Frances McDormand,

guest of honor of the Lumière festival 2019

Posted on 25.09.2019


The favorite heroine of the Coen brothers, winner of two Oscars and quite a character, is a guest of honor of the Lumière festival 2019.


Frances McDormand Alison Rosa 2© Alison Rosa



An unforgettable image, one-third into Fargo (1996): Marge Gunderson is sleeping peacefully in bed next to her husband, Norm, an amateur painter, when the phone rings, calling her to the scene of a triple homicide at the edge of a snowy road. No one would have bet a dime on the remarkable deductive qualities of a pregnant cop from Brainerd (Minnesota), a town in the middle of nowhere. Except that we’re talking about Frances McDormand, filmed by her husband, Joel Coen, delivering dialogue written by her brother-in-law, Ethan Coen. This role of an even-tempered and lucid woman with bright blue eyes and a cleft chin would earn McDormand her first Academy Award.


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She met the Coens twelve years earlier, landed her first movie role in Blood Simple (1984), married Joel, played a slew of supporting characters, and attracted attention from (major) English filmmakers such as Ken Loach (for Hidden Agenda), John Boorman (for Beyond Rangoon) or Alan Parker (for Mississippi Burning, which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress). Not enough of a “starlet” for American films? Everything would change after Fargo; this daughter of a traveling Canadian pastor, a Yale University graduate, was about to see a field of career possibilities.



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She suddenly finds herself working with the likes of Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) or Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), then starring in the mini-series by Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge, adapted from the novel by Elizabeth Strout. Frances McDormand has the art of transforming ordinary heroines into extraordinary ones by the complexity she brings to her roles and her sense of detail and subtext. She is brilliant, recently garnering a second Oscar for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh.



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She has just turned 60 and does not hide her age: "The prevailing ageism condemns us not to go beyond age 45," she comments. “But an older woman has accumulated wisdom and knows how to respond in urgent situations. If audiences can no longer identify with a woman of that age, if everyone ends up looking alike, it explains why our culture is so immature." We bet that Marge Gunderson could not have said it better. Frances McDormand is one of the guests of honor of the Lumière festival 2019, where she will introduce works from her filmography and two great classics of American cinema. She will also meet the festivalgoers at the Comédie Odéon for a master class.



Frances McDormand will introduce the following screenings:


Mississippi Burning by Alan Parker (1988, 2h08)
Sunday, October 13 at 10:30 am at the Pathé Bellecour


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh (2017, 1h55)
Sunday, October 13 at 6:00 pm at the UGC Ciné Cité Confluence


Fargo by Ethan and Joel Coen (1996, 1h38)
Sunday, October 13 at 7:15 pm at the Institut Lumière


Almost Famous by Cameron Crowe (2000, 2h02)
Monday, October 14 at 11:00 am at the Lumière Terreaux


Olive Kitteridge (Episodes 1 & 2) by Lisa Cholodenko (2014, 1h56)
Monday, October 14 at 5:30 pm at the Pathé Bellecour


Mississippi Burning by Alan Parker (1988, 2h08)
Wednesday, October 16 at 11:00 am at the Comoedia


And two big classics of American cinema:


The Night of the Hunter by Charles Laughton (1955, 1h33)
Sunday, October 13 at 5:00 pm at the Pathé Bellecour


Stagecoach by John Ford (1939, 1h36)
Monday, October 14 at 6:30 pm at the Comoedia


See the program of the Frances McDormand retrospective here


Please note: The Olive Kitteridge series by Lisa Cholodenko, produced by HBO in 2014, is available in its entirety on the platform OCS, an official partner of the Lumière festival.


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Categories: Lecture Zen