Spotlight: Ridley Scott

Light on 'Matchstick' man

PARIS– A director of commercials who rose to the top rank of commercially bankable directors, Englishman Ridley Scott attended art school and started out as a set designer, which is not a bad way to approach a visual medium (just ask former art director Joel Schumacher).

Scott, who was recently knighted, understands the motion in motion pictures.

Whether it’s two Napoleon-era soldiers intent on skewering each other (his 1977 debut, “The Duelists”), the palpable ooze of post-postindustrial L.A. (“Blade Runner,” 1982), or helicopters (“Black Hawk Down, 2001”), the 65-year-old excels at knowing what to show and when.

“Alien” (1979) — the directors’ cut of which will be screened in Deauville along with the aforementioned films — gave us Sigourney Weaver as a survivor worth rooting for, while suggesting that (provided they’re cool enough and tall enough) women might someday burst through the glass ceiling — even if in space, nobody can hear it breaking.

Any viewer who — thrown by a sword-wielding Tom Cruise in “Legend” (1985), or the distaff peculiarity of “G.I. Jane” (1997) — assumes Scott would be out of his depth depicting aching loss hasn’t seen the storm sequence in “White Squall” (1996).

Scott’s latest, “Matchstick Men” will be shown the night he receives the conveniently named Deauville Flame.