Showcasing a preeminent selection of contemporary French cinema, the Alliance Française French Film Festival is poised to return to Brisbane’s Palace Cinemas for its spectacular 30th season as part of its national tour.
Screening in Brisbane at Palace Barracks and Palace James Street from March 14 to April 14, the Festival, which is presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia and Unifrance Films, will be celebrating this momentous birthday edition with a thrilling selection of 54 feature films and documentaries that are guaranteed to enthral and entertain.
David Stratton, arguably Australia’s most beloved film critic
Liz Watts (Animal Kingdom)
Rosemary Blight (The Sapphires)
Filmmakers Wayne Blair, Greg McLean and Phillip Noyce; and
in a nostalgic nod to the Festival’s inaugural 1989 season, for which the Sydney Film Festival (SFF) was a partner, SFF’s current director, Nashen Moodley, will join them.
The launch kicks off at the barracks on Thursday 14 March at 6.15pm with The Trouble With You (En liberté!), directed by Pierre Salvadori (Beautiful Lies, Priceless) and starring Adèle Haenel, Pio Marmaï, Audrey Tautou and Damien Bonnard the Palace Films comedy set on the French Riviera was well received when premiered as the centrepiece of Directors’ Fortnight at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. An irresistible blend of laughs, action and romance, the story follows detective Yvonne, the principled young widow of the local police chief, who is horrified to learn that an innocent man has been languishing in jail for crimes committed by her late husband. Without a doubt, The Trouble With You is poised to weave its spell upon Australian audiences as it did in France, where it was a huge critical and box office success.
In addition to the Opening & Closing Night Galas, there are two other Special Events taking place during the Festival:
Love Wins! – Thursday 21 March, 6:15pmWine & canapés inspired by French Flavours, followed by a screening of the critically acclaimed drama, Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer, courir vite)
Taste of France – Wednesday 27 March, 6:15pmFrench wine and cheese followed by screening of the vinaceous documentary Wine Calling (Le vin se lève)
THE SISTERS BROTHERS
Director: Jacques Audiard
Cast: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal
It’s 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters, both brothers and assassins, accept a contract to kill a mysterious chemist that sends them on a fraught journey through the Northwest to the gold fields of California, on an adventure that tests the deadly family ties that bind.
Director: Claire Denis
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Robert Pattinson, André Benjamin
Far beyond our solar system, Monte and his infant daughter, Willow, the sole survivors of a prison crew where they were treated as human guinea pigs by the deranged Dr Dibs, drift closer to a black hole where all time and space cease to exist.
Director: Eloïse Lang
Cast: Miou-Miou, Camille Cottin, Camille Chamoux
Two wildly different sisters decide to take their recently ‘dumped’ 60 year-old mother, Françoise, for a getaway on a beautiful tropical island. But when they plot to boost her morale by arranging for the suave Thierry to court her, events swiftly spiral out of control.
CLAIRE DARLING (La dernière folie de Claire Darling)
Director: Julie Bertuccelli
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Alice Taglioni (Pictured)
On the first day of summer, reclusive millionaire Claire, impulsively decides to sell all her possessions, echoes of her tragic and flamboyant life, on the front lawn of her mansion – an act which sees her long-estranged daughter return home, determined to stop her mother’s ‘madness.’
Director: Lukas Dhont
Cast: Victor Polster, Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart
An adolescent transgender girl from Belgium struggles not so much with her gender identity, but with her passion to become a professional ballerina. Supported by her family, she commences her journey into gender reassignment, yet her teenage impatience and the immense pressures of ballet, push her to the brink.
IN SAFE HANDS (Pupille)
Director: Jeanne Herry
Cast: Sandrine Kiberlain, Gilles Lellouche, Éodie Bouchez
When baby Theo’s birth mother surrenders him for adoption, we are thrown deep into the milieu of the French social assistance services, exposing the conflicting conundrums faced by many woman – those giving up their babies and those desperate to have their own.
IN YOUR HANDS (Au bout des doigts)
Director Ludovic Bernard
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Lambert Wilson, Karidja Touré
Mathieu, a housing project kid who is falling into petty theft, crosses paths with Pierre, director of a prestigious music conservatory, who hears him playing piano at a railway station. Using his influence to secure private lessons for the boy, Pierre has a secret agenda: to enter Mathieu into a prestigious, international piano competition.
