The sleepy chic Normandy resort town of Deauville and its slightly down-market neighbour Trouville were always in a September stupor following August's tourism glut. Thirty-five years ago, French PR specialist Lionel Chouchan was asked by the city to help drum up some business. He came up with the idea of a film festival devoted to American films. The festival would take place along the beaches of Normandy, featuring outdoor movies under the stars.
Today, the Deauville Festival Du Cinema Americain is the laid-back opposite of Cannes, its Mediterranean peer - a reflection of its cooler region. A stroll along the boardwalk is rivaled by the stroll toward the English Channel; at low tide, it takes 20 minutes to walk from the beach to the water. Don't be surprised to see a festival-goer strolling the sands barefoot.
In attendance this year were Kevin Spacey, Spike Lee, Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris, a bit of a downturn from 2007 when George Clooney and Brad Pitt were wandering the streets. If American cinema doesn't suit your fancy, Chouchan's company Public SystГЁme CinГ©ma also runs the Deauville Asian Film Festival in March.
Sept. 5 - 14, 2009. Single day pass $68; all-access pass $227. http://www.festival-deauville.com.
Excerpt from Cinema in Paradise by Denis Seguin. Read full article at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081119.wfests19/BNStory/specialTravel/home