Doug Liman’s “American Made,” an action-packed biopic headlined by Tom Cruise, is set to open the 43rd edition of Deauville American Film Festival.
David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” Chloé Zhao’s “The Rider” and Marc Webb’s “Mary” are among the 14 films on track to compete at the festival.
“A Ghost Story,” a supernatural drama which reunites Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara after Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” premiered at Sundance.
“The Rider,” which world premiered at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight and nabbed the Art Cinema Award, centers on a young cowboy who embarks on a road trip across America after suffering a near fatal head injury.
“Mary” stars a Chris Evans as a single man raising his child prodigy niece who is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.
Several competition films deal with race relations in America. Daryl Wein’s “Blueprint,” for instance, centers around a young Black man in South Side, Chicago, who questions his identity in the aftermath of a fatal shooting. Justin Chon’s “Gook,” meanwhile, is set against the backdrop of the 1992 L.A. riots and follows two Korean-American brothers who run a shop in a predominantly African-American community of Los Angeles.
Feature debuts slated to compete include Wayne Roberts’s “Katie Says Goodbye” starring Olivia Cooke as a kind-hearted waitress living in the American Southwest; Joshua Z Weinstein’s “Menashe,” a drama set in Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community; Matt Spicer’s “Ingrid Goes West,” about a young woman with a past of obsessive behavior who moves to L.A.; Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s “They,” about a 14-year-old Chicago teen struggling with gender identity; Amman Abbasi’s “Dayveon,” which follows a 13-year-old boy from rural Arkansas who falls in with a local gang.
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Also in competition: Jamie M. Dagg’s “Sweet Virginia,” about a former rodeo star who starts a relationship with a young man who is responsible for the violence that has suddenly gripped his Alaska small town; Eliza Hittman’s “Beach Rats,” a drama following a teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn who is confronted with questions of self-identity; and Marc Meyers’s “My Friend Dahmer,” a portrait of the real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Deauville’s artistic director, Bruno Barde, pointed out to Variety that “many films competing were coming of age stories sharing similar themes such as self-identity, existential struggles, violence and the pressures to ‘fit in.””
This year’s strong roster of honorary guests includes Darren Aronofsky, Robert Pattinson, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Rodriguez.
Barde said he strived to honor visionary directors such as Aronofsky whose “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” were shown at the festival, as well as versatile American actors and actresses like Dern, Goldblum, Pattinson, Harrelson and Rodriguez who have starred in iconic films.
The artistic director argued the competition roster of this 43rd edition was particularly solid, reflecting the good health of U.S. independent films. He also noted the prominence of director-driven genre movies in the selection.
Aronofsky’s “mother!,” Andy Muschietti’s “It,” Niki Caro’s “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” Josh & Benny Safdie’s “Good Time,” Marc Webb’s “The Only Boy Living in New York” and Terry George’s “The Promise” will be among the 15 pics set to premiere at the Normandy-set festival.
The Uncle Sam Documentaries section will be made of several politically-minded docu features, such as Eugene Jarecki’s “Promised Land,” “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and Jean-Baptiste Thoret’s “We Blew It.”
As previously announced, French director Michel Hazanavicius will be presiding over the competition jury. He will be surrounded by French singer-turned-actor Benjamin Biolay, actresses Emmanuelle Devos, Clotilde Hesme, Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon, French directors Eric Lartigau, Michel Leclerc, Axelle Ropert, Alice Winocour and playwright Yasmina Reza.
The Revelation Jury will be presided over by actress-director Emmanuelle Bercot, and comprises Abd Al Malik, Anaïs Demoustier, Pio Marmai, Pierre Rochefort and Leonor Varela.
Destin Daniel Cretton’s “The Glass Castle” will close the festival.