The 2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival will screen 42 features and 1 classic as part of this year’s dynamic programme. To aid with your selection here’s a preview of 4 of the films playing at this year’s festival.
BOOMERANG– Dir. François Favrat. Starring: Laurent Lafitte, Mélanie Laurent, Audrey Dana
Based on ‘A Secret Kept’, a novel by best-selling French author Tatiana De Rosnay, Boomerang is about a tragedy that happened 30 years earlier, and the details that may or may not have been keep from brother and sister, Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) and Agathe (Mélanie Laurent) who were children at the time. Antoine becomes obsessed with the details, and encouraged by his therapist to seek closure, he begins to dig into his family’s past. This is a thrilling film which becomes quite tense as Antoine becomes unhinged the further and further he explores. This film is: shocking, tense, and entertaining. Will appeal to: fans of mysteries, fans of the supremely talented Mélanie Laurent.
THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT – Dir. Jaco Van Dormael. Starring: Pili Groyne, Benoît Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve
In The Brand New Testament God lives in Brussels with his wife and young daughter Ea (Pili Groyne). He created humans to amuse himself, and is constantly inventing new laws to make their life difficult (such as, ‘the other line will always move fast’). Ea is sick of her father toying with humans, and after a discussion with her brother JC, she decides to escape the home and find 6 new disciples to create a new testament with. This film has a fantastic sense of humour and wonderful comedic timing, but at it’s heart it is a very sweet story about a young girl who wants to make the world a better place. This film is: satirical, funny, and weird. Will appeal to: fans of surreal adventures, people wanting to see something really different.
IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN – Dir. Philippe Garrel. Starring: Clotilde Courau, Stanislas Merhar, Lena Paugam
At 69 minutes it risks being such a minor work that it drifts away almost immediately, but legend of contemporary French cinema Philippe Garrel puts the complexities of love, the pains of infidelity, and the bruised male ego under the microscope with such confidence and focused attention that this will surely strike a chord with many viewers. Thoughtfully shot in black-and-white, and incorporating the city of Paris into the romantic and professional relationship of documentary filmmakers Pierre (Stanislas Merhar) and Manon (Clotilde Courau), it details their rocky relationship and the passion and jealousy spawned by their individual affairs that threaten to completely crush their world. This film is: nuanced, melancholic and pure. Will appeal to: fans of elegant, aesthetically innovative human dramas and Garrel’s repertoire.
TAJ MAHAL – Dir. Nicolas Saada. Starring: Stacy Martin, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Gina McKee
18-year-old Louise (Stacy Martin, Nymphomaniac), in a state of idle complacency as she awaits a transition into a new life in India, finds herself alone in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai as her parents dine across town. When she hears a struggle and gunfire outside of her room she realises that it is being attacked by terrorists. With nothing but her instinct, and calming instructions from her father via mobile phone, she desperately tries to survive under the escalating threat. While the film isn’t particularly compelling either side of its intense and smartly executed middle hour – the attack – it is a vital film that probes into contemporary fears. Still, considering most of the film is set within a single hotel room it is very well photographed and does maintain palpable tension. Martin is an impressive talent, while Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, who plays Louise’s father, adds terrific support. This film is: suspenseful, unnerving and claustrophobic. Will appeal to: viewers interested in the dramatisation of true events and gripping, nerve-wracking cinema experiences.
You can explore the full line-up of films at the Alliance French Film Festival website.