A packed house gave a proper send-off to the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s closing-night screening at Palm Springs High School’s Richards Center for the Arts.
Although definitive attendance figures have not yet been tabulated, there were impressive lines for the 180 films from 77 countries screened over two weeks. The total could surpass last year’s135,000 patrons.
Michael Lerman, artistic director of the film festival, presented the screening of The Last Movie Star. It was an appropriate choice to close out the fest: The Last Movie Star is set at a grassroots film festival in Nashville where star Burt Reynolds is featured as an aging star lured into accepting a lifetime achievement award. Director Adam Rifkin and actress Ariel Winter attended the screening.
The Last Movie Star takes viewers on a humorously uncomfortable yet poignant journey into the past of Reynolds’ character. The story depicts the contrast between a the life of a film icon — one who sometimes made the wrong choices — and the cruel realities of aging.
An informative and light-hearted discussion with Lerman, Winter, and Rifkin followed the film; the director explained that Reynolds was his hero and the only actor he wanted in the role.
An after-party at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel followed the screening.