What's On

5 Picks of the French Film Festival

By Clare Acheson
15th Feb 2015

Pack your bags, Listers. We’re off to Paris! Now in its 26th season, the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2015 brings the best of new French cinema to Australian shores, beginning this March.

Taking place in Palace Cinemas across the country, this year’s event has a little something for everyone. To help you find the right French flick for you, read on…

For light-hearted romance…Gemma Bovery

The gem in the French Film Festival crown, Gemma Bovery is a thoughtful romcom that tells the tale of an English couple who relocate to a petite village in Normandy, only to become the obsession of a local who believes they are fictional characters brought to life.

Directed by Anne Fontaine, who oversaw the recent fashion biopic, Coco Before Chanel, and based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, this is our top pick for a beautiful, easy-going watch that celebrates everyday life.

For a fashion fix…Saint Laurent

The French entry for this year’s Academy Awards, Saint Laurent profiles the namesake of the extravagant French fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent. Expect visually stunning costuming and cinematography as well as an exploration of the globally acclaimed fashion designer’s relationships, faults, addictions and passions.

For teenage rebellion…The Bélier Family (La Famille Bélier)

Family—you can’t choose them! Protagonist Paula, a sixteen-year old girl who is the only member of her family blessed with hearing, navigates her way through crushes, education and her unconventional family life in this feel-good film that was a surprise hit at the French box office. The Bélier Family is a must for anyone seeking to indulge in some teen angst.

For a crime of passion…The Blue Room (La Chambre Bleue)

Directed by Mathiew Amalric, whose film history includes playing the leading Bond villain in Quantum of Solace, The Blue Room’s title is derived from the hotel room in which two leading characters conduct their affair. Things take a turn for the worse when a crime threatens to expose supposed family man, Julien, leading to a dramatic unfolding of events. Oh là là!

For a short attention span…Paris, Je T’aime: Shorts

The French Film Festival closes with Paris Je T’aime, a film made up of short films inspired by Parisian love within its 22 suburbs. There will be a whopping 20 films on show, including works by noted directors, Gus Van Sant, Ethen and Joel Cohen, Wes Craven, Bruno Podalydès and Olivier Assayas. Expect an eclectic mix interspersed with photography of the world’s most romantic city.

The Alliance Française French Film Festival takes place at Palace Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane throughout March, as well as at venues in Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Byron Bay and Hobart. To find out session times in your city, visit the festival website.

Sydney | 3rd – 22nd March | Palace Norton Street, Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
Melbourne | 4th – 22nd March | Palace Balwyn, Brighton Bay, Cinema Como, Westgarth & Kino Cinemas
Brisbane | 13th March – 1st April | Palace Barracks & Palace Centro

Image credit: Chris Bailey via Flickr

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