"Notre-Dame on Fire" festival premieres as Annaud makes a comeback to Hollywood

Possibly more than any other French director, Jean-Jacques Annaud has always felt at home creating movies in Hollywood thanks to the epic and spectacular tendencies of the American cinema industry's center. The 78-year-old Oscar-winning director of "The Name of the Rose," "Seven Years in Tibet," and "Enemy at the Gates" is now making a comeback to Hollywood with "Notre-Dame On Thriller'' "Fire," which is based on the famous Paris cathedral fire. The American French Film Festival (TAFF) organizers revealed on Tuesday that his film will have its Los Angeles gala premiere on opening night, and Annaud talked to AFP over the phone from France's capital at the time. "I'm currently distant from Los Angeles and near Notre Dame. But a piece of my heart still belongs in Los Angeles, "said Annaud. He claimed that the tale of the 2019 fire that destroyed a 12th-century Gothic monument in Paris was "a great drama that only a mad Hollywood screenplay writer could invent." "Notre Dame on Fire" dramatizes the story of firefighters who risked their lives to extinguish flames before the entire cathedral was destroyed – and the mistakes and tragedies that delayed the initial response. The film combines authentic archive footage of the fire with scenes taken by Annaud to recreate the event. It follows a security officer who examined the wrong cathedral attic for flames after the initial alarm went out, the fire engines trapped in Paris traffic, and the supervisor who couldn't get his self-service "Velib" bicycle to function as he rushed to the scene. According to Annaud, "I had the sensation that I had a goldmine when I was writing the screenplay... it was so odd, so amazing." The video, which was released in Europe earlier this year, depicts how millions of people around the world watched in terror as the cathedral's renowned spire collapsed and much of its old roof was destroyed. The Notre-Dame cathedral generally received approximately 12 million global visitors per year, and Americans have been generous benefactors to an international fundraising push to reconstruct the landmark. The cathedral, according to Annaud, "was much more than a symbol of Paris, France, or even Catholicism or Christianity" throughout the entire world. "It was far higher than that. It represented permanency and served as a metaphor for the demise of Western society." The attendance at the festival the following month is part of Annaud's ongoing love affair with Hollywood, which he claims frequently deviates from French film traditions in terms of scope and finance. According to Annaud, American filmmaking places greater emphasis on movement and the visual than the French New Wave approach, which originated in the 1950s from theater and literature and stressed speech. "Visually compelling stories are meant to be told in films. Otherwise, it's a radio program, another game, or anything else "he explained The speaker said, "If they get the chance to be seen on the big screen, they want to fill it with individuals who aren't just talking like on television." "Final Cut" by Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of "The Artist," is one of the movies showing at this year's TAFF, which takes place from October 10 to 16. "The Worst Ones" and "Full Time," two films recently nominated to a shortlist of French films for submission to next year's Oscars, will also be on display. Maimouna Doucoure's earlier film "Cuties," which was released by Netflix and sparked international controversy over claims of hypersexualizing young girls, will also be featured on Amazon Prime. The festival concludes with Dominik Moll's "The Night of the 12th" and a theatrical showing of Olivier Assayas' HBO French-American miniseries "Irma Vep," based on his 1996 film of the same name.