The French Film Festival’s 30th Birthday

February 6, 2019

Quel moment excitant d’avoir trente ans en 2019.  

How exciting for the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival who once again exceeds its reputation as it presents a line up ‘pare excellence’ of 54 features and documentaries. The biggest ever in the Festivals esteemed history over the past thirty years and a wonderful way to celebrate their 30th birthday in 2019.

Need it be said I was more than appreciative to be invited to attend the media launch and advanced screening of this momentous occasion. On behalf of She Society it was my pleasure to partake in the festivities kindly presented by hosts Alliance Francaise, Palace Cinemas and Kath Rose & Associates. Also a wonderful way of testing my fledging French lessons.

In association with the Embassy of France in Australia and Unifrance Films, Alliance Francaise will screen its myriad of captivating films across 12 district categories with self-explanatory titles that range from “Paris Snapshots”, “Summertime”, “Lighten Up”, “Critically Acclaimed”, “Kids & Family” and more.

The launch and film

As one would anticipate at a French launch, guests were pleasantly greeted with glasses of sparkling Trenel Cremant de Bourgogne Brut from Burgundy, France. This was followed by introduction to an alluring, ultimate show case experience, loving selected by Artistic Director, Philippe Platel.

This internationally renowned event has been acknowledged as the largest assemblage of French cinema outside of France and the evenings screen tempters were examples of their reputation. Choices will be difficult from the artistic offering, as there are many.

Our treat for the evening, included in the 30th anniversary programme, was The Sisters Brothers (Les frères Sisters) starring known actors John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal, directed by Jacques Audiard the Silver Loin Best Director at the 2018 Venice International Film festival.

The actors were in good form as they played out their 1850’s western gun battles with dry humour and emotional revelations. Bloodshed to be expected of course. They were good boys underneath it all, weren’t they? Dramatic turns continued throughout the story with conflicting objectives between opposing gun slingers. Would it work if they joined forces in a promised quest to find gold by miraculous means? The ending says it all and reminded me of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Movie line-up

I feel certain the fashionistas of the world will be keen to see “Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent” a controversial yet exquisite portrayal of Frances’ last great fashion designer. Or the story of one of France’s most remarkable contemporary designers, renowned for his striking creations and cheeky sense of humour as portrayed in “Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic”.

For wine lovers, how could you miss “Wine Calling-Le Vin Se Leve” a documentary on the real people behind those progressive biodynamic and organic wine makers shaking up the status quo of the French wine industry.

Let us not forget the selection for Kids & Family, all of which are appealing but I have a leaning towards “Remi, Nobody’s Boy”, an enchanting family epic based on Hector Malot’s book from 1878, Remi.

Undoubtedly, there is something for everyone. Filmmakers creative visions are brought to life by French cinema’s most defining actors and reigning directional superstars including young emerging artists who have already shown their worth.

Whatever you choose from the expansive and diverse array of stories, the French Film Festival never lets us down. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. The most difficult part will be what to choose in the weeks of screening ahead.  

How to book

Both Palace James Street Cinemas and Palace Barracks Cinemas will be showcasing for the festival. They can only sell tickets from their respective venues, there are no booking fees for purchasing at the cinema’s box office although surcharges will apply for credit cards.

A Festival Trailer is available now and tickets on sale from Thursday 31 January 2019. They may be secured online at and  and phone bookings will be debited at time of booking.  

Multi-film passes offer generous discounts when you buy a 5, 10 or 20  ticket pass to secure seats for your favourite films and can be purchased at the Box Office.

As a suggestion, Palace Cinemas have their handy little booklet in their foyers right now if you drop by to pick one up.

Special Events

In addition to the film screenings there will be four special events (only for 18+);

Opening Night Gala “The Trouble With You”: Palace Barracks Cinemas, Thursday 14 March 6.30pm includes drinks, canapés, gift bags and After Party tickets

Closing Night “Kiss & Tell”: Palace James Street Cinemas, Sunday 14 April 5.45pm includes pre-screening cocktail party

The following includes French wine and gourmet cheese before the film:

Palace James Street Cinema Thursday 21 March 7pm: Love Wins: “Sorry Angel” and Palace Barracks Cinema Wednesday 27 March 7pm: Taste of France “Wine Calling”.

Au revoir mes amis!

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