Deauville American Film Festival

Jane Birkin cancels Deauville film festival appearance after stroke

The 74th Cannes Film Festival - Screening of "Jane par Charlotte" (Jane by Charlotte) France, July 7, 2021. Director Charlotte Gainsbourg, cast member Jane Birkin, producers Maxime Delauney and Mathieu Ageron and a guest pose on the red carpet.
The 74th Cannes Film Festival - Screening of "Jane par Charlotte" (Jane by Charlotte) France, July 7, 2021. Director Charlotte Gainsbourg, cast member Jane Birkin, producers Maxime Delauney and Mathieu Ageron and a guest pose on the red carpet. REUTERS - GONZALO FUENTES

British artist Jane Birkin, 74, has cancelled her participation at the Deauville film festival after experiencing a small stroke, her family said in a statement on Monday.

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The 47th edition of the American cinema extravaganza, which began on Friday, is presided over by Birkin's daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Birkin was reported to have had a minor stroke a few days ago, and is now "going well", her agent said, adding that the family had requested for their privacy to be respected.

The singer and actrice was heading to the Deauville American Film Festival to promote the film Jane par Charlotte, directed by her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg, who also happens to be the president of the jury for the 47th edition which opened on Friday.

Birkin was also due to attend the Ciné Rencontres festival in Cotentin in another part of Normandy but decided to cancel in order to recover.

Jane by Charlotte, screened for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival in July, out of competition, is an intimate portrait of Jane Birkin seen through the eyes of her daughter, who follows her on tour in Japan, to the family holiday house in Brittany and to Paris.

Through snippets of conversation, we get a candid, down-to-earth view of life behind the scenes of a famous family, including poignant references to Jane's life with the rebel of French music, Serge Gainsbourg. 

British-born movie actress Jane Birkin, left center, and her constant companion, French actor Serge Gainsbourg, right center, pose while they attended the International Film Festival, May 16, 1974, Cannes, France.
British-born movie actress Jane Birkin, left center, and her constant companion, French actor Serge Gainsbourg, right center, pose while they attended the International Film Festival, May 16, 1974, Cannes, France. ASSOCIATED PRESS - Jean Jacques Levy

Born 14 December, 1946 in London, Jane Birkin quickly became France's favourite anglaise, thanks to her association as muse for Gainsbourg, and a singer and actress in her own right.

"When I see that French people are still listening to his songs forty years on, I know they have become part of history, and they are a part of my history," she wrote in 2018 when her book Munkey Diaries was published.

It was at this time she also revealed her long battle with leukemia which started in the 1990s, a topic she further evokes in her the film Jane par Charlotte.

"Our lives are structured around those who have died," Charlotte Gainsbourg said in Cannes, in reference to her father, who died in 1991, and her step-sister photographer Kate Barry, who died in tragic circumstances at age 46 in 2013.

As well as appearing in Cannes, Jane Birkin was at the Francofolies festival in La Rochelle, performing tracks from both her latest album, written with Etienne Daho Oh Pardon tu dormais... as well as some Gainsbourg numbers.

True lies?

Elsewhere in Deauville at the weekend, American bad boy actor Johnny Depp made his red carpet debut on Sunday, to promote the out-of-competition film City of Lies by director Brad Furman which focuses on the mysterious deaths of rappers Notorious BIG and 2Pac. 

Inspector Russell Poole, played by Depp revisits the cold case twenty years later at the prompting of an alcoholic journalist, played by Forest Whitaker.

Johnny Depp at the press conference for the Deauville American Film Festival, 5 September, 2021.
Johnny Depp at the press conference for the Deauville American Film Festival, 5 September, 2021. LOIC VENANCE AFP

Mixing fiction and archival material, it reveals an investigation which was mismanaged by corrupt Los Angeles police, under the sway of local gangs.

On Saturday, it was over to Oliver Stone to present his out-of-competition JFK revisited: Through the Looking Glass. Thirty years after he made his first film JFK, he has joined forces with a team of med­ical and bal­lis­tics experts, his­to­ri­ans, and wit­ness­es, to present "compelling evi­dence" that in the John F Kennedy case, "con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry" is now "con­spir­a­cy fact".

Four films in competition were shown over the weekend: Pleasure, Blue Bayou, Pig and We are living things, out of the thirteen independent films in the running to take the place of The Nest which won top prize in 2020.

In total, 53 films are to be screened between the 3rd and the 12th of September 2021.

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