Czech director follows Clint Eastwood

MADRID — Milos Forman will receive the second Prix Lumiere at October’s Lumiere Grand Lyon Film Festival on Oct. 9 and be feted with a retrospective.

Fest organizers — Cannes Festival topper Thierry Fremaux and helmer Bertrand Tavernier, co-founder of the Institut Lumiere — hope to persuade Forman’s Hollywood friends to attend the ceremony. The director follows in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood, who last year took four days out before the French shoot of “Hereafter” to accept the first Prix Lumiere in front of an audience of 3,000.

Building up for its Oct. 4-10 second edition, few film events have made such an immediate impact or boast such pulling power for industryites.

Showcasing retrospectives, revivals and restorations, fest’s allure partly reflects its high-powered toppers and its location, the French city of Lyon, where Louis and Auguste Lumiere fabricated the Cinematographe Lumiere camera-projector system.

Lumiere 2010 highlights include a full Luchino Visconti retrospective; five Dario Argento films, presented by the Italian director; tributes to Anthony Quinn and forgotten French helmer Raymond Bernard; a screening of Jean Renoir’s 1955 “French Cancan” marking Gaumont’s 115th anniversary; and an evening with Jean-Louis Trintignant.

The U.S. ’70s Rarities sidebar will showcase Richard Sarafian’s “Man in the Wilderness” and John Flynn’s “Rolling Thunder,” among other films.

“Everyone knows the ’70s through Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg and Cassavetes but there are a lot of now unknown filmmakers,” Fremaux said.

Revivals soon to see French commercial release include Bob Fosse’s “Lenny” and Fritz Lang’s “Man Hunt.”

Though manna from heaven for hardcore film buffs, Lumiere is aimed at the public at large. For Fremaux, “We want to show that audiences, especially young audiences, are totally open to the history of cinema.”

That certainly seems to have worked: Lumiere 2009 saw 70,000 spectators spread across 41 venues.

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