June 21, 2024

LYON, France — Four-time Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón and “Time Bandits” helmer Terry Gilliam will join a star director-studded lineup at this year’s Lumière Film Festival including Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne and Wim Wenders. 

Cuarón (“Roma,” “Gravity”) is returning to Lyon – where he was a guest of honor in 2018 – to present a selection of films by Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner (“Charles Dead or Alive,” “The Salamander,” “Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000”).

Gilliam will screen the newly restored version of his 1995 sci-fi thriller “Twelve Monkeys.”

One of Anderson’s latest shorts, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” part of four Roald Dahl adaptations to be released on Netflix later this month, will screen at Lyon’s plush 2,000-seat Auditorium, where he will give a masterclass. 

Like other guests, he will not only be introducing a retrospective of his own films but works by others, as part of an ongoing drive by the festival “to strengthen the link between the past and the present of cinema,” said Maelle Arnaud, head programmer at Lyon’s high-energy Lumière Institute which organizes the fest.

“From the start, we created this link by asking actors and filmmakers of today to talk about classic films. But we also wanted them to present contemporary films because it’s the history of cinema [that’s in the making],” she explained to Variety.

Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “The Descendants”), for instance, will deliver a masterclass and premiere his Toronto buzz title, “The Holdovers.”

As already announced, this mid-October’s 15th edition will see the festival’s only prize, the Lumière  Award for lifetime achievement, go to German filmmaker Wim Wenders.

“It was important for us to celebrate Wim Wenders because he’s a complete artist: He’s a photographer, a writer, and a filmmaker. He is interested in cultural disciplines and artists from around the world. His work as a documentary filmmaker, for example, bears witness to the kind of person and artist he is: he has, among others, made films about a Brazilian photographer (“The Salt of the Earth,” about Sebastião Salgado, 2014), a German dancer (“Pina,” about Pina Bausch, 2011), and a Japanese filmmaker (“Tokyo-Ga,” about Yasujirō Ozu, 1985),” Arnaud explained.

Wenders will pay tribute to U.S. playwright and collaborator Sam Shepard, writer of “Paris Texas,” and will present a selection of his film favorites which includes Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” (written by Shepard) and “Beau Travail” by Claire Denis, who was his assistant early on in her career. Wenders’ photography will also be exhibited at three galleries run by the Institute.

Organised by the Lumière Institute, headed by Cannes Festival general delegate Thierry Frémaux, the Lumiere Film Festival has shared in exclusivity with Variety its rich 2023 full program. This includes more than 400 screenings, world premieres of both fresh classic film restorations and new titles, apart from its multiple masterclasses by A-list guests. 

The Lumière crowd will be spoilt for choice with French premieres including Hayao Miyazaki’s latest offering, “The Boy and the Heron,” and masterclasses by the likes of Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “White Nights”), Jean-Jacques Annaud – whose “The Name of the Rose” will close the festival on Oct. 22; Pedro Almodóvar muse Marisa Paredes, and Japanese director Rintaro, who will screen his first anime in 14 years, short film “Nezumikozo Jirokichi: A Manga Film Dedicated to Sadao Yamanaka.” 

French A-listers attending the festival include Michel Hazanavicius, the director of best picture Oscar-winner “The Artist,” in town for the 30th anniversary of his cult parody “La Classe Américaine,” which consists exclusively of classic Warner Bros film clips, re-edited and dubbed with fresh dialogues to create a radically different film.

The festival’s Permanent History of Women Filmmakers sidebar, which spotlights the work of iconic women in film, will be dedicated to Spanish actress-turned-director Ana Mariscal. “These are splendid restorations by our partner institute, the Filmoteca Española – we are delighted to put Ana Mariscal not only on the map of Spanish cinema but of world cinema,” enthuses Arnaud, who adds that the coveted Lumière Classics label, which showcases recent restorations during the festival, is a much sought-after launchpad to raise films’ international visibility.

As every year, filmgoers will be able to enjoy brand new restorations of classics by the likes of Stanley Kubrick (“Fear and Desire”) and Francois Truffaut (“Vivement Dimanche!”) as well as rare gems from Korea, Estonia, or Madagascar, carefully curated by the Lumière team throughout the year.

Other retrospectives will focus on the work of Robert Altman, rare works by Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu and pre-New Wave director Denys de La Patellière. The latter, explained Arnaud, is part of the festival’s wish to shine the light on French cinema which has been “discredited by the Nouvelle Vague, and still suffers from a preconceived notion that it is old-fashioned when, in fact, it is incredibly modern.” 

On the final night of the festival, audiences will have a chance to attend a rare “Star Wars” trilogy all-nighter as part of Disney’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Other Disney classics, including newly restored versions of “The Jungle Book” and “Cinderella,” will be screened at special kids’ events throughout the festival. 

The Lumière Film Festival kicks off in Lyon on Oct. 14, running through Oct. 22. The 11th edition of the International Classic Film Market (MIFC) will take place alongside the event over Oct. 17-20.

 Alfonso Cuarón, Terry Gilliam, Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne

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