Ford defends ‘K-19’ at fete in Deauville

Burstyn, Dillon also receive tributes

DEAUVILLE — Deauville honoree Harrison Ford believes his submarine saga “K-19: The Widowmaker” will find a warmer welcome in coming international berths than it did on home turf.

“This is a very unconventional film for American cinema,” Ford said Wednesday at the American Film Festival here. “It’s not a cowboys-and-Indians, good guys/bad guys movie. It doesn’t depend on the usual devices of submarine movies.

“These are men fighting against an invisible and insidious enemy that is not represented by another nation. It’s rather more complex and perhaps slightly more difficult for an audience. I think this film may find an easier reception in Europe and in other parts of the world than it did in the summer of 2002 in the United States.”

“K19” director Kathryn Bigelow opined: “I think the film is extremely unique for an American audience. It celebrates Soviet courage, and I think that’s an emotion and sentiment that may take some time to embrace.”

As to his future plans, Ford said he’d love to do a fourth Indiana Jones adventure. “Steven Spielberg and myself have reserved time in 2004 to begin shooting.”

On Tuesday night, Ford received a standing ovation from a packed auditorium for his tribute before the gala showing of “K-19.”

Monday night, “The Exorcist” helmer William Friedkin was a surprise arrival to preface Ellen Burstyn’s tribute evening in conjunction with “Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.”

Smarting from Burstyn’s remarks in Peter Biskind’s 1998 bestseller “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” (just released in France) that a stunt harness on “The Exorcist” set left her with enduring back pain, Friedkin pointed to Burstyn on the red carpet and told closed-circuit TV viewers: “Look at her poise, her beauty, her erect posture. If that looks like damage to you, you let me know.”

On Wednesday, French thesp Elsa Zylberstein presented Matt Dillon with his tribute trophy. Dillon, who was last in Deauville in 1996 as a cast member of Kevin Spacey’s directing debut, “Albino Alligator,” impressed a capacity crowd with his own helming debut, “City of Ghosts,” which he co-wrote with Barry Gifford. The film, shot almost entirely on location in Cambodia, stars Dillon and James Caan.

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