DEAUVILLE, France — Saying he likes to think of Miramax as “a bridge between American and European cinema,” Harvey Weinstein accepted the acclaim of the Festival of American Film here, on behalf of himself and his brother, Bob.
The fest saluted the Miramax co-founders Tuesday night for their impact as producers, distributors and all-around champions of American indie and European filmmaking.
Juliette Binoche made the trip to congratulate the duo. As Weinstein thanked his loyal employees in “the Miramax family” and to friends and biz associates in France, a phalanx of photographers continued to snap 10 photos of Binoche for every shot of Weinstein. “Hey,” he joked, “It’s great to come to your own thing and bring Juliette Binoche — I’ll just get out of the way, guys.”
Of course, Miramax has no intention of “getting out of the way” anytime soon. “I read an interview that said that sometimes people think the team from Miramax are ‘killers,’ ” Weinstein told the capacity crowd of 1,500 at a screening of John Dahl’s “Rounders,” which the company is distribbing.
“I think that if you live in America — which I still think is cowboy country — and you try to release movies like ‘Farewell My Concubine’ or the kind of films that we do when the TV and the journalists are more concerned about stars than they are cinema, you have to be a killer.
“I’m getting older now, and I’m not as good of a killer as I used to be, because every day my two little daughters are killing me, but I think you have to fight for what you believe.”
Binoche also paid tribute to the men and their company. “I’d known Harvey via several projects, starting with ‘Blue’ and then ‘The Horseman on the Roof,’ ” she told the crowd. “But when we were lower than low without the money we needed to continue making ‘The English Patient,’ Harvey was there for us, the only producer with the guts to support us when we were desperate.”
Weinstein said, “It’s taken me seven years, but after seven years, finally ‘Les Amants du Pont-Neuf’ will be commercially released in the U.S.” Tyro auteur Leos Carax’s pic, released in 1991 after several setbacks made it the most expensive French movie of its day, stars Binoche as an artist with failing vision who chooses to be homeless in the company of an acrobatic free spirit, played by Denis Lavant.