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:: Spotlight :: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2012

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Two of France’s most exciting, contemporary filmmakers Rémi Bezançon and Mia Hansen-Løve have been confirmed as guests of the 23rd annual Alliance Française French Film Festival.

Rémi Bezançon will be the guest-of-honour at the Festival’s gala launches in both Sydney and Melbourne on 6 and 7 March respectively and will attend a Sydney screening and Q&A for his latest movie, A Happy Event (Un heureux événement), whilst Mia Hansen-Løve will visit Australia for the second week of the event to participate in Q&A sessions following screenings of her new film, Goodbye, First Love (Un amour de jeunesse) in Sydney and Melbourne.

Writer/Director Bezançon first came to the attention of Festival audiences with his funny, yet moving drama The First Day of the Rest of Your Life, the smash-hit that looked at five decisive days in the lives of one family. His latest feature, the critically acclaimed A Happy Event, takes an intimate and oft poignant look at a young couple who find themselves unprepared for the lifestyle changes wrought by parenthood. Starring Louise Bourgoin, Pio Marmaï and Josiane Balasko, A Happy Event has been acclaimed for its realistic and beautifully portrayed take on how romance and the ‘patter of little feet’ don’t always make for a happy combination.

Mia Hansen-Løve is also acknowledged as a filmmaker of great talent, who like Bezançon, writes and directs her films. Renowned for the insight and sensitivity she brings to her characters, her previous drama, Father of My Children, screened at the 2010 Festival to great acclaim and went on to enjoy a successful release in Australia. Her latest film, Goodbye, First Love, is a beguiling story of love, loss and the tender memories of youth, which follows the romantic journey of a young woman (Lola Créton) who finds herself caught between the powerful emotions of her first love and the more pragmatic nature of her present relationship.

Post-Festival, Goodbye, First Love will screen from 5 April through Palace Films whilst A Happy Event will enjoy a cinematic release through Umbrella Entertainment on 12 April.

Both guests will be attending Festival screenings as follows:

7.00pm Thursday 8 March at Palace Norton Street, Leichhardt

6.15pm Tuesday, 13 March at Palace Norton Street, Leichhardt
6.15pm Wednesday, 14 March at Palace Verona, Paddington

6.30pm Thursday, 15 March at Palace Cinema Como, South Yarra


2012 Festival highlights:

A HAPPY EVENT (Un heureux événement)
Director: Rémi Bezançon (Cast: Louise Bourgoin, Pio Marmaï & Josiane Balasko)
This stylish, contemporary drama with a comedic tone, takes an intimate look at a woman’s most joyful, painful, terrifying and life-changing experience: first-time motherhood.

ALL OUR DESIRES (Toutes nos envies)
Director: Philippe Lioret (Cast: Vincent Lindon & Marie Gillain)
Claire, a 30-year-old judge at Lyon magistrates’ court, becomes locked in a fight for justice, on behalf of citizens impacted by the unscrupulous practices of the financial services industry. Her plight piques the interest of disenchanted colleague Stéphane, who becomes drawn into the case. Something emerges between them: a mixture of rebellion, outrage, and above all an urgent need to live life to the fullest.

AND IF WE ALL LIVED TOGETHER (Et si on vivait tous ensemble)
Director: Stéphane Robelin (Cast: Guy Bedos, Daniel Brühl, Geraldine Chaplin & Jane Fonda)
Annie, Jean, Claude, and Jeanne have been friends for more than 40 years. So when the possibility of being consigned to an old-age home rears its ugly head, they rebel and decide to cohabit.

BELOVED (Les bien-aimés)
Director: Christophe Honoré (Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni & Ludivine Sagnier)
Starring Catherine Deneuve and her real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni, this sly and exquisitely romantic musical-drama spans four decades as it follows a mother and daughter’s twin misadventures in love.

POINT BLANK (A bout portant)
Director: Fred Cayavé (Cast: Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem, Gérard Lanvin & Elena Anaya)
In this classic wrong-man scenario, an innocent nurse-in-training whose career is on the rise, finds himself entangled in a web of violent chaos when his wife is kidnapped, before his very eyes, from their apartment one evening.

PRESUMED GUILTY (Présumé coupable)
Director: Vincent Garenq (Cast: Philippe Torreton, Noémie Lvosky & Wladimir Yordanoff)
This chillingly raw account of one of France’s most famous miscarriages of justice, tells the true story of Alain Marécaux, an average family man from a small village in the north of France who, along with 17 other people, was wrongly accused and jailed for paedophilia in 2001.

OMAR KILLED ME (Omar m’a tuer)
Director: Roschdy Zem (Cast: Sami Bouajila, Denis Podalydès & Maurice Bénichou)
Based on a true story, this compelling drama revists a famous murder case in which a poorly educated Moroccan immigrant was imprisoned for a crime that he may not have committed.

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS (Les émotifs anonymes)
Director: Jean-Pierre Améris (Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde & Isabelle Carré)
Two shy chocolate makers find the perfect recipe for love in this moving comedy.

THE ART OF LOVE (L’art d’aimer)
Director: Emmanuel Mouret (Cast: Emmanuel Mouret, Pascale Arbillot, Ariane Ascaride, François Cluzet, Julie Depardieu & Gaspard Ulliel)
In this charming comedy, we follow the romantic and sexual misadventures of four Parisian couples.

THE CONQUEST (La conquête)
Director: Xavier Durringer (Cast: Denis Podalydès, Florence Pernel & Bernard Le Coq)
This part fictional, part factual biopic gives an account of the rise of President Nicolas Sarkozy to power. The film opens on the night of Mr Sarkozy’s election victory, 6 May 2007.

THE WELL-DIGGER’S DAUGHTER (La fille du puisatier)
Director: Daniel Auteuil (Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Kad Merad, & Jean-Pierre Darroussin)
At the onset of WWII, a young and beautiful country girl has a chance encounter with a seductive and handsome pilot from a bourgeois family that leads to a fleeting romance and future heartbreak.

National dates and venues for the 2012 ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL are:

SYDNEY: 6 – 25 March Palace Verona, Palace Norton Street, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
MELBOURNE: 7 – 25 March Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Westgarth, Palace Brighton Bay & Kino Cinemas
BRISBANE: 14 March - 1 April Palace Centro & Palace Barracks Cinema
CANBERRA: 14 March - 1 April Greater Union Manuka & Arc Cinema, National Film & Sound Archive
ADELAIDE: 20 March - 8 April Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
PERTH: 21 March - 9 April Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX & Windsor Cinema