It hardly seems a year since one of my favourite Brisbane events- The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival was here. Yet, She Society were treated to a lovely launch and advanced screening to mark the advent of this year’s festival. Palace Cinemas, Kath Rose and members of Alliance Francaise were our gracious hosts for the evening.The festival, now in its 29th year will screen a range of dramas, comedies, biopics, period films, romances and even some animated films. Well -loved iconic stars such as Juliette Binoche, Vincent Cassel, Vanessa Paradis, Isabelle Huppert and crowd favourite- Gerard Depardieu will grace the screens at our local Palace Cinemas.The festival will run from 8 March to 4 April and promises a range of events and an array of films to suit everyone.
Guests were treated to some fine French Opera champagne and delicious canapés including pissaledier, duck foiegras on crusty baguettes and gougeres ( French cheese puffs). Local identities Mildred Ellwood, She Society’s own Amanda Goddard, Isabeau from Parisian in Brisbane and Paul Hunt were just some of the lucky guests enjoying a pre Valentine’s Day outing.
Alliance Francaise representatives explained that the French Film Festival here in Australia is the biggest outside of France. In 2017 the festival was a great success with more than 174, 500 attendees across Australia. Tracey Viera – CEO of Screen Queensland said they were delighted to once again be supporting such a well – loved festival.
A new initiative at this year’s festival will be discounted tickets for students during the day which will enable students of all ages to experience the festival without breaking the bank. These discounted tickets will be selling for between $ 13 – $14.50. I’m sure this initiative will bring a whole new audience into the theatres to experience the magic of French Film.
See You Up There
Launch attendees were treated to a screening of ‘ Au Revoir La- Haut’ or ‘See You Up There’. This historic drama was adapted from the best selling , award winning novel by France’s answer to James Elroy, Pierre Lemaitre. Albert Dupontel plays a starring role in the film in which he also dons the hats of writer and director. He has done a superb job here with the early battle scenes rated as the best he’s ever seen by my 24 year old son who accompanied me to the screening. The eclectic crowd all clapped at the end of the film which had mesmerised us all.
The movie tells the story of Albert and Edouard, two unlikely friends who come together after surviving trench warfare just as WW1 comes to its conclusion. Edouard saves Albert from being buried alive and Albert returns the favour by saving his comrade Edouard, who ends up being horribly disfigured after being hit with mortar fire. The friends stay together after the war with Edouard becoming addicted to morphine and designing an array of elaborate masks to cover his disfigurement.
Edouard is a talented artist and the pair concoct a plan to sell phoney French monuments to French towns honouring their dead. This stunning plan is as dangerous as it is compelling to watch.
Add to the mix a distant controlling father, a sadistic army captain, a distraught sister and a sassy orphan and you get one cracker of a movie. Fans of the crime writing of Pierre Lemaitre will not be disappointed.
Flipping through the program it is very difficult to choose which films to see. From Opening Night where the offering is the hilarious comedy- ‘ C’est La Vie’, in which a wedding threatens to erupt into a complete nightmare through to the Closing Night comedy-romance ‘ 50 Is The New 30 ‘and everything in between.
The biopic of ‘Rodin’ is high on my list , as it will be for my many art – loving friends. Not only does the film explore Rodin’s craft but it also gives an insight into his ill-fated romance with Camille Claudel.
Comedy ‘ Rock ‘N Roll’ with my favourites Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard also sounds like a hoot. In this film, Guillaume begins filming a movie with model turned actress Camille Rowe before he realises that he is just not “ rock and roll” enough for the younger generation. This realisation spawns a ridiculous ego trip but will his wife, the busy Cotillard, even notice?
Another that caught my eye is ‘ Back To Burgundy’ which promises a feast for the eyes with a drama set in wine country where three siblings band together to maintain their father’s legacy. A love letter to France’s great loves ‘ Cinema and Wine’ , patrons can also attend an event on 15 March to enjoy a wine and cheese tasting before the screening.
This year’s offerings are a wonderful mixed bag and shows that French film making is willing to push the boundaries, can be great fun and is not afraid to showcase this country’s rich history and setting. For a full program click here! I know I will be enjoying many hours being swept away to one of my favourite places on earth. J’Adore France!