The 30th French Film Festival – Brisbane

March 19, 2019

You would be forgiven for thinking you were in Paris if you visited the Palace Barracks on Thursday night. It was the launch of the 30th French Film Festival and over 750 people arrived to walk the vivid blue carpet and view the Opening Night Film- The Trouble With You. We were feted with delicious French style canapés from Moda, sampled French wines and champagne from Bordeaux and Beyond and listened to some rousing French tunes courtesy of a terrific French band. This year 54 French films are on offer so there is sure to be something for everyone. This festival goes from strength to strength every year and if the smiling faces all around me were any indication it seems that everyone was enjoying un bonne nuit.

Opening Night Film

This year’s Opening Night Film was a mix of comedy, crime and romance starring Adele Haenal, Pio Marmai, Vincent Elbaz and the ethereal Audrey Tatou. One of the hits of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival this sparkling new screwball comedy is an irresistible mix of laughs, action and romance. Set in one of my favourite parts of the world – The French Riviera, this rollcking film tells the story of detective , Yvonne who is the widow of the local police chief. Every evening Yvonne regales her son with ever more elaborate tales of his father’s bravery….. until she is horrified to learn that her husband was a bent cop who has caused the imprisonment of an innocent man, Antoine.

The fun begins when Yvonne tries to make amends. Antoine has trouble adjusting back into normal life and a trail of destruction and entanglements ensue which takes the audience on an outrageously funny rollicking ride. The audience members I spoke at the afterparty all thought the film was hilarious and a great choice for the eclectic Opening Night crowd.

Special Events

There are other special events running throughout the Festival at both Palace Barracks and Palace Centro. Sorry Angel, is a critically acclaimed drama that follows Arthur, a student from Brittany, and his love affair with a writer from Paris, Jacques. There are canapés and wine inspired by French flavours before the film. Another taste of France will precede the film, Wine Calling , a documentary that will immerse you in the flavours of the South of France. The Festival will conclude with an afternoon cocktail party and a showing of comedy – Kiss and Tell.

French Films

There are two screenings for the fashionistas amongst us. My pick is Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent. This film goes behind – the – scenes just before the fashion house was sold to Gucci in 1999. The second fashion film is Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic which shows this amazing contemporary designer’s latest obsession with the lavish Fashion Freak Show in the famous Folies Bergeres.

Jean Paul Gaultier Freak & Chic

Historical drama – One Nation , One King is an epic retelling  of the French Revolution and Memoirs Of War based on La Doleur, one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century, is a recollection of Paris during the Second World War.

There are a range of comedies, dramas, thrillers and even a selection of animated films. In Safe Hands exposes the conflicting conundrums faced by many women- those giving up their babies and those desperate to have their own This film is both informative and affecting. Another that caught my interest is the drama/ romance-  An Impossible Love, based on the novel by Christine Angot. In this film a young woman recounts the arc of her parent’s ill- fated love affair in three phases- the beginning of the romance, the fallout and its indelible effect on her relationship with her mother.

For one of the most exciting and important events on any Australian  Cinephiles calendar head to the French Film Festival.This celebration allows us to celebrate the shared French – Australian values of openness, diversity and awareness. It is the largest French Film Festival outside of France. With more films showing than ever before your hardest decision will be which ones to see. The 30th French Film Festival runs from 14 March – 14 April.

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