'Artist' opens Lumiere 2011-Grand Lyon

Stephen Frears, Fatih Akin, Charlotte Rampling, Benicio del Toro, Jerry Schatzberg and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have joined an impressive list of industryites at the Lumiere Grand Lyon Film Festival.

Run by Lyon’s Institut Lumiere — presided over by Bertrand Tavernier and directed by Cannes topper Thierry Fremaux — the seven-day fest kicks off today with a gala screening of Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist.”

Rampling will attend a preview of “The Look,” a docu tribute to the actress helmed by Angelina Maccarone. “The Look,” “The Artist” (which opens Oct. 12 in France) and Alex Stapleton’s biodoc “Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel,” with Roger Corman in attendance, are among a handful of first-run movies at Lyon.

But Lyon promises discoveries. Akin will host Lutfi Akad’s 1966 “The Law of the Border,” a near-forgotten Turkish classic restored by the World Cinema Foundation and the Bologna Film Library. In like vein, Benicio del Toro will talk up 1960’s “The Naked Island,” from Japan’s Kaneto Shindo.

Frears will explain why he dreams of directing a remake of 1952’s “Casque d’or,” from French director Jacques Becker. The Dardenne brothers will present Maurice Pialat’s 1980 “Loulou.” Schatzberg will host “The Puzzle of a Downfall Child,” his 1970 feature debut, made three years before he won Cannes’ Palme d’Or for “Scarecrow.” One of Grand Lyon’s large lures is pristine prints. Nicolas Seydoux and Sidonie Dumas, Gaumont chairman and CEO, will detail the restoration of Becker’s “Antoine and Antoinette,” one of six restored films which Gaumont brings to Lumiere 2011.

Jerome and Sophie Seydoux, Pathe co-chairman and chair of the Jerome-Seydoux-Pathe Foundation respectively, will also reveal a restored print of Marcel Carne’s French masterpiece “Children of Paradise.”

A fest highlight looks set to be Becker’s 1945 “Falbalas,” restored by StudioCanal. Star Micheline Presle will attend. Catapulted to fame by Georg Wilhelm Pabst in 1939’s “Girls in Distress,” her career runs to date through to 2010’s “Thelma, Louise and Chantal.”

Francois Truffaut muse Fanny Ardant, who played opposite Gerard Depardieu in 1981’s “The Woman Next Door,” will present Gerard Depardieu with the 2011 Lumiere Prize, fest’s top plaudit, at the closing ceremony.

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