David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” was the big winner of the 43rd Deauville American Film Festival, scooping three awards, including the Revelation prize, the Critics prize and the Special Jury nod (shared with Joshua Z. Weinstein’s “Menashe”).
Chloé Zhao’s “The Rider,” which world premiered at Cannes’s Directors Fortnight and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, won the Grand Prize from a jury presided by Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist,””Redoutable”).
Hazanavicius praised “The Rider” for his “humanity and poetry” as well as its “soft political reflection.”
When picking up his award from the Revelation jury president Emmanuelle Bercot, the French actress-turned-director, Lowery paid tribute to his wife and said their relationship served as inspiration for the film.
“A Ghost Story” is a supernatural drama reuniting Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. The pair starred in Lowery’s last film, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” which had also competed at Deauville. “A Ghost Story” premiered at Sundance.
“The Rider” centers on a young cowboy who embarks on a road trip across America after suffering a near fatal head injury. The movie previously won the Art Cinema Award at Deauville.
“Menashe,” which won the Special Jury prize (shared with “A Ghost Story”), centers on a widower who battles for custody of his son within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community. The movie played at Sundance.
Deauville’s Audience award went to Marc Webb’s “Mary” which stars a Chris Evans as a single man raising his child prodigy niece who is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.
Lastly, Leonor Serraille’s “Jeune Femme” nabbed the Michel d’Ornano Award for debut French film. “Jeune Femme” premiered at Cannes where it won the Golden Camera award for best first film.
The highlight of Deauville’s closing night was the career tribute to Woody Harrelson who made a colorful speech. Upon receiving his honorary award from the hands of Hazanavicius, Harrelson quipped “I’ll never be George Clooney, Owen Wilson or Matthew McConaughey, but I’m quite content of carrying on being me.”