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Quentin Tarantino to Open 2016 Lumière Festival

Director will present opening gala movie ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ and give a masterclass

Quentin Tarantino To Open France's 2016
AGF s.r.l./REX Shutterstock

In a injection of energy and directorial glamor, Quentin Tarantino will attend Grand Lyon’s Lumière Festival in France this Saturday to open the event, presenting “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

George Roy Hill’s classic, written by William Goldman, will be screened, as requested by Tarantino, in 35mm to an audience of about 5,000 spectators at Lyon’s hanger-like Halle Tony Garnier as the opening night gala of the 8th Lumiere Festival.

Tarantino will also deliver a masterclass on Wednesday Oct. 12 at Lyon’s Auditorium, which will no doubt prove one of the hottest-ticket events at this year’s Festival. The masterclass will be hosted by Thierry Fremaux, Cannes general delegate who, with French director-film historian Bertrand Tavernier runs the Lumière Festival out of Lyon’s Institut Lumière. It will turn on the cinema of the 1970s and Tarantino’s specific passions a filmmaker, the Institut said in a press statement.

Tarantino has also programmed a now 15-feature retrospective for the 2016 Lumière Festival, entitled “1970,” and featuring films from that year. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which kicks off the season, qualifying given its best picture Academy Award nomination at the beginning of 1970, will be followed by some intriguing double bills – Arthur Hiller’s “Love Story” and “Jerzy Skolimowski’s “Deep End” – in a lineup which demonstrates the breadth of Tarantino’s tastes and influences. Other titles take in Russ Meyer’s “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point.” Tarantino will introduce films and participate in encounters, the Institut Lumière press statement read.

Tarantino already attended Lumière Festival, a hugely popular event in France’s third-biggest city of Lyon, in 2013 when he received the Lumière Award, following in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood and anticipating Martin Scorsese last year.

Tarantino’s award ceremony proved one of the Festivals biggest highlights in its first seven years of existence, including impromptu on-stage tributes by Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel and a read speech by Uma Thurman. A hugely active figure at the 2013 Festival, Tarantino was permanently out and about introducing a string of films which he also programmed that year.

At Lyon’s Lumiere Festival this year as a film buff rather than filmmaker, the importance of Tarantino’s presence will play out across multiple festival fronts. The Institut’s aim this year is to turn the Lumière Festival into a real party, a “feast,” according to Fremaux, featuring “Good Films, Good Food, Good Friends,” as its 2016 slogan runs. Tarantino will no doubt raise the party mood a few notches as he did in 2013 galvanising its opening ceremony tribute to Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Launched in 1982, and opening a museum, a cinema and a festival last decade, the Institut Lumière’s life goal has been to demonstrate the relevance of past cinema to the present and future of filmmaking. Many directors are film buffs. But few so obviously or famously draw on past movies and movie genres to create films which play to mass audiences around the world.

In that sense, Tarantino embodies the spirit and success of a Lumière festival which had a 150,000 paying audience in 2015 despite – and because of – a program dedicated almost in its entirety to reissues and restorations of great movies past.