Thursday, January 24, 2013

24th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival Australia

The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival sponsored by Peugeot (man I love me a Peugeot, my first car was a 306 diesel and he's not been replaced satisfactorily, if anyone at Peugeot is reading this and wants to sponsor the blog by giving me a free car, I'm all ears) this week announced it's selection of 43 films for the 24th edition of the premiere foreign film event in Australia. Playing in cinemas across six cities in March and April they promise a program that will enchant the most discerning cinephile with an eclectic selection of the finest movies to emerge from France over the last 12 months.

I won't lie to you, this festival has a habit of packing its schedule with comedies aimed at middle aged women but in amongst the excessive volume of "fun", "charming" and "vibrant" films there look to be some real cinematic gems worth taking the time to see.

The festival will visit the following cities:
Sydney 5- 24 March
Melbourne 6 - 24 March
Canberra 7 - 26 March
Brisbane 14 March - 4 April
Adelaide 19 March - 7 April
Perth 19 March - 7 April

which is fine for me, Perth usually being left out of interesting events however means I can sympathise with those cinephiles in other Australian cities who aren't considered important or educated enough for subtitled movies.

In an age of digital projection screening these types of movies is easier and surely cheaper than ever, isn't it about time that we all had the opportunity to see something other than Hollywood films in our own towns? Let's get this expanded, no city left behind, demand more from your local cinemas people!

Enough grandstanding, here's my selection of seven festival highlights:

Apres Mai (Something in the Air/After May)
Dir. Olivier Assayas 

1968 was a year of great unrest in Europe, it was the year that saw revolution in the streets of Paris, the year Godard declared the death of cinema; the wake of these tumultuous events is the setting for Olivier Assayas new loosely autobiographical coming of age film. A multilingual international drama, that takes place in France, Italy and England. Starring Clément Metayer, Lola Créton, Félix Armand.

Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise)
Dir. Marcel Carne

Voted the "Best French Film in History" by the French Film Academy in 1990 this 190 minute film has been digitally restored and will close the festival. Filmed during the German occupation, this French milestone centers around the theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Ernest et Celestine (Ernest & Celestine)
Dir. Benjamin Renner Vincent Patar Stéphane Aubier

A wonderful 2D animation realised in vibrant watercolours, tells the story of Ernest, a grumpy but affable bear who wants to be an artist, and Celestine, a mouse who wants to avoid a dental career. The unlikely friends live in two parallel worlds - the bears above ground and the mice in a subterranean village below. When their improbable friendship and criminal activities are revealed, they must stick together to withstand the disapproval and intolerance from both worlds.

Dans la Maison (In The House)
Dir. Francois Ozon

A metafictional thriller. A teenage boy writes stories about a fellow classmates family and slowly the lines between reality and fiction begin to blur. A captivating and ironic look at the art of storytelling itself, Ozon has crafted a clever and seductive film.

Laurence Anyways
Dir. Xavier Dolan

From the 23 year old writer/director/star of Les Amours Imaginaires this is the story of a wild and unusual love. Set in the 1980s and 1990s, a man tries to salvage his relationship with his fiancée after revealing to her his aspirations of becoming a woman. Rated 8.4 by Bonjour Tristesse, this was always going to be a must-see.

A Perdre la Raison (Our Children/Loving Without Reason)
Dir. Joachin Lafosse

A success at Cannes including an award for best actress this is a relatively slow moving story of a devastating relationship as a young woman's increasingly intolerable family situation leads her to commit a desperate act. This was Belgium's entry for the Academy Awards and is the subject of another fine review at Bonjour Tristesse.

L'enfant d'en Haut (Sister)
Dir. Ursula Meier

A beautifully shot film about the relationship between Simon and Louise, two young siblings struggling to survive alone near a Swiss ski resort. Capturing the gulf in the lifestyles of the rich tourists and the poverty stricken locals plus the exploration of the sibling relationship this film won the Silver Bear in a Mike Leigh led jury at the Berlin Film Festival.


  1. That's awesome! Haven't seen any of these, but I'm interested in all of them. I really need to watch Children of Paradise, since it's available on DVD.

    1. Sometimes these foreign film festivals that tour Australia are actually pretty good. I love that I managed to find stuff that I really wanted to see. There's a Brazilian one coming up soon too but I couldn't find one film worth the effort and time required to go to the cinema.

      Children of Paradise is on Criterion I think, even more reason to see it if you needed any!

      (see other comment for apology for being an absent blogging friend)