The American Film Festival unveils the list of 13 feature films in competition. Western, porn stars, truffles, haunted dreams and rowing races will be on the program from September 3-12.
The honeymoon between the Croisette and the boards continues. Last year, the Norman event had screened, out of competition, several of the French feature films that the Cannes Film Festival had spotted but could not present, due to lack of editing. The good pick continues. The Deauville American Film Festival unveiled on Monday the list of 13 films to be decided by Charlotte Gainsbourg and her jury. “A list crossed by laughter, fear, violence, voyeurism, self-quest, sensuality, and sometimes noble feelings, all reflecting the genre and the emotions of today ”, promise the organizers. The 2021 vintage turns out to be less equal between directors. The share of first films is also on the decline.
In May, the director of the Deauville Festival Bruno Barde confided to the Point that the selection process had been delicate, having received many “Less films than usual”. “Revealing is a pointless pride, accompanying is the humility that befits the servants of the cinema. For 25 years, we have hoped to be one of them by transmitting our enthusiasm for the best of American cinema ”, explains Bruno Barde in his introductory note. Among these thirteen lucky winners, moviegoers will recognize two feature films from across the Atlantic that marked the spirits last May at the Cannes Film Festival.
In the running in the parallel section Un Certain Regard, Blue bayou by Justin Chon (Kristen Stewart’s ex-classmate in Twilight). This nervous, raw melodrama, which attacks the injustices of the immigration system, follows the descent into hell of a tattoo artist of Korean origin. Because his adoptive parents did not bother to update his papers, he is arrested and threatened with deportation from the United States while his partner (Alicia Vikander) is pregnant.
Claiming the palm of gold, Red rocket by Sean Baker chronicles the quest of an ex-pornstar who returns to his hometown for a fresh start. Simon Rex who lends him his features had impressed the critics with his incarnation of a magnificent loser.
The porn industry is the subject of the very explicit Pleasure by Ninja Thyberg: A 19-year-old girl leaves her small Swedish village for Los Angeles in the hope of becoming a porn star but the road to success is strewn with pitfalls. The Scandinavian director adapts her short film awarded at Cannes in 2013. Pleasure was one of the films that received the Cannes 2020 label and should therefore have been presented on the Croisette if the coronavirus pandemic had not led to the cancellation of this edition. This is also the case with John And The Hole by Pascual Sisto. In this psychological thriller unveiled at Sundance, a teenager holds his family prisoner in a hole dug in the garden. Screened at Sundance, this in camera brings together Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice).
Ghosts and aliens
Also presented at Sundance, but in 2020, The prey of a shadow by David Bruckner leaves for a more fantastic register. Widowed, Beth (Rebecca Hall) takes refuge in the shed by a lake that her husband had built for her. There she is the prey of disturbing ghostly dreams and visions. We Are Living Things by Antonio Tibaldi features two illegal Chinese and Mexican migrants, Chuyao and Solomon, who embark on a road trip to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of Solomon’s mother whom they attribute to an extraterrestrial kidnapping.
The Last Son by Tim Sutton will present a western in which an outlaw is the victim of a curse worthy of ancient tragedies. He will be murdered by one of his children. To ward off his dire fate, he goes in search of his offspring, who bear the same birthmark as him. StarAvatar, Sam Worthington embodies this outrageous patriarch roaming the Sierra Nevada at the end of the 19th century and tracked by formidable bounty hunters.
The return of Nicolas Cage
The competition will also welcome a returning Hollywood with Pig by Michael Sarnoski who for many American critics marks the rebirth of Nicolas Cage. The actor is unrecognizable as a recluse chief, in search of his truffle-digging pig kidnapped by mysterious assailants.
In the social and naturalistic vein that Deauville figures like Down With The King by Diego Ongaro in which a rapper goes green to find his creativity with a farmer. Catch the Fair One by Josef Kubota Wladyka (Narcos) portrays a boxer who goes to the rescue of her missing sister, a victim of traffickers. Praised at the Tribeca festival, this thriller rests on the shoulders of the real boxer, Kali “KO” Reis, the first champion of Native American origin. The Novice by Lauren Hadaway is interested in the grueling training of a student who joins the rowing team at her university. This criticism of performance at all costs will necessarily reason at the time of the confidences of athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka on the ravages of sporting pressure. In a lighter register, Potato Dreams of America is a semi-autobiographical dark comedy by Wes Hurley about the efforts of a Russian kid and his mother to find asylum in the United States just after the fall of the USSR. We Burn Like This Alana Waksman follows a descendant of Holocaust survivors threatened by neo-Nazis in Montana.
A mysterious surprise movie
Outside the competition, it will also be possible to relive the excitement of film lovers in Cannes and even Venice. Spectators will be able to see a preview in Deauville Stillwater by Tom McCarthy with Matt Damon as a desperate father and Camille Cottin, Flag Day which marked the return to the Côte d’Azur of director Sean Penn. Just presented at the Mostra will land The Card Counter by Paul Schrader, an intense film noir about redemption starring Oscar Isaac. In City of Lies by Brad Furman, Johnny Depp plays the police inspector who investigated the murder of rapper The Notorious BIG in the 90s. Deauville also promises a “Eagerly awaited surprise film that will satisfy lovers of cinema and science fiction”.
The most playful already peel the program of Venice and dream of a coming on the boards of the medieval Last duel from Ridley Scott or even from Dune by Denis Villeneuve. Deauville could also choose to put in majesty The Green Knight, fantastic reinterpretation of the myth of Gauvain, knight of the round table. Its director David Lowery left Deauville with all the honors in 2017 for his story of ghost and mourning A Ghost Story.