City of Lights shines fest light on ‘Venus’

'Madeleine,' 'Budd' to unspool

The fourth annual City of Lights, City of Angels fest is getting a beauty treatment. “Venus Beauty Institute,” France’s 1999 Cesar winner for best picture will open the Gallic film series which runs from April 25-29 at the Directors Guild Theater in West Hollywood.

The annual event is co-sponsored by the DGA, MPA, France’s SACEM and the WGAW and will showcase six French pics. As in past years, toppers from the organizations will be on hand with American and French celebs lending wattage.

Opener “Venus Beauty Institute,” picked up four Cesars (France’s equivalent to the Oscar) in February and will be introduced by helmer/ scripter, Tonie Marshall. Marshall is the only woman in the Cesar’s 25-year history to take home best director and best screenplay kudos.

Pic was acquired by Lot 47 Films in the United States for release later this year.

Other films set to unspool during the five-day event are noir comedy “1999 Madeleine” from director/writer Laurent Bouhnik, who will be present.

The “Billy Budd” inspired “Beau Travail,” which will be released by New Yorker Films in June, will be introduced by helmer/scripter Claire Denis.

Claude Miller will be on hand for the North American premiere of his “Of Women and Magic,” winner of the FIPRESCI (Federation of Intl. Film Critics) Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

The U.K., France, Germany co-production “A Monkey’s Tale,” an animated feature from director Jean- Francois Laguionie, fills the penultimate slot, followed by “Time Regained,” which closes the fest.

“Time Regained” from director Raul Ruiz is based on the last volume of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past” and stars Catherine Deneuve, John Malkovich, Emmanuelle Beart and Vincent Perez.

MPA chairman Jack Valenti said, “The French cinema yields to none in the caliber and spirit of its artistry. We at MPA are both joyful and proud to introduce this showcase of French film creativity to American audiences.”