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‘The Favourite,’ ‘Suspiria,’ ‘High Life,’ ‘Blaze’ to Have French Premiere at La Roche-sur-Yon Festival

Yórgos Lánthimos’s “The Favourite,” Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria,” Claire Denis’s “High Life” and Ethan Hawke’s “Blaze” are among the many well-received films from Venice and Toronto set to be having their French premiere at La Roche-sur-Yon Festival which is headed by Paolo Moretti, the new topper of Cannes’s Directors Fortnight.

The international competition lineup of this 9th edition is headlined by “The Favourite,” Timur Bekmanbetov’s “Profile,” Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Maya,” and Berlin’s Golden Bear winner “Touch Me Not” directed by Adina Pintilie.

“Our idea is to shed light on contemporary films that were discovered in other festivals than Cannes in order to give our audiences an alternative image of cinema,” said Moretti.

Among the stars and filmmakers expected to attend La Roche-sur-Yon is Hawke who will be on hand to present his latest directorial outing, “Blaze” (pictured), as well as Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” in which he stars. Both films are slated for the Special Screenings section. The Oscar-nominated actor co-wrote, directed and produced “Blaze” with his banner Under the Influence Productions. The movie, which is about the life of American country musician Blaze Foley, won the special jury prize at Sundance and played at Locarno.

The Special Screenings roster will also include Paolo Sorrentino’s “Loro,” Steve McQueen’s “Widows” and “High Life.”

“Suspiria,” meanwhile, will play along with David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” and Sam Levinson’s “Assassination Nation” in the Varieté section. The festival’s Nouvelles Vagues and Perspectives selections will include Crystal Moselle’s “Skate Kitchen” and Claire Burger’s “C’est ca l’amour,” respectively.

“France has a lot of festivals but most are confined to specific themes, either in terms of genres or nationalities, whereas at La Roche-sur-Yon festival we’re free to be eclectic and show whatever films we want,” said Moretti, who will take over from Edouard Waintrop at the helm of Cannes’s Directors Fortnight in 2019.

Moretti also pointed out the fest has cultivated ties with distributors and sales agents since 2014, allowing it to access many highlights from international fall festivals.

Set to take place Oct. 15-21, La Roche-sur-Yon will kick off with Fred Cavayé’s dark comedy “Le jeu” with Bérénice Bejo and Suzanne Clément.

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