Bonjour, friends and francophiles from around Australia. It’s coming up to one of my favourite times of the year, the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival. Australians have a real love affair with French Films and this annual festival is the biggest in the world, outside of France, of course.
In 2023 there are plenty of comedies, dramas, romance, thrillers and family films on offer. There is really something for every cinematic taste. She Society were excited to attend a special preview screening event at Palace James Street. Here we enjoyed some delicious refreshments and conversations with friends, before catching a sneak peek of the films to come and a look at the new Michel Hazanavicius meta – zombie comedy Final Cut (Coupez!).
On entering the cinema we were greeted by the friendly Jerome Carujo (Director of Alliance Francaise Brisbane) who told us where we would be seated and invited us to enjoy a glass of Lanson champagne. Lanson is one of the partners of the festival. Alas, I was still doing Febfast but my friend said it was a very good champagne. Next time!
We chatted to the charming Karine Māuris (Cultural Attachée of the French Embassy). Karine has been the Artistic Director of the Alliance French Film Festival since 2020. It’s her job to watch over 100 films and choose the best of the best for the festival. Karine had laughed her way through The Final Cut when it was shown in Cannes. She said we were in for a treat if we persevered through the first twenty minutes. You’ll see why when you watch the film.
At both Palace Cinemas in Brisbane there will be special events surrounding the Film Festival. The Opening Night Gala shares the movie Masquerade starring Pierre Niney and Isabelle Adjani. Set in the dreamy Cote D’Azur, it tells the story of an aspiring dancer whose dreams are dashed through a debilitating injury. Succumbing to laziness, Adrien must rely on his beauty to seduce older, wealthy women to support his lavish lifestyle. When a plan, with seductive Margot, to fleece a local realtor goes wrong, plans spiral out of control. It’s a glamorous, sexy and dramatic start to the festival in one of my favourite genres – mystery / thriller.
A Taste of France promises another Special Event with the screening of the comedy/ drama based on the life of champion pastry chef Yazid Ichemraheim’s own autobiography. It’s a feel good film that will have you laughing and crying. A special Harmony Day event shares the movie, The Black Pharoah, The Savage and The Princess, an animated feature taking you on a trip through time. This family friendly film is based on legends of the past, with one defining message – love heals all.
For me I like the look of comedies Silver Rockers, Two Tickets to Greece and Happy 50. The dramas Country Cabaret, November and The Colours Of Fire are also on my list. There are so many great films it is difficult to choose just one. A special screening of classic, Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) is a restored retro – cult -classic from the 80’s that is truly a feast for the senses.
If quirky is more your style Final Cut may appeal. This film was the standout opening night hit at the Cannes Festival in 2022. The first twenty minutes is a strange mix of movie making, blood and gore in B grade movie style. I did not find it too scary but for the squeamish it might test you.
It is a film within a film which shares the vision of the film’s director who is determined to bring his zombie/slasher film to life in spite of a low budget and apathetic characters. It needs to be made in one master cut and hilarity ensues as the film keeps rolling no matter what. It was clever, witty and at times heartwarming, our preview audience found it laugh out loud. Fans of Tarantino will delight in this entertaining and rather odd film. My guest and I loved it despite not being sure at first and not being horror fans at all. We do love a good comedy, though and this film was very funny and insightful.
The Alliance Francaise Film Festival will run in Brisbane from 15 March to 12 April and for the first time will expand to the Gold Coast from March 29. For a taste of French culture, cinema and unique storytelling you can find session times at your local Palace Cinemas. Will you be heading along? I will definitely look forward to being charmed again by the magic of French film and its bold and beautiful way of telling stories. I hope I have whet your appetite for the films to come. Bon Appetit!
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).