DEAUVILLE, France -- First-time directors whose films are vying for the top prize at the Deauville Festival of American Cinema basked in the limelight Tuesday at the festival's midway point. Freshman writer-director Rian Johnson was on hand to introduce his Dashiell Hammett-inspired film, Brick, fresh from the Critic's Week sidebar at the Venice Film Festival. Johnson, who shot the $500,000 homage to the film-noir genre at his high school in the Southern Californian town where he grew up, was accompanied by the film's lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Both of the self-confessed Francophiles won a round of warm applause from the audience when they presented their film.
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