad for big Hollywood films into Europe with premiere screenings ofPeter Howitt's The Laws Of Attraction and Michael Mann's Collateralamong others.
The ten year-old competition,which kicked off on Monday, has so far been received tepidly but things arelooking up for the end of the week. Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwickappeared for the screening of their star turns in The Woodsman, one ofthe best received films so far while festival favorite Maria Full Of Graceand Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind receivedrousing applause from packed houses.
This year five competitionfilms entered the festival without local distribution but news of any dealslooks more likely to come from Venice and Toronto rather than this seasideNormandy town.
On Thursday Lauren Bacallarrived in town as did Nicole Kidman to introduce Jonathan Glazer's Birth.
On Friday, Glenn Close willbe feted and on Saturday no less than Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas andSteven Soderbergh are expected.