Deauville gears up for bullish times

The American film festival on the north French coast celebrates its 31st year with The Matador, with Matt Dillon, Val Kilmer, Harold Ramis and Roman Polanski in attendance.

While George Clooney, Kirsten Dunst and Anthony Hopkins are hanging out in Venice, Pierce Brosnan, Matt Dillon and Val Kilmer are putting in face time at the Deauville American film festival in Normandy.

Now in its 31st year but long considered a minnow on the festival circuit, Deauville has built a reputation as a place where the American dream factory's finest can exhibit their pride and joy to non-US audiences.

This year, Deauville is showcasing The Matador, starring Pierce Brosnan as a hitman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a businessman. While in town, the former 007 star took the opportunity to take a swing at George Bush and his handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis. "This man called President Bush has a lot to answer for," the Irish actor told reporters on Saturday. "I don't know if this man is really taking care of America. This government has been shameful."

Matt Dillon was also in town to promote Crash, the Los Angeles-based race relations drama in which he stars as a violent cop. Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer showcased Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, a murder-mystery-comedy involving a cop, a thief and an actress, while comedy director Harold Ramis presented Ice Harvest, starring John Cusack as a small-town lawyer who hatches a scheme to swindle Wichita's local mafia.

At the weekend, Roman Polanski, who lives in Paris, travelled to Normandy to present an award to screenwriter Robert Towne, his partner on Chinatown and Frantic.

Coming up is the third feature by Rebecca Miller, the offspring of the late, great playwright Arthur Miller, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, a drama about a father and daughter living on a remote island. Also on show will be Steve Buscemi's Lonesome Jim, the story of a New Yorker heading back to his native Indiana.

The Deauville festival runs September 2-11.

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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