I didn’t get to see Patrick. Not even for one second, not a single autograph or picture opportunity in sight! To be honest, after an entire week’s worth of germ-sharing here at the house, I should have just been happy to get out of bed and into Dinard today. So who is Patrick? If you have to ask, it’s time to improve your French pop culture. Patrick Bruel is a French singer-actor who inspired mass hysteria to the teenage girl set in the early 90s. He has since gone on to become a respected actor both onscreen and on-stage. Proof of his staying power as well as acting credentials, Patrick was the President of the Jury for this year’s 23rd Annual British Film Festival here in Dinard. He’s been a very crowd-friendly person over the past few days. A quick look at the Sunday paper while sipping my tea this morning proved that; I’ve seen enough pictures of him signing autographs in the paper to be slightly jealous of the lucky people who got to meet him. Dinard is not Cannes but for a few days in October, you never know who you’ll see! Over the years everyone from Kristen Scott Thomas to Roger Moore have come to Dinard during the festival. I even got to see Imelda Staunton (Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies) in 2007!
Known as the most British of French towns thanks to the wealthy expats who turned Dinard into a fashionable beach town in the early 19th century, Dinard celebrates the British film industry every year during the first week of October. This year’s festival ran from 3-7 October. Instead of a Palme d’Or, the winner takes home a Hitchcock d’Or! This year Shadow Dancer took home the Hitchcock d’Or! It also won the Prix du public (Public Prize). One of the neat things about the festival is that it includes not only the official festival with its jury, films in competition and the like but a whole range of pre-festival devoted to the local population. For four days prior to the festival, anyone with a little free time (and who wasn’t sick!) could take advantage of free screenings of recent British films! School children also had their own chance to get acquainted with British films via a School Festival/Festival Scolaire composed of a variety of children’s films including my personal favorite The Gruffalo. Even the official festival itself is open to all–passes (limited to 400) cost 70€ while tickets to individual screenings cost only 5.50€!
Things had pretty much wound down this afternoon when we finally made it into town. While you could still head off to a screening or sit down and listen to a bit of James Bond by the sea, most people we saw seemed content just to wander along the beach or talk things over seated inside a cafe or creperie. We ended our afternoon with ice cream instead of popcorn and a vow to see more next year! In the meantime, we’ll be having our own British film festival–a few DVDs, a couple of friends and a little bit of food should hold us over nicely!