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The Deauville American Film Festival makes a triumph of the black comedy LaRoy

The jurors of the 49th American Film Festival, led by their president Guillaume Canet, wanted to laugh.

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The Deauville American Film Festival makes a triumph of the black comedy LaRoy

The jurors of the 49th American Film Festival, led by their president Guillaume Canet, wanted to laugh. Their prize list, delivered this Saturday evening, is a triumph for comedies and stories focused on the absurd. The jury awarded its grand prize to the black comedy LaRoy.

In this debut film from Shane Atkinson, a suicidal hardware store employee recently cheated on by his wife (John Milagro) is mistaken for a hitman. Deciding to play the game, he does not understand the gear in which he puts his finger. His sponsor demands the untraceable money that was in the victim's safe and Ray discovers that his small Texas town is full of blackmailers. All these adventures between tragicomedy and absurdity have earned LaRoy numerous and laudatory comparisons with the works of the Coen brothers.

LaRoy also walks away with the audience award and the critics’ award. Arousing enthusiasm in Deauville, the film, shot in barely 22 days in New Mexico and produced by the Frenchman Sébastien Aubert, found a distributor after its screening on the boards. ARP will release it theatrically in April 2024.

Guillaume Canet and his jurors awarded two jury prizes. One in the poetic and biting Fremont. Consider the daily life of an Afghan refugee, a former translator for the American army, who writes the messages found in the Chinese “fortune cookies” produced by the biscuit company in San Francisco for which she works. Donya, who is trying to break her loneliness and get out of her community that blames her for helping Americans, leaves funny and very personal little words in this tender black and white portrait of the Iranian-British director Babak Jalali. Fremont will be released in theaters on December 6, 2023.

The other jury prize goes to the hallucinatory journey The Sweet East by Sean Prince Williams. A jaded student, Lilian takes advantage of a school trip to run away and discover the United States. The further this “Alice” moves from Washington, the deeper she sinks into today’s fashionable wonderland. Anti-capitalist punks, white supremacist university professors, Western Hollywood directors, young Muslims fascinated by weapons, the kid who plays on her charm without ever putting anyone in her bed meets all of America's marginalized and conspiracy theorists. This waking nightmare, carried by an intense young actress named Talia Ryder, also won the Louis Roederer Foundation Prize for Revelation 2023, awarded by the jury chaired by Mélanie Thierry.

This list embraces films which emerged very quickly from a competition tending towards the intimate but too often falling into the anecdotal. The only regret is the absence on the podium of the very beautiful Past Lives - Nos vies passé by Céline Song. Autobiographical story that questions elective affinities, being in the right place at the right time, the mark left on us by those who love us, what they take from us with them.

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