There was great excitement as audiences once again gathered for the 33rd Brisbane Opening Night of the well loved Alliance Française French Film Festival. Nearly 700 people converged on the Palace Barracks for a night of film, music, friendship, champagne and treats from the fabulous Moda. As I entered the cinema I was excited to find a goodie bag filled with French favours. After being welcomed back by festival organisers and representatives from the French Embassy, we watched the extravagant Australian premiere of superb French film, Lost Illusions.
The festival opened with this captivating story based on the classic novel by Honore De Balzac. Lost Illusions is a spectacular film by Xavier Giannoli. It tells the story of a young idealist who learns that anything can be bought and sold. Set in 1821, we meet the handsome poet Lucien ( Benjamin Voisin ) who is poor but highly ambitious. Failing to make a name for himself in his provincial hometown, he naively follows his married patroness ( a luminous Cecile de France) to the glamorous beau monde of Paris.
But Lucien has entered a society more dangerous than he realises, and the venomous denizens of the salons ( brought to life superbly by Jeanne Balibar, Gerard Depardieu and Xavier Dolan) conspire to keep him out of their ranks. Lucien is forced to abandon his principles and find work at a low brow newspaper. Here his scathing critiques soon cause a sensation and arouse the interest of admirers and publishers. But in a society where profit and status rule, what is really left for Lucien?
This visually sumptuous and surprisingly current topic, in our era of fake news, is epic in its scope and impact. This is grand French cinema at its finest. Many are calling it a masterpiece and the She Society columnists enjoyed the whole dazzling spectacle. Costumes and scenery were magnificent. It was a look into the world of French theatre and journalism which was fascinating.There was plenty of romance, intrigue, comedy and moral dilemmas to delight the Brisbane audience.The orchestral score was beautiful.
For a chance to transport yourself to France, for just a while, head to Palace Cinemas. The festival will run from March 16 to April 13 so don’t miss out on seeing all your favourites. It will be a Francophile feast for all the senses.
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!).