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Hugh Hudson’s ‘Life’ opens Dinard

British cinema festival rolls in Northern France

DINARD, France — Honoree helmer Hugh Hudson’s 1999 “My Life So Far” kicked off the 19th Dinard Festival of British Cinema on Thursday night, which offered Brittany auds a kinder-and-gentler glimpse of life in pre-WWII Scotland.

But Hudson’s message during the opening ceremony ran counter to the opening film’s nostalgic theme, as he described today’s bright opportunities versus the bottom-line pressures he faced in the 1980s and 1990s.

“When you dance with the fiddler, you have to pay the piper,” Hudson said, referring to what he said were “compromises” he made for the U.S. film industry.

So instead of looking West to the U.S., Hudson encouraged the new-generation of helmers to “go East” and to seek greener pastures on the other side of the Atlantic.

Actor and play director Lambert Wilson, who is known on both sides of the channel and is this year’s jury president, spoke of the importance of his personal ties to British cinema and Dinard.

“It was because of (certain British) actors and directors that I wanted to be part of this profession — not because of French actors, not because of American actors, but because of (British) actors and directors,” Wilson said. “So I am, of course, extremely happy and honored to be president of this year’s (British film festival.)”

Other French thesps on the jury include Arie Elmaleh, Valerie Kaprisky, Aissa Maiga, and Alice Taglioni.

Thesps Tara Fitzgerald, Rory McCann and Lucy Russell, and helmer Nicolas Roeg are on the jury from the U.K.

On Sunday, the jury will hand out the fest’s Hitchcock d’Or for film, which comes with E3,100 ($4,310) award for distribution costs and E1,500 ($21) for the director.

Films in competition include John Crowley’s “Boy A,” Neil Thompson’s “Clubbed,” Chris Waitt’s “A Complete History of My Sexual Failures,” Rupert Wyatt’s “The Escapist,” Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s “Helen,” and Ben Hopkins’ “The Market — A Tale of Trade.”

The fest will close with Shane Meadows’ “Somers Town” on Sunday.

Despite the gale force winds and rain pelting filmgoers this week, the fest’s organizers still expect the venue to draw the same number of local cinephiles as last year’s total of about 24,000.

The fest has also attracted about 600 delegates, the organizers said.

The fest will host more than 30 feature-length films, including French premieres for Noel Clarke’s “Adulthood,” Lesley Manning’s “The Agent,” Adrian Vitoria’s “The Crew,” Saul Dibb’s “The Duchess,” James Watkins’ “Eden Lake,” John Maybury’s “The Edge of Love,” Baillie Walsh’s “Flashbacks of a Fool,” Jackie Oudney’s “French Film,” Marek Losey’s “The Hide,” Steve McQueen’s “Hunger,” Mike Figgis’ “Love Live Long,” David Rocksavage’s “Shadows in the Sun” and Philippe Pilard’s “Stephen Frears, a Portrait.”

Dinard audiences also will get to see French premieres of documentaries James Marsh’s “Man on Wire,” James Honeyborne’s “The Meerkats” and Terence Davies’ “Of Time and the City.”