The Deauville American Film Festival has unveiled the competition lineup of its 2021 edition, which includes Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket” and Michael Sarnoski’s “Pig.”
Under the leadership of artistic director Bruno Barde, the festival’s competition will also showcase Pascual Sisto’s John and the Hole,” David Bruckner’s “The Night House,” Justin Chon’s “Blue Bayou,” Josef Kubota Wladyka’s “Catch The Fair One,” Ninja Thyberg’s “Pleasure,” Wes Hurley’s “Potato Dreams of America,” Tim Sutton’s “The Last Son,” Lauren Hadaway’s “The Novice,” Antonio Tibaldi’s “We Are Living Things,” and Alana Waksman’s “We Burn Like This.”
Several films in the Deauville roster world premiered at Cannes, notably the competition title “Red Rocket,” about a former porn star who moves back to Texas City to get a fresh start and falls back into old habits; and “Blue Bayou,” a heart-wrenching drama with Justin Chon and Alicia Vikander which played at Un Certain Regard.
“The Last Son” and “We Are Living Things,” meanwhile, will have their world premieres at Deauville. A Western action film set in the late 19th century in the Sierra Nevada, “The Last Son” stars Sam Worthington as a murderous outlaw cursed by a terrible prophecy who attempts to end his evil family line. The Black List script was penned by Greg Johnson. “We Are Living Things” is a science-fiction thriller about two immigrants living on the fringes of American society who set off to uncover the truth about a shared UFO abduction.
The French premieres set to compete at Deauville include a trio of Sundance titles — “John And the Hole,” a coming-of-age psychological thriller and “Pleasure,” about a 19-year-old girl who lives her small town life in Sweden to become a porn star in L.A.; as well as “The Night House,” a psychological horror film with Rebecca Hall.
Also set for a French premiere at Deauville is “Pig,” starring Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness and returns to Portland to rescue his beloved pig. Within the competition, the international premieres are “Catch The Fair One,” “Potato Dreams of America,” “The Novice,” and “We Burn Like This.”
“For 25 years, we have endeavored to (share with) audiences and professionals our passion for the best of American cinema, particularly in the Deauville Competition, featuring an unparalleled inventory,” said Barde.
“We measure a tree by its fruits, and all we can do is love the tree and hope for great works. Our fruits are our award-winners and the hope of discovery,” said the artistic director, adding that the 2021 selection “conveys today’s convulsions and the legitimate and growing anxiety of filmmakers.”
“This competition is shot through with laughter, fear, violence, voyeurism and sometimes noble sentiments, all translating the emotions of our current times,” added Barde.
Besides the competition, the lineup will also boast the French premieres of Paul Schrader’s “The Card Counter,” a revenge thriller with Oscar Isaac and Willem Dafoe which will compete at the Venice Film Festival; and Brad Furman’s “City of Lies,” a crime thriller with Johnny Depp. On top of “Blue Bayou” and “Red Rocket,” Deauville will screen other Cannes titles, such as Sean Penn’s “Flag Day,” in which Penn starts opposite his daughter Dylan Penn as John Vogel, an American conman and bank robber; and Tom McCarthy’s “Stillwater” a Marseille-set drama with Matt Damon and Camille Cottin.
Deauville ranks as the second biggest film festival in France after Cannes and is fully open to the public. Over the years, the festival has played early works by renown directors, including James Gray’s “Little Odessa,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi,” Spike Jonze’s “Being John Malkovitch,” Christopher Nolan’s “Memento,” Jeff Nichols’s “Take Shelter” and Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.”
Deauville will soon be announcing the rest of its program. The 47th edition will run Sept. 3-12 with a competition jury and a revelation jury presided over by French actors Charlotte Gainsbourg and Clemence Poesy, respectively.