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French Film Festival turns 30

Ariel Larkey 7 March 2019

Bon anniversaire!

Celebrating 30 years, the Alliance Française French Film Festival returns to Palace Electric this week for an entire month of films. To say this year’s line-up is sizeable would be somewhat of an understatement. The 2019 edition is a veritable banquet. With nine categories fleshing out the movie menu, there is a grand total of 54 films.

To give you an idea of the 2019 programming, the nine categories are as follows: Paris Snapshots; Critically Acclaimed; Summertime; Family Anew; Lighten Up!; Moving Mountains; Danger Sphere; Across Borders and Kids & Family.

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The Trouble With You (2018)

Opening the festival on 7 March is the Australian Premiere of Cannes feature The Trouble With You, a screwball romantic action-comedy starring fan-favourite Audrey Tautou (Amélie). Kicking off at 6:30 pm with a glass of wine and catering, tickets for the event are $55/$60 for members/non-members. Screening at 7:15 pm followed by an after-party.

Closing the festival on Wednesday 10 April will be another Australian Premiere in Kiss & Tell starring the legendary Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool). This messy-mosaic ensemble-comedy is actor Michel Blanc’s latest directorial effort over 15 years on from Summer Things. Reception with food and drink upon arrival from 6:30 pm; screening to follow at 7 pm. Tickets are $35/$40 for members/non-members.

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Wine Calling (2018)

Littered throughout the festival are six Special Events including a Ladies’ Night screening presented by HerCanberra (Dumped); a romantic comedy night (Rolling To You); a Special presentation from the Embassy of Belgium (Keep Going); a Special screening from the High Commission of Canada (Genesis); and a gastronomy night screening of the original documentary (Wine Calling) which inspired last year’s acclaimed festival feature Back To Burgundy.

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The Sisters Brothers (2018)

In a special collaboration with Enlighten, there will also be a Western Session presented at the National Rose Garden of The Sisters Brothers, an English-language comic-western from famed French cineaste Jacques Audiard (A Prophet; Rust and Bone) starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal and John C. Reilly.

Boasting 41 Australian Premieres, this 30th instalment of the festival provides plenty to peruse.

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Sink or Swim (2018)

There are fashion documentaries (Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent and Jean-Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic); the remarkable true story of postman-turned-architectural maverick Joseph Ferdinand Cheval (The Ideal Palace); period-drama retelling of the 1789 French revolution (One Nation; One King); navy-set coming-of-age feminist drama (Raising Colours); France’s answer to Tarantino in the sophomore feature from cinematic pedigree and acclaimed music-video director Romain Gavras (The World Is Yours); a dramatic look at the yellow-vest movement (At War); cutting contemporary Canadian comedy (The Fall of the American Empire); a French-Belgian-Georgian co-production examining Yazidi women at war with extremists (Girls of the Sun); France’s answer to Swimming With Men (Sink or Swim); and an experimental work from the seminal legend of French and world cinema, Jean-Luc Godard (The Image Book). That’s just a sample.

In light of recent events, director François Ozon’s newest work By the Grace of God, concerning sexual assault in the Catholic Church, is a particularly timely and topical inclusion.

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Last Year At Marienbad (1959)

A very special screening of Alain Resnais’ 1959 legendary French New Wave enigma Last Year At Marienbad will also grace this year’s festival in a gloriously restored 35mm print financed by Chanel – the fashion house themselves responsible for the gowns worn by the unnamed central female character.

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The Night Eats The World (2018)

Another particularly exciting addition in 2019 is the Danger Sphere. Genre buffs rejoice as the strand will spotlight five feature films replete with feminist reckoning in the bloody vein of I Spit On Your Grave (Revenge), desolate existentialist zombie catastrophe in the spirit of I Am Legend and 28 Days Later (The Night Eats the World), provocative other-worldly biological science-fiction (High Life), queer retro-porn murder-mystery (Knife + Heart), and a warped debut wearing a pastiche of influences on its sleeve and casting female actors in the roles of violent teenage boys on the island of Réunion (The Wild Boys).

Blood and gore of the New French Extremity aside, the festival will also feature three family films selected specifically for the kids: Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion; Dilili in Paris and Remi, Nobody’s Boy.

Encore screenings of the festival’s most popular films will take place from 11 – 14 April.

All festival films are restricted to persons 18 years of age and over, unless otherwise specified.

Adult tickets for the festival are $16.50/$21.00 for members/non-members. There are various discounts available for concessions, U25 & full-time students, documentary screenings, children 12 & under, and student weekday sessions before 4:30 pm.

There are almost 10+ screenings per day for the next month so pick up the Official Programme at Palace Electric and start highlighting!

For more information, visit the Official Website.

Bon festival!


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