By Katie Lodge
Spotlight on the Lyon Lumière Film Festival
Film is uncorked and savoured like a Burgundy wine, revisited with a new palette, rekindling the vitality and memory inside each creation. Every year, a Lumière Award is given to a filmmaker or actress/actor who has contributed in an astounding way to the world of cinema, and this year it’s none other than Hong Kong madman, Wong Kar-wai.
Previous trophies have been handed to Catherine Deneuve, Martin Scorcese, Pedro Almodovar, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood and Ken Loach.
And the city buzzes in their presence. There are massive screenings at the former abattoir of the Halle Tony Garnier, at the accoustically-sound Auditorium and at the Conference Centre.
Silent cinema is on the menu, cinema concerts too, there are master classes, an International Classic Film Market for professionals, glamourous encounters with directors and actors, a load of exhibitions and a photography fair.
The Village Festival in the Institut Lumière Park is a prerequisite for fun. Wear heels and a bow tie. And then go clunk champagne glasses on the Platforme barge at night.
Last year, 160,500 people turned up, attending 397 screenings of 177 films in 60 venues across Lyon. These whopping figures are set to shoot up even further this year.
Full program and tickets on sale here.
This is Lyon’s 10 recommended films (with tickets still available)
Fallen Angels, by Wong Kar Wai. 1998. Crime. 1h36mins.
The Lumière Award 2017 will be handed over to the wonderfully quirky Wong Kar-wai at 7.30pm and we will then whoosh to the screening of his own film Fallen Angels, a story of a Hong Kong hitman who wants “out”. In this film, the world is frenetic, dizzying, just like the camera work and photo montage. Nothing is clear cut, no conclusions are drawn and you’re left with a bunch of impressions. It’s new, perfectly mad and not for those who suffer from convention.
Friday 20 October at 7.30pm. Conference Centre. Salle 3000.
Sorcerer, William Friedkin. 1977. Thriller. 2h01mins.
William Friedkin will present a screening of his legendary remake of French novelist Georges Clouzot’s “Salaire de la Peur”. Nitroglycerin needs to be shipped and a handful of convicts are up for the job. A hazardous quest with Jaw’s man Roy Schneider at the helm.
An “overlooked masterpiece” according to critics.
Thursday 19 October at 5pm. Institut Lumière.
King Kong, by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Shoedsack. 1933. Horror. 1h40mins.
Michel Le Bris, author of the fascinating genesis of the Hollywood King Kong, will be there to present this monster adventure – voted the greatest horror film of all time and the 20th greatest film ever – where humans travel to the unchartered Skull Island, knowing somewhat that an oversized gorilla dwells there.
A racist cautionary tale about interracial romance for some, a love story with no hidden meanings for others. Whatever the case, it’s not a safe place to be blonde.
Wednesday 18 October at 11.15am. Institut Lumière.
Michael Clayton, by Tony Gilroy. 2007. Thriller. 1h59mins.
The gorgeous English icicle, Tilda Swinton, is going to be there to present this film. She even won an Oscar for it, in her role of chilling lawyer Karen Crowder.
As for George Clooney, he plays Clayton, King of legal loopholes, who handles all the dirty work for a major New York firm. But he soon finds himself bang in the middle of a conspiratorial maelstrom where loyalty and conscience commence open warfare. Stupendous acting and exceptionally well-written by Jason Bourne’s very own screenwriter.
Sunday 15 October at 2.45pm. Pathé Bellecour.
Pursued, by Raoul Walsh (Vallée de la Peur in French). 1947. Drama. 1h41mins.
French funny man and actor, Thomas Ngijol, will be there to cut the ribbon of this classic black and white psychological drama told in flashbacks. Robert Michum plays the role of an orphan who tries to piece together the puzzle of his murdered parents, falling in love with his step-sister in the process.
Monday 16 October at 7pm. Cinema Comoedia.
Five Came Back, by Laurent Bouzereau. 2017. Documentary
Welcome to a documentary about how Hollywood saved the day – ahem – when five filmmakers agreed to join the war effort. It may have a calling-all-patriots tone to it, a slight hum of the entertainment industry celebrating its own achievements, but we learn so much about these 5 directors, as well as future generations of filmmakers who were profoundly influenced by them.
It shows us not only how these 4 years would change each of their lives and works, but it hints at the moral obligation of artists living in a time of upheaval to record events, not sit back on the sofa and twiddle their fingers.
Sunday 15 October and Monday 16. The mission begins (59mins) Sunday 15th at 12am with Guillermo del Toro and Jean-Paul Salomé, 2017 Lumière ambassador.The mission begins (59mins), The combat zones (1h07mins) The Price of Victory (1h09mins) on Monday 16th October at 4.30pm with Laurent Bouzereau and Jean-Paul Salomé.
Pacific Rim, by Guillermo del Toro. 2013. Action/Sci-Fi. 2h11mins. .
God-awful Kaiju sea creatures are sucking up all the earth’s resources and the Jaeger robots aren’t putting up much of a fight. The robots – the goodies – work best when operated by two people with deep bonds.
In a last-ditch attempt to muscle some muscle, a man and a woman climb aboard a clapped out Jaeger and, beautifully in-sync, attempt to save humanity from apocalypse. Pity Idris Elba isn’t there to present it. Yum.
Sunday 15 October at 7pm. UGC Cité Confluence
Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro. 2007. Drama/Fantasy. 1h15mins
Inventive and crispy-fresh director Alfonso Cuaron (Y tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity) will be there to introduce this chilling fantasy drama of his fellow countryman, Guillermo del Toro, where Ophelia, way back in WW2 Spain, is fascinated by fairy tales.
Sent with her pregnant mother to live with her stepfather, a sadistic captain in the Spanish army, Ofelia is forced to entertain herself and enters a dark fantasy world in which she is the princess. This film is relentlessly imaginative, man.
Sunday 15 October at 6.45pm. Comoedia.
Night Tide, by Curtis Harrington. 1961. Thriller. 1h26mins.
A gem of a film, chosen and presented by the genius director of Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn, where a super young Dennis Hopper falls in love with a killer mermaid. Yikes. It’s darkly atmospheric with a jazzy-beatnik soundtrack by David Raksin.
Tuesday 17 October at 11am. Comoedia.
The Kid Brother, by Harold Lloyd. 1926. Silent film/classic comedy. 1h22mins.
Harold, an out-of-place goof and last of the three sons of macho Sheriff Hickory, attempts to save his father who has been accused of theft. Despite his slapstick awkwardness, Harold is forced to be quick-witted to defeat the villains, win the girl of his dreams and gain his father’s approval.
A well-crafted film with an underdog hero whose performance rivals Chaplin, the Kid Brother is at the apex of Hollywood’s silent era. The Kid Brother will be accompanied by the National Orchestra of Lyon, directed by Carl Davis, and might just be magical.
Wednesday 18 October at 6pm. Cinema-concert at the Auditorium of Lyon.