July 13 – 19, 2018Vol. 20, No. 6

French Actress to Receive MIFF's Lifetime Achievement Award

Dominique Sanda shows off her MIFF Lifetime Achievement Award, a wooden obelisk resembling a lighthouse with Maine scenes carved on the sides. Flanking her are Mike Perreault (L), Executive Director of the Maine Film Center, and Ken Eisen (R), Festival Programmer.

by Gregor Smith

The Maine International Film Festival will honor French actress Dominique Sanda with its Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony at the Waterville Opera House on Sunday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m. Along with the presentation will be a screening of her best known film, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1972.

"Dominique has a directorial filmography like no other actress," said MIFF Programming Director Ken Eisen in a press release. He noted that her first three films had "legendary directors" — The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Vittorio de Sica, The Conformist by Bernardo Bertolucci, and Une Femme Douce ("A Gentle Woman") by Robert Bresson — and that her fourth, First Love, was directed by "legendary actor" Maximilian Schell.

Eisen continued, "The most in-demand actress of the 1970s and into the '80s, Dominique hasn't stopped making movies — covering continents as well as decades over the course of her filmmaking. She has been honored at European film festivals but never here in North America — it's a pleasure to welcome her and her fine films to MIFF this year..."

Max von Sydow and Dominique Sanda in Steppenwolf (1974).

The award presentation and screening of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis will be the festival's capstone. Based on a novel by Giorgio Bassani, the film takes the viewer into the lives of the Finzi-Continis, an aristocratic family living on a bucolic estate in 1930s Italy. Adult siblings Alberto and Micol enjoy holding parties and tennis matches with their friends, but the family is Jewish and fascism is rising. Their wealth can protect them only for so long before their idyllic world is torn asunder.

MIFF will show seven other Dominique Sanda films this year, and Sanda will introduce them all in person. They are Une Femme Douce (1969), The Mackintosh Man (1973), Steppenwolf (1974), 1900 (1976), The Conformist (1970), Going Away (2013), and The Inheritance (1976).