Lumière celebrates classic as well as contemporary fare

The 14th edition of the Lumière Film Festival, a week-long celebration of classic films that is one of the world’s leading heritage cinematic events, will take place from 15-23 October in the host city of Lyon, the birthplace of the brothers and pioneers of filmmaking to whom the festival lends its name.

The event, chaired by Cannes President Thierry Fremaux, includes a wide range of tributes, event reviews and film screenings, including newly restored classics and previously never shown works, along with a program of discussions and master classes.

Takes place in parallel with the influential international festival. Classic Film Market (MIFC), which brings together distributors, exhibitors, broadcast platforms, broadcasters, restoration experts and other industry professionals involved in the business of heritage cinema.

Maelle Arnaud, chief programmer at the Institut Lumière, which organizes the festival as part of its year-round work in promoting and preserving French cinema, says the event’s place at the crossroads of culture and commerce is what makes it one of the keynotes on the industry calendar each fall.

“I think the festival, more than other festivals devoted to classic films, is of great importance [focus] In the market and… [encourages] All the professionals working in classic films to use the festival in their work,” she says.

In the months leading up to opening night, rights holders reach out to identify the filmmakers who will be the subject of a Lumiere retrospective, so they can begin the long — and expensive — process of getting their work back.

In addition to the technical incentives to return classic films to audiences, Arnault says, it is a decision driven by the recognition that the Lyon Gallery provides an unparalleled opportunity to present those films to buyers who can ensure that a restored classic can be healthy. A second life.

Per Gérald Duchaussoy, programming coordinator at Lumière’s Classic Film Market, is driving advances in restoration technology a “thriving market” for heritage films.

While Arnault insists that “the spirit of the festival is classic films,” the 160-plus films lineup includes contemporary fare, such as the French premiere of Guillermo del Toro’s animated film “Pinocchio” and this year’s Cannes competition selection “Armageddon Time,” by James Gray, who will be honored retroactively.

“We need to talk about cinema – not just classic films,” Arnault says. “It’s a way to invite all the cinema to be a part of the party.”

The party has seen record numbers of audiences in recent years, as well as a star-studded list of international guests, who this year along with del Toro and Gray include Tim Burton, who was honored with a Lumiere Award for his contributions to world cinema; Alejandro G Inarritu, who travels to Lyon for the first time to present the Mexican Academy Award for “Bardo (or False Facts of a Handful of Facts)”; and guest honoree Lee Chang-dong, who will appear in conversation during an interactive session prior to the premieres of restored prints of several films.

Meanwhile, the late Swedish actress-turned-director Mai Zetterling will receive the honor as part of Lumiere’s Permanent History of Women Filmmakers, a series that promotes the rediscovery and reassessment of the work of iconic women in cinema.

“For us, it is very important to question this part of cinema history – the woman’s concealment,” Arnault says. It was difficult for them to become filmmakers. And even when they succeeded, they were forgotten in the history of cinema.”

Other women celebrated in Lyon this year include French screen stars Nicole Garcia and Marilyn Hubert.

While much of Lumière’s work involves taking a fresh look at the past, Arnaud and her programming team focus on reimagining the present and redefining what it means to talk about “heritage” cinema.

Each year, under the banner of Lumière Classics, the festival extends a worldwide invitation to film archives, studios, distributors, producers and other rights holders to present their latest restorations, in the hope of securing a coveted place on the program in Lyon.

This year, the festival has received 180 entries from over 90 films, ranging from Gaumont and Paramount to Albanian Film Archive and Cinémathèque Afrique. “It was interesting to see how…preserving the cinematic heritage [is]Arno says. “The history of cinema continues.”

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