KNIFE+HEART (Un couteau dans le coeur)
Director Yann Gonzalez
Cast: Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moran, Nicolas Maury
During a steamy 1979 Parisian summer, Anne, a gay porn producer, recently shunned by her girlfriend and editor, Loïs, strives to regain her love by shooting her most ambitious film yet. But when one of the actors is brutally murdered, she finds herself implicated in a strange and twisted investigation.
A MAN IN A HURRY (Un home pressé)
Director: Hervé Mimran
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Leïla Bekhti, Rebecca Marder
When Alain, the powerful CEO of a car manufacturer, whose work has always come first, suffers a major stroke, he finds he must completely rebuild his life and family relationships, in this surprisingly amusing take on physical rehabilitation.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD (Grâce à Dieu)
Director: François Ozon
Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud
By chance, a family man discovers that the priest who abused him as a youth is still working with children. Determined to see justice served, he re-establishes contact with his fellow boyhood victims who vow to see the truth be told, no matter the consequences.
NON-FICTION (Doubles vies)
Director: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne
This slyly seductive tale of sex, lies and literature, traces the romantic and emotional fallout when a controversial writer blurs the line between fact and fiction, using his real-life love affairs – including a passionate fling with an actress who happens to be married to his editor – as fodder for his explosive new novel.
PROMISE AT DAWN (La promesse de l’aube)
Director: Eric Barbier
Cast: Pierre Niney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Didier Bourdon
From his childhood in Poland to his adolescence in Nice, to his years as a student in Paris and arduous training as a pilot during World War II, this tragi-comedy tells the story of famed French novelist and diplomat, Romain Gary, whose relationship with his endearing yet eccentric mother shaped the man he ultimately became.
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe
In this feminist thriller, Jen is enjoying a romantic desert getaway with her wealthy, married boyfriend until his two sleazy friends arrive unannounced. Mounting tension culminates in a brutal act that sees her left for dead. But she survives and begins a relentless quest for bloody revenge.
SINK OR SWIM (Le grand bain)
Director: Gilles Lellouche
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Guillaume Canet, Benoît Poelvoorde
An uplifting comedy about a group of disenchanted middle-aged men, who, in the face of scepticism and ridicule, discover fresh self-esteem and a new purpose when they form their local pool’s first-ever all-male, synchronized swimming team.
SORRY ANGEL (Plaire, aimer et courir vite)
Director: Christophe Honoré
Cast: Vincent Lacoste, Pierre Deladonchamps
Memory, longing and regret linger throughout this romantic drama set in early 90s Paris. Jacques, a worldly writer and Arthur a much-younger man, on the verge of acknowledging his true sexuality, find themselves falling for each other, but must first navigate several hurdles in this this life-affirming celebration of love and friendship.
THE FALL OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE (La chute de l’empire américain)
Director: Denys Arcand
Cast: Maxim Roy, Éric Bruneau, Vincent Leclerc
In this provocative comedy, a listless loser with a wasted PhD in Philosophy finds his dull life turned upside down when he’s saddled with a fortune in stolen cash. Enlisting the help of two dubious associates, he ponders his next move whilst trying to outmanoeuvre the heisters who want ‘their’ money back.
THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD (La nuit a dévoré le monde)
Director: Dominique Rocher
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant
On waking in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment following a raging party, Sam is horrified to discover that zombies have invaded the streets of Paris, and he is one of the lone survivors. Petrified, he barricades himself inside the building to survive. Can he bear the solitude or will he learn that he’s not alone after all?
WHO YOU THINK I AM (Celle que vous croyez)
Director: Safy Nebbou
Cast: Juliette Binoche, François Civil, Guillaume Gouix
Recovering from the betrayal of her ex-husband who cast her aside for a much younger partner, Claire, a 50ish university lecturer and mother, impulsively creates a fictional Facebook profile, posing as a 24 year-old woman. But what seems like titillating fun soon leads both of her identities into increasingly dangerous territory.
Although the conclusion of each season is a sad occasion for the Festival’s many devotees, this year we will say ‘au revoir’ with another wonderful comedy, Kiss & Tell (Voyez comme on danse) on Sunday April 14 from 5pm at Palace James Street. In this portmanteau of loosely connected storylines helmed by actor/writer/director Michel Blanc, a superb ensemble cast, including Karin Viard, Carole Bouquet and Charlotte Rampling, beguile with familial chaos, mystery, drama, deception and adultery. How will it end? The answer…in hilarious chaos!
See the full programme here