2016 French Film Festival Preview

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Mar 022016

Tournage Boomerang

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.

Microbe & Gasoline [AFFFF2016]

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Feb 112016


French filmmaker and quirk-maverick Michel Gondry (The Silence of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Mood Indigo) has tackled fresh territory and remained nicely grounded in his sincere new comedy, Microbe & Gasoil [Microbe and Gasoline]. The film has a ramshackle charm, but Gondry mostly sidelines his trademark surrealism. Some weird, ill-judged butt-ins do feel out of place, but this is a very sweet and funny experience-enlightening buddy road-trip with likeable young leads. Sure to warm your heart. Continue reading »

2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival Line-up Announced

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Feb 032016


The 2016 French Film Festival programme has been announced, and this year includes 42 contemporary features, one classic and a new programme strand that will showcase 5 of France’s premier television series.

Rosalie Blum, a comedy-drama from acclaimed screenwriter Julien Rappeneau, in his directorial début, has been selected as the Festival’s Opening Night film; while closing night will be a fully restored version of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 classic, Contempt (Le Mépris) starring the Brigitte Bardot at the height of her career.

Highlights from the programme include:

Dheepan – Director: Jacques Audiard
The winner of the Palm d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It’s great to finally get the chance to see this in Australian. The film concerns  a former Tamil fighter who adopts the identity of a dead man and recruits a young woman and orphaned child to pose as his family, as he seeks a new life in France.

In the Shadow of Women (L’Ombre des femmes) – Director: Philippe Garrel
There are many hardcore Garrel fans out there, and I am sure they will be very excited to see his newest film at on the big screen. The focuses on the romantic and professional lives of documentary filmmakers, Pierre and
Manon, who are tested when the intoxication of infidelity threatens to overwhelm their existence.

The Wait (L’Attente) – Director: Piero Messina

I will see anything the gorgeous, talented Juliette Binoche is in! At a remote Sicilian villa, a mother (Binoche) welcomes a young woman (Lou de Laâge, who was so wonderful in Breathe) claiming to be the girlfriend of her absent son. But as the days pass and the two form a friendship, it becomes apparent that something is amiss.

We also like the look of The Measure of Man, Microbe & Gasoline, and Macdam Stories.
For the full programme, head over to the festival website


Festival Dates & Locations 

SYDNEY: 1-24 March Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
CASULA: 7-10 April Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
PARRAMATTA: 7-10 April Riverside Theatre
MELBOURNE: 2-24 March Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, The Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre
CANBERRA: 3-29 March Palace Electric Cinema
BRISBANE: 11 March – 3 April Palace Barracks & Palace Centro
PERTH: 16 March – 7 April Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX & Windsor Cinema
ADELAIDE: 31 March – 24 April Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
HOBART: 28 April – 4 May State Cinema


Alliance Française French Film Festival Preview

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Mar 022015

saint laurent


The Alliance Française French Film Festival is back for its 26th season, this time with 49 features, which will take place across 8 cities at Palace Cinema venues from early March until mid-April. The festival is packed with a variety of films, from easy-watching romances, to relationship dramas, and action-thrillers. We have taken a look at five of the films screening at the festival: Girlhood, Love At First Fight, The New Girlfriend, Saint Laurent and The Last Diamond. Check out our thoughts after the jump.

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Love at First Fight (AFFF2015)

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Feb 212015


Les Combattants [The Fighters] or Love at First Fight internationally, is a French indie romantic comedy/drama with brains and ideas, despite the corny alternative title. It won the FIPRESCI Prize after screening to critical acclaim in the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Find out why we recommend it at the upcoming Alliance Francaise French Film Festival after the jump: Continue reading »

2015 Alliance Française French Film Festival

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Feb 142015


The Alliance Française French Film Festival is back for its 26th season, this time with 49 fantastic features, which will take place across 8 cities at Palace Cinema venues from early March until mid-April.

Launching the Festival will be Gemma Bovery, a beguiling romantic comedy-drama from renowned director Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel), which had its world première at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the popular graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, it is an endearing film about the dangers of stirring passions.

The Festival ill close with a modern French classic, Paris, Je T’aime that will take audiences through the arrondissements of Paris, with 20 superb short films inspired by the subject of love, from acclaimed directors such as Olivier Assayas, Bruno Podalydès, Gus Van Sant and Ethan and Joel Cohen.

