The 14th edition of the Lumière Film Festival, a week-long celebration of classic films that is one of the world’s leading heritage cinema events, will take place from October 15 to 23 in the host city of Lyon, birthplace of the brothers and pioneers of cinema. who lend his name to the festival.
The event, led by Cannes chef Thierry Fremaux, includes a wide range of tributes, retrospectives and film screenings, including recently restored classics and never-before-seen works, as well as a program of talks and masterclasses.
Along with the festival, the influential Intl. Classic Film Market (MIFC), which brings together distributors, exhibitors, streaming platforms, broadcasters, restoration experts and other industry professionals involved in the heritage film business.
Maelle Arnaud, chief programmer at the Institut Lumière, which organizes the festival as part of its year-round action for the promotion and preservation of French cinema, explains that this is the event’s place at the crossroads of culture and commerce which has made it one of the key festivals on the industry calendar each fall.
“I think the festival, more than other festivals dedicated to classic films, has a great [focus] in the market and… [encourages] all professionals working in classic films use the festival for their business,” she says.
In the months leading up to the opening night, rightsholders find out which filmmakers will be the subject of a coveted Lumière retrospective, so that they can begin the long – and expensive – process of restoring their works. .
Beyond artistic incentives to bring classic films back to audiences, says Arnaud, it’s a decision driven by the recognition that the Lyon showcase offers an unprecedented opportunity to present these films to buyers who can guarantee that a restored classic can have a healthy second life.
According to Gérald Duchaussoy, programming coordinator for Lumière’s Classic Film Market, advances in restoration technology are stimulating a “buoyant market” for heritage films.
While Arnaud insists that “the soul of the festival is classic films”, the line-up of over 160 titles includes contemporary fare, such as the French premiere of Guillermo del Toro’s animated feature ” Pinocchio” and the selection for this year’s Cannes competition “Armageddon Time”. by James Gray, who will be honored with a retrospective.
“We have to talk about cinema – not just classic films,” says Arnaud. “It’s a way of inviting all cinema to be part of the party.”
The evening has enjoyed record audience numbers in recent years, as well as a star-studded international guest list, which along with del Toro and Gray this year includes Tim Burton, who receives the Lumière Award for his contributions to world cinema ; Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who is going to Lyon for the first time to present “Bardo (or false chronicle of a handful of truths)”; and guest of honor Lee Chang-dong, who will engage in conversation during an interactive session before presenting the first screenings of restored copies of several films.
Late Swedish actress-turned-director Mai Zetterling, meanwhile, will receive a tribute as part of the Permanent History of Women Filmmakers section of Lumière, a series that promotes the rediscovery and reassessment of the work of iconic women in film.
“For us, it is very important to question this part of the history of cinema, the invisibility of women,” says Arnaud. “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 stars Nicole Garcia and Marlène Jobert.
While a large part of the Lumière festival’s work consists of taking a fresh look at the past, Arnaud and his programming team are equally committed to reinventing the present and redefining what it means to speak of “heritage” cinema.
Each year, under its Lumière Classics banner, the festival launches a worldwide call for film archives, studios, distributors, producers and other rights holders to submit their latest restorations, in the hope of winning a coveted spot on the program in Lyon.
This year, the festival received 180 applications from more than 90 film bodies, ranging from Gaumont and Paramount to Albanian Film Archives and Cinémathèque Afrique. “It was interesting to see how…the preservation of film heritage [is]“, explains Arnaud. “The history of cinema is still in progress.”
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