The Paris Cinema Festival kicked off its 10th birthday celebration on Thursday night with famous friends like Kylie Minogue, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Olivier Assayas and Charlotte Rampling and a little bit of time travel with a screening of Leos Carax’ Holy Motors.
As temperatures outside reached nearly 90 degrees, an upbeat Minogue enjoyed her return to France on the red carpet after the film premiered to strong reviews in May’s Cannes Film Festival Competition.
“I love France and I love Paris and I’m thrilled to be here,” the singer and actress said, adding: “I speak good emergency French. I can get myself into or out of trouble.”
“It was an extraordinary, magical, mental, challenging, liberating experience,” Minogue said of working with Carax on the film, adding that the movie’s reception in Cannes was an unexpected bonus. “My whole experience has been a surprise. When I signed on to the project, no one even mentioned Cannes,” she told THR. “Even if I end up in a similar situation, it will never be like the first time.”
The premiere was a Cannes reunion of sorts as this year’s competition juror and fashion designer Gaultier showed up fashionably late just before the screening. “I loved the film in Cannes so much that I wanted to see it again,” he explained to THR.
Even as Gaultier added glam to the festival, festival president Rampling made sure to point out: “It’s an engaged festival of art house films, not necessarily a cinema of glamour and entertainment,” she said. “We hope that people will find things they like in this cinema we’ve chosen for them, and also things they didn’t know before.”
Rampling arrived side by side with Paris’ deputy mayor Christophe Girard who told THR: “It’s a festival that, in 12 days, explains what Paris is. Paris is the world capital of cinema with 400 screens and more than 1,000 film shoots per year. The whole world is inspired by Paris.”
While Minogue may have stolen the spotlight on Thursday night, the real star of the festival is Hong Kong, whose film industry will be celebrated throughout the event in partnership with the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
As part of its celebration of Hong Kong, the fest will pay homage to Assayas’ career with screenings of every film the French director has made including Demonlove, Clean and acclaimed biopic Carlos.
Assayas told THR: “I’m very flattered, especially because it’s part of a Hong Kong retrospective. I’ve always felt like I was half-way between Paris and Hong Kong.”
The Paris Cinema Festival runs June 29–July 10.