Banging the drum for French Cinema
UK Festival expands horizons in November
The biggest explosion of French and francophone cinema in the UK will hit cinemas in November as part of a major expansion of the French Film Festival UK, an annual event now in its 24th edition (from 4 November to 1 December).
The organisers today announce preliminary plans with a selection that embraces contemporary titles, classics, animation, documentary, shorts and a specially curated programme for young audiences.
The festival will take place in major cities (among them Newcastle, Leeds, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol and Belfast) as well as smaller towns from Kirkcaldy to Hereford, Hebden Bridge, Chichester and Richmond (Yorkshire) and many others. In London the Festival venues are the Ciné Lumière (South Kensington), the Regent Street Cinema, and the Barbican.
Overall more than 30 different locations will be involved.
Highlight titles include the sumptuous Cézanne et Moi with Guillaume Gallienne and Guillaume Canet (due to open in France on 21 September) about the friendship between the artist and Emile Zola. Director Danièle Thompson is expected to be in attendance for the film’s UK premiere as well as for a restored version of the Gallic mega hit from the Sixties, La Grande Vadrouille (Don’t Look Now
We’re Being Shot At) which she adapted with her father Gérard Oury. Belgian actor / director Bouli Lanners will present in person his gothic thriller The First, The Last (Les Premiers, les derniers) while the banned home-grown terrorism thriller Made in France (to be released by Soda) also finds inclusion in the line-up.
Other films due to be widely screened are Roschdy Zem’s Monsieur Chocolat (about the first black
artist of the French stage); Alain Guiraudie’s controversial Cannes challenge Staying Vertical; Camera d’Or winner Divines by Houda Benyamina; Directors’ Fortnight opener Tour de France with Gérard Depardieu and Bertrand Tavernier’s A Journey Through French Cinema. Paying homage to France’s rich cinematic heritage the Festival has secured screenings of the restored version of Marcel Pagnol’s Marseilles Trilogy (Marius, Fanny and César), accompanied by Pagnol’s grandson Nicolas Pagnol. And to mark next year’s 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival The Battle of the Rails by René Clément will be shown – it scooped the Jury Prize and Best Director award in 1946.
The veteran Jean-Pierre Mocky (theatre and film star from the 1940s turned director) will be in the limelight for a special focus including his black comedy Kill the Referee (A mort l’arbitre). Although he is in some sense a kindred spirit to the directors of the New Wave, Mocky is rarely associated with that movement by critics or public.
Festival director Richard Mowe: “While the UK post-Referendum is about to become less European we are delighted to celebrate the cinematic culture of our French-speaking neighbours at more cinemas than ever through the UK.”
The expansion of the Festival has been made possible with the support of the BFI Film Festival Fund, which awards National Lottery funding to film festivals which bring new and exciting international and British films to audiences across the UK. Other funders comprise Creative Scotland and the Institut français as well as such partners as Total, Air France, Citroën, