Lyon hosted the famous Lumière Film Festival on Saturday with a bang!
Since its creation in 2009, the festival has paid tribute to the history of cinema and to those who have dedicated their lives to the art and craft of cinema.
The city in central-southeastern France is home to the workshop of the Lumière brothers. The couple are often credited with inventing cinematography. On March 19, 1895, in the Monplaisir district of Lyon, Louis and Auguste Lumière set up their studio. They shot the first film in the history of cinema: Leaving the Lumière factories.
The brothers are hailed for advancing film production. The two found ways, in particular, to perforate the film, which involves placing frames on rolls of film. This in turn led to the development of the film camera, which could be processed and performed through a projector.
The street where the filming took place, chemin Saint-Victor, became rue du Premier-Film in 1925 and, since 1982, the Institut Lumière, the cinematheque of Lyon. It now welcomes film buffs from all over the world.
Tim Burton wins the grand prize
On Friday, American director Tim Burton will receive this year’s prestigious Lumière Award. Known for his gothic fantasies such as Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, Burton will join previous winners Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar, Quentin Tarantino and Jane Campion, among others.
In addition to the Burton retrospective, the festival also honors other great film personalities, including Louis Malle, Sydney Pollack, Swedish actress Mai Zetterling and Hungarian director André De Toth.
Opening night screening
Saturday evening, 5,000 spectators gathered for the opening of the festival at the Halle Tony Garnier. Launching the event was the film The Innocent, directed by and with Louis Garrel. His film was also shot in Lyon.
The Innocent was part of the official selection for this year’s Cannes Film Festival – a rare feat for a comedy…no less a heist comedy!
The film follows Sylvie (played by Anouk Grinberg), a theater teacher in a prison. Sylvie falls in love with one of the inmates, Michel (Roschdy Zem) who is behind bars for his role in a robbery. His son Abel (Louis Garrel) attends the wedding. Not too happy with the arrangement, Abel feels compelled to protect his mother from Michel, whom he can’t help but consider a simple criminal.
Garrel is not only one of the great contemporary French actors, but also a filmmaker versed in the history of cinema, and to whom he pays homage in his film.
“I thought a lot about Italian cinema, we could think of romantic comedy, also French, also from the 50s, even Howard Hawks. Films are always in dialogue, so watching a film is also a journey, strangely , with films from the past,” Garrel told Euronews.
A cinematic playground
Many world-renowned directors were present for Saturday’s opening night. Including South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-Dong. He directed acclaimed films such as Green Fish, Peppermint Candy and Oasis.
Speaking to Euronews Culture, he said: “I’m very happy to be here because it’s such a historic place, the birthplace of cinema. I am very happy to participate and to be one of the guests of honor of this festival.
Nearly 500 screenings are scheduled during the festival, which runs until October 23.
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