Festival opens with less than stellar guest list
The Deauville American Film Festival opens today in the French seaside resort with a much less stellar guest list from Stateside than 2007.Gallic filmgoers cheered Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and George Clooney on the red carpet last year. But if Deauville is low on Hollywood wattage, it is rich in talent from American independent cinema. Indy multihyphenate Hal Hartley will be on hand to support actress Parker Posey, whose retrospective includes two of his pics “Fay Grim” (2006) and “Henry Fool” (1998). Zoe Cassavetes is in town for jury duty, but will also step out to present Posey in “Broken English.” Ed Harris is feted with a tribute, including self-directed oater “Appaloosa.” Co-star Viggo Mortensen will join him on the red carpet. Spike Lee is honored with a full retrospective, and can expect a warm welcome when he arrives Wednesday to present the European preem of “Miracle at St. Anna.” Also appearing are Kevin Spacey for “Recount,” William Hurt for “Yellow Handkerchief” and John Malkovich for “Changeling.” Samuel L. Jackson and helmer Neil LaBute both step up to introduce “Lakeview Terrace.” From Europe, French actor-director Mathieu Kassovitz is set to attend in his capacity as producer of “Johnny Mad Dog,” winner of the fest’s Michel D’Ornano prize for French first film. This will be one of his first public appearances since he lashed out at the U.S. producers of his sci-fi epic “Babylon A.D.” in August. A more photogenic distraction is Gallic thesp Juliette Binoche, who appears supporting “Dan in Real Life.” The fest opens with the distinctly un-American Abba musical “Mamma Mia!” Swedish tunesmiths Benny Anderssen and Bjorn Ulvaeus will present the film, along with helmer Phyllida Lloyd, scribe Catherine Johnson and producer Judy Craymer, all three British. The fest ends Sept. 14.