King Mohammed VI and his wife Princess Lalla Salma hosted a gala dinner for the film festival's special guests
Photo: © AFP
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Legendary actress Catherine Deneuve presents Mulholland Drive director David Lynch with one of the festival's first trophies
Photo: © AFP

Just two months after marrying Morocco's King Mohammed VI in the country's first ever public royal wedding, Princess Lalla Salma took her place at his side once again for a very public occasion - the second annual Marrakesh Film Festival.

In a clear indication that the princess is to have the modern, high profile the king promised. Lalla Salma chatted with international movie stars and legendary directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Matt Dillon, and French actress Catherine Deneuve at a gala dinner hosted by the royal couple.

In another of the star-studded events at the festival, Mulholland Drive director David Lynch received the Star trophy, a special recognition gong, from Catherine Deneuve during a spectacular awards ceremony staged in the 16th-century El Badii Palace.

About 70 feature films and 55 shorts from Bollywood to Brazil will be screened during the festival, projected in open air cinemas at the palace and in the city’s famed central square. Ten international films are up for awards, with Martin Scorsese set to be honoured by the king with the Commander of the Order of Ouissem Alaouite, the highest distinction of the north African country.

French actress Jeanne Moreau, who says the event is “unlike any other”, heads up the film jury along with Tunisian director Moufida Tlatli. Joining the two in evaluating this year’s selections are a number of directors, including her compatriot Josee Dayan, Morocco’s Nabil Ayouch and Taiwan’s Edward Yang.

The Marrakesh film festival closes on September 22.

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