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:: Spotlight :: 2010 Alliance Française French Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

To mark the 21st anniversary of the Alliance Française French Film Festival, organisers have lured renowned French filmmaker, Jean-Pierre Jeunet to Australia to open the 2010 Festival with his acclaimed new film MICMACS (Micmacs à tire-larigot) which will screen courtesy of Hopscotch Films.

Internationally famed for such iconic French movies as AMÉLIE, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN and DELICATESSEN, Jeunet will introduce MICMACS at the Festival’s opening night galas in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and will also attend special Festival Q&A events whilst in Australia. Acclaimed by critics and starring Dany Boon, Yolande Moreau, André Dussollier & Julie Ferrier, MICMACS, which Jeunet directed and co-wrote (with Guillaume Laurant), is a wildly inventive comedy which follows the adventures of a group of misfits with unique foibles and abilities, determined to vanquish two big arms manufacturers. Stamped with Jeunet’s unique style and vision, MICMACS is a film not to be missed.

With more guests to be announced, the Festival will screen throughout March around Australia at fourteen venues and will be proudly supported by Tefal, the acknowledged world-leader in non-stick cookware, who will once again be the event‘s major sponsor.

For the first time in its 21-year history, the Festival will feature six distinctive sections, encompassing a range of genres that will showcase an impressive forty-three evocative new French films from cinematic greats such as Claire Denis, Philippe Lioret, Claude Chabrol, Cédric Kahn, François Ozon, Alain Resnais, Christophe Honoré and Tony Gatlif along with a host of absorbing features from first-time directors.

Appearing in this line-up are many of France and Europe’s finest actors including Sophie Marceau, Chiara Mastroianni, Charlotte Rampling, Emmanuelle Seigner, Vincent Lindon, Vincent Perez, Diane Kruger, Sandrine Bonnaire, Kevin Kline, Carole Bouquet, Gérard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil, Laetitia Casta, Jacques Gamblin, Jean Dujardin, Mads Mikkelsen, Sergi López and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Highlights of the 2010 Festival include:

- Directed by Philippe Lioret and starring Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi & Audrey Dana
*Winner of Best Picture at 2010 Lumiere Awards
Bilal, a 17-year-old Kurdish youth, has travelled through the Middle East and Europe to join his girlfriend, who has recently emigrated to England with her family. But his journey comes to an abrupt halt when he is stopped on the French side of the Channel. Realizing that the only way to follow her is to swim across the Channel, he starts attending the local swimming pool in order to train. There he meets Simon a swimming instructor in the midst of a divorce who decides to risk everything by taking Bilal under his wing.

SERGE GAINSBOURG : JE T’AIME… MOI NON PLUS (Serge Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique)
- Directed by Joann Sfar and starring Eric Elmosnino, Lucy Gordon & Laetitia Casta
This surreal and evocative record of Monsieur Gainsbourg - iconic singer, poet, writer, actor and general provocateur - traces his youth growing up in 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris, through to his transformation into the hard-living showman, enfant terrible and successful songwriter of the 50s and 60s (as famous for his glamorous lovers including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin as he was was for penning such hits as Je t’aime … moi non plus.

I’M GLAD MY MOTHER IS ALIVE (Je suis heureux que ma mere soit vivante)
- Directed by Claude Miller & Nathan Miller and starring Vincent Rottiers, Sophie Cattani & Christine Citti
Based on an extraordinary real-life incident, I’M GLAD MY MOTHER IS ALIVE was widely heralded as the best French film at the recent Venice Film Festival. It’s the gripping and emotionally powerful story of an adopted boy who tracks down his birth mother with dramatic and unexpected results.

COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY (Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)
- Directed by Jan Kounen and starring Anna Mouglalis & Mads Mikkelsen
Picking up the story of Chanel more or less from where Anne Fontaine’s COCO AVANT CHANEL left off, director Jan Kounen beautifully captures the charisma of two monumental personalities against the opulent backdrops of 1920s Paris as they embark upon a passionate affair that threatens to consume them both.

- Directed by Caroline Bottaro and starring Sandrine Bonnaire & Kevin Kline
In a small village, Hélène, a hotel maid, is intrigued when she encounters a young couple absorbed in a game of chess. Gradually, she relegates all else in her life in order to master the rules of this mysterious pastime. But her new passion doesn't occur without profoundly modifying her relationships with those close to her.

- Directed by Fred Cavayé and starring Diane Kruger, Vincent Lindon & Olivier Marchal
Life feels supremely happy for Julien and Lisa until Lisa is arrested for a murder of which she appears to have no knowledge. Sentenced to 20 years in jail, Julien remains convinced of her innocence. Unwilling to endure the time it will take to sort through bureaucracy and reeling in turmoil, he resorts to a desperate plan of action…

OSS 117, LOST IN RIO (OSS 117, Rio ne répond plus)
- Directed by Michel Hazanavicius and starring Jean Dujardin, Louise Monot & Rüdiger Vogler
The irrepressible OSS 117 is back for another thrilling mission that takes him from Rio’s sunbaked beaches to the luxuriant Amazonian forests, as he follows the trail of a microfilm that could compromise the French government.

- Directed by Claude Chabrol and starring Gérard Depardieu, Clovis Cornillac & Jacques Gamblin
Paul Bellamy is an eminent detective taking a holiday in Nîmes with his wife but unable to switch off his crime-solving instinct. His curiosity is piqued by the murky case of a mysterious stranger who demands his protection, plus a local femme fatale – and complicated further when his troublesome brother turns up unannounced.

THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (Le Premier jour du reste de ta vie)
- Directed by Rémi Bezançon and starring Jacques Gamblin & Zabou Breitman
A funny and moving portrait of how a single day can irrevocably alter the course of one’s life. Between 1988 and 2000, we meet the Duval family on five decisive days in their lives… days where they find themselves individually and collectively dealing with the sort of life changes that affect most families.

FATHER OF MY CHILDREN (Le Père de mes enfants)
- Directed by Mia Hansen-Love and starring Dominique Frot, Chiara Caselli & Louis Do de Lencquesaing
Film producer Grégoire has it all – a family he adores and a stimulating job that brings him many kudos. He seems invincible, as he tirelessly juggles the demands of work with his domestic responsibilities. But when his reserves, financial and emotional, reach breaking point, his wife and children are forced to cope with the repercussions…

National Dates for the 2010 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:
SYDNEY - March 2-21, Palace Academy, Palace Verona & Palace Norton Street
MELBOURNE - March 4-21, Palace Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Westgarth and Kino Cinemas
BRISBANE - March 17-31, Palace Centro & Palace Barracks Cinema
PERTH - March 17-31, Cinema Paradiso & Luna on SX
CANBERRA - March 18-31, Greater Union Manuka (Opening Closing Nights at National Film & Sound Archives)
ADELAIDE - March 18-31, Palace Nova Eastend

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