When a Melburnian thinks of France they first think of:
“Bonjour, du vin et du fromage merci!”
Or if my experience of Aussie guys is anything it could also be:
“t’as de beau yeux tu sais?”
For a real dose of French culture, there’s no need for famous lines (for movie buffs: Jean Gabin speaking to Michele Morgen in “Quai des brumes”) or to pretend to be a romantic, à la française. What you should do is check out the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival which is bringing a dose of cool French culture to Melbourne from 4-22 March 2015. In its 26th edition, The French Film Festival presents a variety of films with a great selection of the most contemporary French films, including comedies, dramas, documentaries and much more.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the opening night as a member of The Plus Ones. We feasted on French cheese and canapés, enjoyed a few glasses of wine and indulged in countless chocolate macaroons. What more could I ask for as a French girl in far-off country?
The opening night movie was 3 Hearts by Benoît Jacquot. I had high expectations and I must confess I was a little bit disappointed. The movie followed a fairly typical plot and I really couldn’t resonate with the score which was, frankly, bizarre. The redeeming feature though was the cast. Benoit Poelvoorde, played his quirky role well in what sought to be a dramatic love story. Unfortunately the plot saw the movie spiral into a caricature of romanticism.
The rest of the Festival, though, looks like it will have a range of great French movies. Armed with my studies in cinema (for what that’s worth!) here are the movies that I can’t wait to see:
- Grand Illusion: It wouldn’t be a proper French Film Festival without a masterpiece of French cinema, a classic anti-war French movie more than 75 years old, that has been given a fantastic restoration.
- Paris je t’aime: O. Assayas, B. Podalydès, S. Chomet, Ethan and Joel Cohen, Gus Van Sant and many more, add to this some actors as Gerard Depardieu (one of France’s current leading lights) and Natalie Portman, so many brilliant people working on the same film – we can only expect something terrible! Give it a try though, I’m hoping for a surprise.
- The Last Hammer Blow: filmed in Montpellier in southern France, where I lived for a bit more than 3 years, I had the opportunity to work with the film crew. This is the second feature from from Alix Delaporte and it promises to be an emotional display.
- Tokyo Financée: If you like the Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb this movie is made for you.
- The New Girlfriend: French audiences know exactly what they want from the director, Ozon, and actor, Romain Duris, and I don’t think that they’ll disappoint.
There are over 49 films on the festival’s lineup. I hope that you get to enjoy a movie or three!
Noemi is a French film buff who has been in Melbourne for the last three months. She undertook cinema studies in southern France and works across a range of arts festivals all over the world.