While the summer film festivals are already underway (La Rochelle), about to begin (the FID in the heat of Marseilles) or awaiting key elements (Venice and its absence of president of the jury), those of the new school year are slowly starting to take shape. This is the case with the Lumière Festival in Lyon, the 14th edition of which will take place from Saturday 15 to Sunday 23 October. While waiting in the next few days or weeks for the name of the cinema personality who will succeed New Zealand director Jane Campion, winner of the prestigious Prix Lumière last year, the sale of public accreditations will open tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
Previously, the festival’s press office announced in recent days the lucky winners of the major retrospectives that have punctuated this unmissable event for any self-respecting heritage cinema lover since the beginning of the century. The nearly 200,000 festival-goers who flock year after year to the Hangar du Premier film will thus be able to discover the filmographies of directors Louis Malle, for France, and Sidney Lumet, for the United States.
Louis Malle (1932-1995)
Unclassifiable, unpredictable, also timeless, this is how we could describe the career of French director Louis Malle. A false contemporary of the filmmakers of the New Wave, he has always known how to reinvent himself, since his apprenticeship with Commander Cousteau on the documentary The world of silence – Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956 – up to his last great French works, goodbye children and Snowy in Mayand the premature epilogue across the Atlantic with Fatal and Vanya 42nd Street. A filmography not so jagged, but in multiple and voluntary bifurcations, as if to better contradict and dismantle what had just been produced.
Scandal films that have risen in rank over time, such as The lovers with Jeanne Moreau, The wisp with Maurice Ronet, The breath in the heart with Léa Massari and Lucien Lacombe with Pierre Blaise. Films with a more classic style in which the mastery and elegance of Louis Malle’s staging are nevertheless evident, such as Elevator to the Gallowsstill with Jeanne Moreau, and Thief with Jean-Paul Belmondo. Apparently lighter films, the adaptation of Raymond Queneau Zazie in the subway with Philippe Noiret and the western in the form of feminine farce Viva Maria with Brigitte Bardot.
Without forgetting of course the American and Indian parentheses. During the premiere, Louis Malle had made films as memorable as The little with Brooke Shields, Atlantic City with Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon and Alamo Bay with Amy Madigan and Ed Harris. The second, earlier, saw the birth of the river documentary Ghost India at the end of the ’60s. Later, the director remained sporadically faithful to the genre, notably through his two American documentaries God’s Country and In the pursuit of happiness.
Rewarded on multiple occasions, Louis Malle has never won an Oscar, contrary to what the press release from the Institut Lumière indicates. Indeed, the one that The world of silence won in the Best Documentary category in 1957 had only been awarded to producer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. On a personal note, Malle had been nominated three times by the American Film Academy, for the screenplays of The breath in the heart and goodbye childrenthen in the meantime as Best Director for Atlantic City. The latter had also earned him his first Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1980, seven years before the second for goodbye children. The schoolboy tale under the Occupation was the big winner of the César ceremony, winning seven trophies including those for Best Film and Best Director in 1988.
If you do not have the opportunity to go to Rhône-Alpes in October, know that the distributor Malavida Films is orchestrating the first part of a retrospective under the title “Louis Malle Gentleman provocateur” from November 9th. . In partnership with Gaumont, six of his films will then be released in restored 4K versions: Elevator to the Gallows, The lovers, The wisp, Viva Maria, Thief and The breath in the heart.
Sidney Lumet (1924-2011)
In restored copies and unpublished material, in collaboration with the French offices of Park Circus and Warner Bros., as well as a host of other distributors, the 14th Festival Lumière will pay tribute to the New York director par excellence Sidney Lumet. Coming from television, Lumet had hit the mark from his first feature film: 12 angry men with Henry Fonda in one of his most beautiful roles and incidentally Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival in 1957. From then on, he too had mixed genres, like Louis Malle, although with a bulimia of work infinitely more marked. Thus, it is more than forty films that he shot, until his last, the dark family thriller 7:58 that Saturday with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, released in France in September 2007.
According to the mosaic of photos attached to the press release from the Institut Lumière, the festival will show at least some of Sidney Lumet’s most famous films. Namely the adaptation of Tennessee Williams The Snakeskin Man with Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani, The Pawnbroker with Rod Steiger, The Offense with Sean Connery, Serpico with Al Pacino, The crime of the Orient Express with Albert Finney and Ingrid Bergman, Network Hands down on TV with Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway, Equus with Richard Burton, The verdict with Paul Newman and Charlotte Rampling, At the end of the race with Christine Lahti and River Phoenix and Counter-investigation with Nick Nolte and Timothy Hutton.
Sidney Lumet hadn’t won a competitive Oscar either, despite his five nominations, four for Best Director for 12 angry men, A dog’s afternoon, Network Hands down on TV and The verdictas well as another for the screenplay adapted from The Prince of New York. However, he received an honorary Oscar in 2005 from Al Pacino.
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Lumière Festival 2022: Louis Malle and Sidney Lumet retrospectives – Film Critic