Yvan Attal directs and stars in The Accusation, premiering at the Deauville Film Festival with a cast including his wife Charlotte Gainsbourg and son Ben Attal Photo: Gaumont
Now though the transatlantic bias has been tempered with an increasing French connection. It started in earnest last year when Deauville teamed with the cancelled physical edition of the Cannes Film Festival to showcase various Gallic titles on the big screen including Maiwenn’s DNA and Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s A Good Man as well as other films that were part of the Cannes official selection.
The link continues this year presided over by not only Deauville’s artistic director Bruno Barde but also in the watchful presence of Cannes supremo Thierry Frémaux.
Bruno Barde, Deauville director: Creating 'symbolic dialogue between French and American perspectives'. Photo: Deauville Film Festival
In 2015 it was renamed the D’Ornano-Valenti Award as an added tribute to the late Jack Valenti, one of the Franco-American Cultural Fund’s founding members representing the MPA (Motion Picture Association).The prize which rewards a first French film to boost its recognition, promotion and exportation, is awarded by a jury of English-language journalists among them Lisa Nesselson, a Paris-based correspondent of various film publications as well as TV channel France 24. This year’s winner has yet to be announced.
The French flourish includes a new film Love Is Better Than Life (L’Amour, C’est Mieux Que La Vie!) from Claude Lelouch who famously and indelibly put Deauville on the cinematic map with his Sixties love story A Man And A Woman, which boasts a stellar cast of Sandrine Bonnaire, Gérard Darmon, Elsa Zylberstein and Béatrice Dalle. The closing film on 11 September is The Accusation (Les Choses Humaines), directed by Yvan Attal, who is married to jury president Charlotte Gainsbourg. Gainsbourg takes the lead role of a radical feminist while her son Ben (Attal) plays a model son against whom a rape accusation is filed, resulting in a family crisis. Other titles in the mix include Christophe Honoré’s Guermantes with Laurent Lafitte about a troupe of actors whose stage show suddenly is cancelled but they decide to plough on regardless; Frabrice du Welz’s Inexorable with Benoît Poelvoorde and Mélanie Doutey; Arnaud Malherbe’s Ogre with Ana Girardot and Cécile Ducrocq’s A Woman of the World (Un femme du mode) featuring Call My Agent’s Laure Calamy.
Ana Girardot in Arnaud Malherbe’s Ogre Photo: UniFrance