FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL
This year’s Alliance Française FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is being held in Sydney between the 27 February and 27 March, with other states to follow. Check https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/ or your local press for details. It promises, once again, to deliver a highly tasty smorgasbord of films under the banners of Team Spirit, Crazy Love, Modern Families, Creative Icons, Documentaries, Giggle and Grin, Everyday Heroines, Tour De France and Family Time.
The Festival features the cream of the current crop of directors plus a host of newcomers. Internationally renowned directors include François Ozon, Claire Denis, Laurent Cantet, André Téchiné, Michel Hazanavicius, Jacques Doillon and Cédric Klapisch. Some of the actors well-known to Australian audiences are Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Gael Garcia Bernal, Mathieu Almaric, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Juliette Binoche, Fanny Ardant and Gérard Depardieu. All in all there are 50 films and documentaries on display, so that old cliché ‘there’s something for everyone’ is literally true in this case.
The opening night film, C’Est La Vie, a comedy directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, takes its audience to a wedding that threatens to erupt into utter chaos, while the closing night film, Valerie Lemercier’s 50 Is The New 30, also a comedy, is about a woman dealing with becoming ‘un certain âge’. It’s accompanied by a Portuguese Fado score that promises to be simply stunning.
Films to look out for include Robin Campillo’s Cannes Grand Prix-winning BPM (Beats Per Minute), covering sexual and political activism during Francois Mitterrand’s government in the early ‘90s; See You Up There, an historical drama directed by Albert Dupontel about a shockingly wounded rank-and-file WWI veteran who concocts a plan to sell phony monuments to French towns honouring their dead; Double Love, directed by Francois Ozon, described as a twisted, erotic thriller; Custody, by Xavier Legrand, charts a family’s struggles with the fallout of divorce; Edouard Deluc’s Gaugin stars Vincent Cassel as the French Impressionist painter who lived in self-imposed exile in Polynesia in 1891 while Rodin, directed by Jacques Doillon, features Vincent Lindon as France’s beloved sculptor. Documentaries include Christian Sonderegger’s debut feature-length film Coby, which deals with gender change, and Clément Cogitore’s Braguino, which is set in a Russian outpost 700 kilometres from any human presence. There are, of course, a number of films that could only be made in France, such as Jérôme Reybaud’s 4 Days In France, Cédric Klapisch’s Back To Burgundy and Hubert Charuel’s Bloody Milk, all of which are shot on locations across the country.
The 2018 Alliance Française French Film Festival is a treat waiting to be devoured. Philippe Platel, the Festival’s Artistic Director, says “courage, generosity, equality and team spirit are all strong recurring themes [in the Festival] that show the unyielding spirit of unity in France today.” Vive la France!