Celluloid spotlight on Grand Lyon

Fest Traveler: Grand Lyon

Everything old is new again at the Grand Lyon Lumiere Festival, which offers a smorgasbord of new prints and restored cinematic delights, ranging from a color version of Georges Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon” to the French classic “War of the Buttons,” which Gaumont restored in advance of two competing remakes.

With its spectacle freshly polished, William Wyler’s “Ben-Hur” unspools in a single exclusive showing as part of the fest’s tribute to Warner Home Video simultaneously with the screening at the New York Festival (and before its bow at the Rome Film Festival).

The fest’s many showcases include a complete retrospective of French filmmaker Jacques Becker, admired by the likes of Francois Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard, featuring 13 restored prints. “Like Melville, I’m sure his genius will become appreciated Stateside as well,” fest topper Thierry Fremaux predicts.

Hollywood helmer William Wellman gets a similar treatment of 13 pics, among them restored versions of 1928’s “Beggars of Life,” with Louise Brooks and Wallace Beery, and “The Story of G.I. Joe.”

As part of a tribute to film historians and restorers Kevin Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury of London-based Photoplay Prods., the fest will also screen Rex Ingram’s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (1921) with musical accompaniment by the Lyon National Orchestra.

Among the more recent works unspooling at the fest are new prints of Jerry Schatzberg’s 1970 drama “Puzzle of a Downfall Child” and Martin Rosen’s animated canine adventure “The Plague Dogs” (1982). Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s 1975 romantic comedy “Le sauvage,” with Catherine Deneuve and Yves Montand, screens in the fest’s 1970s’ Deja classique sidebar.

Lumiere also continues its exploration of Asian cinema, and promises movie mayhem with a series on Japanese yakuza gangster pics from the 1960s through the 1980s, including Masahiro Shinoda’s “Pale Flower” as well as new prints of Kinji Fukasaku’s “Battles Without Honour and Humanity” and Hideo Gosha’s “The Yakuza Wives.”

Grand Lyon: Film feast for archivalists | Digital difference | To protect and preserve | Celluloid spotlight

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