An American film festival without Americans

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It is a festival celebrating American cinema, but this year, the Hollywood stars who normally grace the Deauville American Film Festival are mostly absent, unable to travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving some festival-goers disappointed but others happy to see more focus on homegrown French talent.

The festival is not entirely absent of VIPs from across the Atlantic. Some have been appearing via video messages, including Michael Douglas, whose father Kirk Douglas was honoured with a special tribute as the festival opened on Friday.

One of the few Americans to appear in person is director Jonathan Nossiter, whose film “Last Words” is screening in competition.

“I’m extremely sorry that my colleagues can’t come to this festival and enjoy the exchanges and of course I’m very sad for them,” he told FRANCE 24.

The lack of American stars has had a mixed reaction among the public.

“It’s a bit sad that there’s not a lot of people at the festival. I know that there’s no flights from the US to Paris and so the stars haven’t been able to come. It’s sad,” one festivalgoer told FRANCE 24.

However, another added: “I prefer to see the French actors. If I see some Americans I’ll be happy but I would prefer to see the French.”

Among the French stars to have turned out for the festival so far this year are jury president Vanessa Paradis, actor Vincent Lacoste, director Bruno Podalydès and actress Noemie Merlant, who was nominated for a César Awards for her starring role in the film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.

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