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Salute to Classics Pays Tribute to Film Luminaries

Jane Fonda leads brigade honoring cinematic heroes of the past decades

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, France, has cemented its position as a favorite event for generations of leading international filmmakers with its showcase of classic films and tributes to legendary cinematic heroes.

Launched in 2009 by Bertrand Tavernier and Cannes topper Thierry Frémaux, the president and director of the Institut Lumière, respectively, the event has become one of the largest international festivals of classic cinema.

Last year 171,000 festivalgoers attended, up from 160,500 in 2016.

This year’s honorees and guests at the event, running Oct. 13-21, include such luminaries as Jane Fonda, who is receiving the Lumière Award, Peter Bogdanovich, Stephen Frears, Liv Ullmann, Javier Bardem and Jerry Schatzberg.

In addition to a retrospective of her work that will include such films as “Coming Home,” “The China Syndrome,” “Klute” and “On Golden Pond,” Fonda will bring the festival to a close with a tribute to her father, Henry, by introducing a newly restored 4K version of John Ford’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Also attending the fest will be Alfonso Cuarón with his Venice winner “Roma” and Claire Denis with her sci-fi drama “High Life,” both of which will be marking their French premieres.

Director Hugh Hudson and Christophe Lambert will revisit the British helmer’s 1984 classic “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,” while visual-effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull will be on hand for the screening of a new 70mm print of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Likewise presenting new and old works are Margarethe von Trotta with “Searching for Ingmar Bergman” and director duo Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro with their 1991 cult favorite “Delicatessen.” Other notable guests include Claude Lelouch, Michel Ocelot, Juliette Binoche, Cheng Pei-pei and Jerzy Skolimowski.

The festival will present 187 films and 423 screenings.

As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, the fest is planning special screenings for children, including Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid,” which will be shown as part of a huge cine-concert with live music accompaniment; Cuaron’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”; Robert Zemeckis’ “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”; and Ocelot’s animated “Kirikou and the Sorceress.” In addition, there will be two all-night screenings of Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. There was only one screening initially planned, but it sold out so fast that a second night was scheduled.

A gala event hosted by Frémaux will pay homage to the work of film restorers and conservators with a cine-concert featuring Buster Keaton’s “Go West” accompanied by the Orchestre National de Lyon.

The fest’s Intl. Classic Film Market, meanwhile, is bringing the heritage film sectors of Western and Eastern Europe into focus with a keynote by Sandra Den Hamer, director of the Netherlands’ EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and a look at Poland’s ambitious film restoration program.

The market will also examine the state of African and Arab cinema.

The market continues to play an increasingly vital role at the Lumière festival, reflecting an overall greater demand for restored classics.

Market project manager Gerald Duchaussoy notes that the international bazaar for restored classics continues to develop due to strong initiatives from archives, states and private companies, which in turn has led to a growing desire by theaters, broadcasters and VOD providers to show more classics.

Audiences today are getting the chance to see more and more films that were previously unknown to cinephiles, he adds.

“For countries where theatrical distribution is close to nil concerning classics, this might be a chance if VOD providers choose to offer films that are rarities,” Duchaussoy says.

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