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The Alliance Française French Film Festival is returning for its 10th season. The full festival line-up has now been announced and details are available on the festival’s website frenchfilmfestival.co.
Billed as the largest French cultural event on New Zealand’s national cultural calendar, this year the festival will play host to the international première of Julien Rappeneau’s Rosalie Blum, starring Noémie Lvovsky. Selected as the official Opening Night title, Rosalie Blum will kick off the 2016 Festival in each participating city. Based on the award-winning series of graphic novels by Camille Jourdy, Julien Rappeneau’s enchanting directorial debut is a warm, witty and impeccably performed comedy about a random encounter that has unexpected and far-reaching consequences.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Marcel Carné’s death, the 2016 Festival will close with his 1939 masterpiece Daybreak. Starring the illustrious Jean Gabin, Daybreak is an iconic film, and this brilliant restoration of the French classic is a must-see.
French-speaking actress Antonia Prebble (of Outrageous Fortune fame) is the patron of this year’s festival and has provided notes on her top picks from the 2016 line up:
Courted (L’hermine) |Directed by Christian Vincent | Starring Fabrice Luchini, Sidse Babett Knudsen “This film follows the proceedings of a three-day criminal trial, but it is more of a character study than a courtroom drama. It is straightforward in terms of plot and rhythm, but rich in terms of relationships as the characters are all both well drawn and beautifully acted. A simple yet very satisfying film.”
Mediterranea |Directed by Jonas Carpignano | Starring Koudous Seihon, Alassane Sy, Jon Coplon “A gritty drama that follows two refugees as they travel from Africa to Italy, hoping for a better life. The fly-on-the-wall shooting style and raw performances give it the feel of a documentary, which serves to make this film even more powerful.
The Brand New Testament (Le Tout Nouveau Testament)| Directed by Jaco Van Dormael | Starring Benoît Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, Pili Groyne“This film presents a novel, slightly screwball take on the creation story. God's daughter thinks that he is doing a terrible job, so decides to take matters into her own hands and create, you guessed it, a brand new testament. A cross between The Matrix and The Truman Show, but set firmly in the realm of magical realism, this is a sweet and funny film that is well worth a look.”
The Sweet Escape (Comme un avion) | Directed by Bruno Podalydès | Starring Bruno Podalydès, Sandrine Kiberlain, Agnès Jaoui“This film, about a middle aged man who decides to take himself on an adventure, is the cinematic equivalent of a stroll in the sunshine: gentle, delightful and very, very charming.”
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