DEAUVILLE, France — A Deauville riddle: Who’s got American awards to spare, is lionized in Gaul and speaks French?
On Tuesday, five days into the American Film Festival here, there were three answers: Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams, all of whom seemed well-versed in French during appearances. Douglas and Bacall — together again onscreen for the first time since 1950’s “Young Man With a Horn” — deliver delectable perfs in “Diamonds,” directed by John Asher. In his first screen outing since the stroke that initially left him unable to speak, Douglas plays an ex-prizefighter on a mission to locate the title gems after recovering from a stroke. Bacall plays the madam of a Nevada brothel who hears him loud and clear despite the occasional slurred word.
Tuesday evening saw the world preem of “Jakob the Liar,” starring Robin Williams. An overflow crowd in Deauville’s 1,500-seat auditorium gave Williams a lengthy standing ovation before and after the film, to be released in France by Columbia and in the U.S. by TriStar. Fest co-founder Lionel Chouchan handed Williams the festival’s special 25th anniversary trophy, which also went to composer Maurice Jarre on opening night and honoree Al Pacino on Sunday.
Douglas received the fest’s literary award Monday night, following an extemporaneous tribute from Jack Valenti, his friend of 35 years.