US and France bury hatchet at LA film fest

13th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

LOS ANGELES, April 12 (AFP) - The United States and France on Tuesday left simmering political tensions over the war in Iraq behind them, launching one of America's most popular French film festivals.

LOS ANGELES, April 12 (AFP) - The United States and France on Tuesday left simmering political tensions over the war in Iraq behind them, launching one of America's most popular French film festivals.

Legendary French director Claude Lelouch kicked off the ninth annual City of Lights, City of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles, which last year drew 7,000 fans, with the world premiere of his new film "Men and Women."

But even as Franco-American differences persist over the US invasion of Iraq, filmmakers said cinema was a powerful cultural force that could shatter political divisions and diminish tensions between nations.

"It is the very role of cinema to go over international borders, to go beyond barriers and to break down barriers," said Greek-born Costa-Gavras whose French film "The Ax" makes its US premiere at the festival on Saturday.

He acknowledged the mutual frictions in US-French ties and widespread criticism in France of US foreign policy, but said: "We never do it with bad spirit or enemy spirit, but we do it with friendship."

This year's City of Lights, City of Angels festival - which is designed to build a bridge between audiences and filmmakers in Paris and Los Angeles - features nine US movie premieres.

Lelouch's long-awaited 50th film, "Men and Women" - a follow up to his classic 1966 film "A Man and A Woman" and telling intertwined stories about love, marriage, success and death - kicked off the festival late Monday.

The film is a fusion of two films the director has been working on for years but, after the first one, "The Human Race: Les Parisiens," failed to thrill audiences, he melded the two movies together.

"Things don't always work out in the way you would like," he told the audience. "But I'm proud of this film. The stories touch me very much."

He said that almost 40 years on, the follow up to "A Man and a Woman" told virtually the same story but in a different way.

"That is because while many things have progressed since then, love has not changed. In fact, love may have actually taken a few steps back," the director said.

Among the 19 films in the April 11-17 film festival will be the US West Coast premiere of writer-director Bertrand Tavernier's drama on child trafficking, "Holy Lola."

Other highlights include Philippe Lioret "The Light" (L'Equipier), "The Story of My Life" (Mensonges et Trahisons, et Plus Si Affinite), directed by Laurent Tirard, and the documentary "10th District Court" (10eme Chambre, Instants d'Audience) by Raymond Depardon, about the French judicial system.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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