Highlights from the programme include:

Breathe (Dir. Mélanie Laurent)
Cast: Lou de Laâge, Joséphine Japy, Isabelle Carré & Claire Keim
Acclaimed actress Mélanie Laurent takes the director’s chair for this emotionally seductive and hugely affecting drama about an adolescent friendship perched on the brink of obsession. When Charlie, an attractive but self-doubting 17-year-old girl meets the charismatic, forthright and unruly Sarah, they immediately form an intense and exhilarating bond. Sarah offers both companionship and much-needed support for Charlie whilst her unstable mother copes badly with impending divorce. But their inseparable, idyllic existence soon steers into dangerous territory.

Girlhood (Dir. Céline Sciamma)
Cast: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh & Marietou Touré
A story of female empowerment set in the tough neighbourhoods of Paris. Marieme is a shy 16-year-old who lives with her frequently absent mother, a domineering older brother, and two younger sisters who mostly fall to her responsibility. Left behind at high school where she’s told her grades are too poor to continue, Mariame is soon lured out of her shell by three vivacious neighborhood teens. She quickly adopts their flashier look and adapts to their bold, often reckless behavior, making both foolish and brave choices as she struggles towards independence.

The New Girlfriend (Dir. François Ozon)
Cast: Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier, Raphaël Personnaz, Isild Le Besco, & Aurore Clément
Effortlessly fusing the best of Hitchcock and Almodóvar, this superb psychological drama owes its origins to a Ruth Rendell short story. Claire is grieving the loss of her very best friend, who has left behind a husband, David, and a newborn baby. But during an unannounced visit, she is shocked to discover David nuzzling his infant whilst wearing his dead wife’s clothes. Unfazed, David explains that his former wife was aware of this particular idiosyncrasy and over time, Claire overcomes her initial reaction and helps David to create his own female persona to inhabit.
These are the films I am keen to see from the line-up: Before the Winter Chill, Breathe, Eden (which I saw at TIFF and really want to see again), Girlhood (one of the best films of 2014), The New Girlfriend, Ella L’Adore, Love at First Fight, Once Upon a Forrest, Samba, The Gate and Tokyo Fiancée.
For the full programme and information about dates,venues and tickets, head to the official festival website: http://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org

You can also find the festival on Twitter @AFFFF2015

2014 Alliance Française French Film Festival Preview

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Mar 032014

The 25th edition of the Alliance Française French Film Festival kicks off next week, with yet another wonderful array of laughs, love, drama, action and fashion. After the jump, check out our preview of four of the films playing at this year’s festival; 11.6, Bright Days Ahead, Domestic Life and Mademoiselle C..

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2014 Alliance Française French Film Festival

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Jan 222014

The full programme for the 25th Alliance Française French Film Festival has been announced, with tickets going on sale from 31st January.

The 2014 Alliance Française French Film Festival will screen across seven cities throughout March and April, launching in Sydney on 4 April. The festival will this year feature an exciting, adventurous and romantic line-up of 46 feature films and documentaries. To mark the ‘silver’ anniversary of the festival, Australian entertainer, Julia Zemiro will be coming onboard as the Festival’s inaugural Patron.

A slate of French-themed special events, international guests and Première screenings will dominate Palace Cinemas for a glorious two-month period and will include a tribute to François Truffaut, the master of French New Wave Cinema and a Closing Night that will honour the comic genius of Jacques Tati. The Finishers, a poignant drama with characters inspired by a true story, will take centre stage on Opening Night in each city. Directed by Nils Tavernier and starring Jacques Gamblin and Alexandra Lamy, The Finishers follows the journey of an embittered, former Ironman champion, and his disabled son who join forces to compete in a triathlon. Other highlights of the 2014 festival include: Michael Kohlhaas, Möbius, Camille Claudel 1915, Folies Bergère and Mademoiselle C.


Festival Dates & Locations

SYDNEY: 4 – 23 March Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
MELBOURNE: 5 – 23 March Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema, Como, Palace Westgarth & Kino Cinemas
CANBERRA: 6 – 25 March Palace Electric Cinema
BRISBANE: 6 – 25 March Palace Barracks & Palace Centro
PERTH: 18 March – 6 April Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX & Windsor Cinema
ADELAIDE: 20 March – 8 April Palace Nova Eastend
BYRON BAY: 24 – 28 April Palace Byron Bay


For more information about the festival & tickets, please visit the official website at: