Returning to Luna Palace Cinemas for its 27th incarnation, the 2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival is ready to mesmerise with a dazzling line-up of superb contemporary features, a timeless classic and a fabulous new programme strand that will showcase 5 of France’s premier television series.
Commencing March 16 and running for 3 weeks until April 7, this much-loved celebration of French artistry is staged by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia and the gracious support of Peugeot.
ROSALIE BLUM, an enchanting comedy-drama from acclaimed screenwriter Julien Rappeneau, in his directorial debut, has been selected as the Festival’s Opening Night film and will make its Australian debut at a host of glamorous Galas around the country. Screening courtesy of Palace Films, Rosalie Blum tells the story of Vincent (Kyan Khojand), a thirty-something hairdresser who one morning experiences a powerful déjà-vu when the meets the gaze of the mysterious Rosalie Blum (played by the beguiling Noémie Lvovsky) and begins following her…a decision that will have unexpected and far-reaching consequences.
A fully restored version of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 classic, Contempt (Le Mépris) starring the ravishing Brigitte Bardot at the height of her career, will screen on Closing Night. Set against the backdrop of a conflicted film production, Contempt looks at the lengths that a failed playwright is prepared to take in order to win favour with a brash Hollywood producer and also stars Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli and, in a rare on-screen appearance, legendary director Fritz Lang.
Highlights of the impressive 2016 programme include:
ALL THREE OF US (Nous trois ou rien)
Cast: Kheiron, Leila Bekhti, Gérard Darmon, Zabou Breitman
Based on a true story, this inspiring yet poignant, comedy follows the adventures of a spirited Iranian family who flee the 1970s tumult of their homeland to start afresh in suburban Paris.
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD (Avril et le monde truqué)
Directors: Franck Ekinci & Christian Desmares
Voiced by: Marion Cotillard, Jean Rochefort
In this enthralling animated tale set in an alternate Paris of 1941 where steam and coal prevail and science has been banished, a teenage girl embarks upon a quest to thwart the sinister forces at work.
Director: Christian Vincent
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Éva Lallier
A feared Supreme Court judge is driven to ignore protocol when a former lover, for whom he still has feelings, is selected as a juror for a criminal trial over which he presides.
Director: Jacques Audiard
Cast: Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan
Concealing his past and seeking a new life in France, a former Tamil fighter adopts the identity of a dead man and recruits a young woman and orphaned child to pose as his family.
HEATWAVE (Coup de chaud)
Director: Raphaël Jacoulot
Cast: Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Grégory Gadebois, Karim Leklou
During a sweltering summer in a small Southern French town, a troubled young man’s erratic antics enrage his fellow villagers in search of a scapegoat for their mounting misfortunes.
IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN (L’Ombre des femmes)
Director: Philippe Garrel
Cast: Clotilde Courau, Stanislas Merhar, Lena Paugam
Amidst the backdrop of Paris, the romantic and professional lives of documentary filmmakers, Pierre and Manon, are tested when the intoxication of infidelity threatens to overwhelm their existence.
Director: July Delpy
Cast: Dany Boon, Julie Delpy, Vincent Lacoste, Karin Viard
A neurotic, Parisian sophisticate finds romance with an IT boffin whilst on holiday. But when her new love joins her in Paris, her 19 year-old son does his utmost to cunningly sabotage the relationship.
MACADAM STORIES (Asphalte)
Director: Samuel Benchetrit
Cast: Gustave Kervern, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Isabelle Huppert
Set against the unlikely backdrop of a dilapidated housing estate, this surreal, yet droll human drama follows the misadventures of six mismatched characters over the course of several days.
Director: Xavier Giannoli
Cast: Catherine Frot, André Marcon, Denis Mpunga
Wealthy Marguerite lives for the opera and despite being tone-deaf, often performs for her inner circle, who pander to her musical delusions. But disaster beckons when she decides the time is nigh for her professional debut.
MICROBE & GASOLINE (Microbe et Gasoil)
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Ange Dargent, Théophile Baquet, Audrey Tautou, Diane Besnier
Disillusioned with their families, two adolescent boys – the charismatic Gasoline and the introspective Microbe, ingeniously construct an automobile from spare parts and embark on a summer adventure.
MON ROI (Mon Roi)
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Bercot, Louis Garrel
Upon being admitted to a rehabilitation centre following a major skiing accident, lawyer Tony reflects on the tumultuous relationship she once shared with Georgio, her former husband.
ONE WILD MOMENT (Un moment d’égarement)
Director: Jean-François Richet
Cast: Vincent Cassel, François Cluzet, Alice Isaaz, Lola Le Lann
A holiday on the Corsican coast between two middle-aged men and their teenage daughters leads to a complicated yet erotic liaison, in this intoxicating comedy-drama.
PAPA OU MAMAN (Papa ou maman)
Director: Martin Bourboulon
Cast: Laurent Lafitte, Marina Foïs, Anne Le Ny, Michel Vuillermoz
In this subversive comedy, a couple’s seemingly perfect lives implode when both are offered jobs abroad. An all-out battle ensues with everything up ‘for grabs’…except custody of their three children!
TAJ MAHAL (Taj Mahal)
Director: Nicolas Saada
Cast: Stacy Martin, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Gina McKee
Left alone whilst her parents dine across town, the complacency of a bored teenager is shattered when terrorists attack her Mumbai hotel, forcing her to battle for survival.
THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT (Le Tout Nouveau Testament)
Director: Jaco Van Dormael
Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, Yolande Moreau
In this irreverent comedy, God, a grumpy, middle-aged man, leaves the safety of his shabby Brussels apartment in search of his errant 10 year-old daughter, who has fled their home to seek six new Apostles.
THE MEASURE OF A MAN (La Loi du marché)
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Karine Petit de Mirbeck, Matthieu Schaller
A decent, middle-aged man, desperate for work, finally lands a job as Head of Security for a supermarket, only to find himself immersed in a world where morality is clothed in many shades of grey.
THE SCENT OF THE MANDARINE (L’Odeur de la mandarine)
Director: Gilles Legrand
Cast: Olivier Gourmet, Georgia Scalliet, Dimitri Storoge
In the dying months of WW1, a widowed home-care nurse accepts a marriage proposal from her patient, a crippled cavalry officer, beginning a new battle for both as they try to find a degree of mutual happiness.
THE WAIT (L’Attente)
Director: Piero Messina
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Lou de Laâge, Giorgio Colangeli
At a remote Sicilian villa, a mother welcomes a young woman claiming to be the girlfriend of her absent son. But as the days pass and the two form a friendship, it becomes apparent that something is amiss.
THE WHITE KNIGHTS (Les Chevaliers blancs)
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Louise Bourgoin, Valérie Donzelli
In an anonymous African country an organization is established to repatriate young orphans to France. But not all is what it seems as the line between altruism and human trafficking becomes blurred.
VALLEY OF LOVE (Valley of love)
Director: Guillaume Nicloux
Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Isabelle Huppert, Dan Warber
Following an enigmatic summons from their dead son, a former couple reunite in Death Valley and explore their unresolved feelings, which leads to a mysterious epiphany.
The 2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival returns to Luna Palace Cinemas 16 March – 7 April, with sessions at Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX and Windsor Cinema.
Further information is available here and here.