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:: Spotlight :: 2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The Alliance Française French Film Festival is delighted to confirm that Academy Award winning filmmaker George Miller, and revered movie critic, David Stratton, will be Patrons for the Festival’s 27th edition. Globally famed for a slew of successful and ground-breaking films, including the Mad Max franchise, Miller has long been an admirer of French cinema and in 2010 was honoured with France’s prestigious ‘Order of Arts and Letters’ (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) in recognition of his impressive body of work. David Stratton holds a special place in the hearts of Australian cinema-audiences and is respected and admired for his insightful movie critiques and wealth of film knowledge. In 2001, he also received France’s ‘Order of Arts and Letters” in recognition of his services to cinema and, in particular, French cinema.

In addition to the participation of these two distinguished gentlemen, the Festival will also be graced by the involvement of husband and wife acting dynamos, Marta Dusseldorp and Benjamin Winspear.

Dusseldorp, renowned for her performances in the television dramas, A Place to Call Home and Janet King and Winspear, who, in addition to his body of film and television work is a noted stage actor and director, will be Patrons of the Festival’s electrifying new Small Screens on the Big Screen category, which will celebrate the diversity of French Television by screening the first two episodes of five outstanding French television shows, as one session per title.

This selection will include the epic political series, Baron Noir, the WW2 drama, Un Village Français, the espionage thriller, The Bureau, the sweeping crime-drama, The Last Panthers and the hit comedy, Call My Agent!

Presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, uniFrance Films and the generous support of Principal Sponsor, Peugeot, this much-loved Festival has a truly spectacular programme planned for its 2016 season. And returning as our proud screening partner for the 20th consecutive year is Palace Cinemas, an Australian family business, founded by Antonio Zeccola, who was awarded the ‘Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres’ in 2015,

In anticipation of our full line-up, here, in his own words, are a few programme highlights personally selected by David Stratton, from those films he has had an opportunity to preview:

COURTED (L’Hermine)
Director: Christian Vincent
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Sidse Babett Knudsen & Éva Lallier
A smart, amusing comedy from writer/director Christian Vincent, in which Fabrice Luchini – in excellent form – portrays a cranky, Criminal Court Judge, who finds himself attracted to a female jury-member during a murder trial.

MICROBE & GASOLINE (Microbe et Gasoil)
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Ange Dargent, Théopile Baquet, Audrey Tautou & Diane Besnier
From director Michel Gondry comes this unpretentiously charming film about the friendship between two 12 year-old boys – shy Daniel and extroverted Théo – who embark upon an exciting adventure in an automobile that they construct from scrap metal.

Director: Nicolas Saada
Cast:Stacy Martin, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing & Gina McKee
At a time when terrorism has affected the lives of so many, Nicolas Saada’s thought-provoking film follows the plight of an Anglo-French family caught-up in the November 2008 invasion of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel by fundamentalist extremists. Stacy Martin is excellent as the 18 year-old daughter trapped in one of the hotel rooms during the terrifying attack.

THE MEASURE OF A MAN (La Loi du marché)
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Karine Petit de Mirbeck & Matthieu Schaller
The French title, Market Forces, ironically describes the reasons behind the plight of a factory worker, Thierry (portrayed by Vincent Lindon who was named Best Actor at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for his performance), who, following the loss of his job, struggles against great odds to provide for his family. This may sound grim, but as handled by director Stéphane Brizé, this film is an absorbing testament to human resilience and decency.

THE WHITE KNIGHTS (Les Chevaliers blancs)
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Louise Bourgoin & Valérie Donzelli
In an unnamed North African country, a dedicated group of aid workers, led by Jacques (Vincent Lindon) are trying to alleviate the plight of hundreds of orphans, aged less than five-years, by offering them for adoption in France. But their efforts, compromised by misunderstandings and deceptions, don’t go according to plan, in this tough-minded and very up-to-the-minute drama by Joachim Lafosse.

National dates and venues for the 2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:

SYDNEY - 1-24 March - Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
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
CASULA - 7-10 April - Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
PARRAMATTA - 7-10 April - Riverside Theatre
HOBART - 28 April - 4 May - State Cinema

View the 2016 Festival trailer here

Visit the official Festival website

For more information, visit