Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.) She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program. She lives in Dana Point, CA with her family, where she interrupts her writing to watch the glorious sunsets. French Coast is her fourth novel. Visit Anita at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thanks to St. Martin's Press, we have one copy of French Coast for a lucky US reader...and so does Book Mama! Double your chances by entering her giveaway too. Goodreads also has a giveaway going on that ends tomorrow. (US/Canada.)
One of the most enjoyable parts of researching FRENCH COAST was learning about the Cannes Film Festival. The festival is held every May in Cannes and it is the most important film festival in the world. Movie people come from all over the world and hold parties on yachts and in suites at the Hotel Carlton-Intercontinental (where FRENCH COAST is set). Films from every continent are screened and the best film wins the prestigious Palm D'Or.
What I found most surprising is which movies that went on to become household names, got their start on the screen at Cannes. Here are five of my favorites:
At the top of my list is La Dolce Vita, which won the Palm d'Or in 1960. If you haven't seen this film directed by the Italian director Frederico Fellini and starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg, you must! It made the whole world fall in love with the Italian lifestyle and it holds up wonderfully after more than fifty years.
Pulp Fiction won the Palm d'Or in 1994. It is quite violent and not to everybody's taste but it won a huge cult following. It was directed by Quentin Tarantino and starred John Travolta and Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson. It is often credited with resurrecting John Travolta's career.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of my favorite movies. All you have to say is that it starred a young Catherine Deneuve and know it was set in Paris to know that it is going to be a delight. I first watched it when I studied French in college and it is one of those movies you never get tired of. Check out the costumes!
Apocalypse Now won the Palm D'Or in 1979. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and became famous even before its release for its grueling production schedule. It took over sixteen months to film in the jungles of Vietnam with a few near tragedies including a typhoon that wiped out the set. The finished movie that screened at Cannes was over three hours in length and went on to be on of the most acclaimed movies in cinematic history.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape and was scandalized and intrigued by the title. It was directed by Stephen Soderberg and starred Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, and James Spader. It was just as interesting as it sounded and went on to be a big success.
I can't wait to see which movies will be screened this year - and which ones we will be talking about in the near future!
Thanks to Anita for the movie recommendations and to St. Martin's Press for sharing French Coast with our readers.
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