Striding out on Deauville’s red carpet: Charlotte Gainsbourg, centre in the little black dress, as jury president and her fellow jurors at last night’s opening ceremony Photo: Richard Mowe
Neither McCarthy nor star Matt Damon nor, indeed, French co-star Camille Cottin (from Netflix’s Call My Agent) managed to put in an appearance so it was left to “star” turns by the mayor of the Normandy resort Philippe Augier as well as Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival with whom the Deauville event now has an ongoing and fruitful relationship. Stillwater, presented out of competition on the Croisette in July, is part of the twinning which also embraces a string of new French titles as well.
Charlotte Gainsbourg, jury president at last night’s Deauville opening: 'I have many childhood memories of Deauville, and it has to be said that my father relished the bar of the Normandy hotel' Photo: Richard Mowe
Hesbert said: “She is amazing in the film. Dylan is a playing a very daring role, a daughter facing a tough relationship with her father and being directed by her real father as well as playing opposite him.”
As for Deauville’s new French connection, Hesbert addedthat the organisers wanted “to strengthen the cultural bridge that exists between France and America”.
On last night’s red carpet flurry was Charlotte Gainsbourg, president of the jury for the films in competition, surrounded by her fellow jurors. She claimed to be rather overawed by presidential duties and said that she would be opting for “team work.” After a lengthy sojourn in New York, the pandemic brought Gainsbourg back to Paris with her two daughters. Her husband Yvan Attal and their son had remained behind. “The pandemic and the then Trump administration horrified me. I was obsessed with watching the news and it was terrifying. I no longer recognised the America that had welcomed me six years earlier,” she said.
Director Oliver Stone will have a beach cabin in his name - a Deauville tradition for visitors past and present Photo: Richard Mowe
She is looking forward next week to presenting her own film about her mother Jane Birkin, Jane by Charlotte - especially as she has a special affection for the area where her mother has a house featured in the film. “I have many childhood memories of Deauville, and it has to be said that my father relished the bar of the Normandy hotel,” she revealed in one local newspaper. This year marks the 30th anniversary of his death prompting Charlotte to reflect that in our current politically correct climate may be there would not be a place for his tempestuous rock ’n’ roll antics.
Festival director Bruno Barde said they had been wooing Gainsbourg to be jury president for years and she followed in the wake of Vanessa Paradis last year. After last year’s precarious edition, which hung in the balance but finally took place, he faced this year’s prospect with more equanimity. “We went on the principle that it would happen. Because of Cannes taking place exceptionally in July we had only a few weeks to get it all together. Art and culture are the first line of resistance in these circumstances. The festival, after all the troubles, is a sign of rebirth and renewal.”
Barde insists that stars as well as unknowns are important to festivals and the public. “They make people dream … but nothing is as important as the film itself,” he said. Although protests by women’s groups have greeted Deauville’s biggest attraction Johnny Depp’s appearance at other film festivals including Karlovy Vary and San Sebastian the French seem more muted preferring to concentrate on his cinematic achievements rather than his stormy private life. Le Figaro daily carried a full page ad as recently as this week for the men’ fragrance Sauvage for which Depp continues as Dior’s ambassador in ads and commercials.
The loyal Deauville audiences have responded enthusiastically with packed screenings over this weekend. Meanwhile the Barrière group hotels (a Festival sponsor) are reporting 99 per cent capacity for the next few days. The international media, however, are conspicuously absent, preferring instead to seek out more professionally productive options in virtually concurrent events in Toronto, Venice and upcoming San Sebastian.