With critics describing the eight-day festival, which ends Sunday, as somewhat lackluster this year, attention has focused on the official blessing conferred by Minister of Culture Francois Leotard. No minister has ever attended before. In fact, Leotard's predecessor, Jack Lang, a Socialist, looked on the festival contemptuously as no more than a showcase for the American film industry and an agent of American cultural imperialism.
The Deauville festival is a good occasion to catch the images of America that are going to bombard the French in the months ahead. A visiting American may worry a bit about that. Both "Power" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," for example, two of the most popular films in the festival, glorify American technological ingenuity even when used for cheating and lying.
By the standards of a festival like Cannes, the Deauville festival is rather small, with few side shows. There are no topless starlets to tempt photographers. Studios don't throw lavish cocktail parties to drum up interest in their films.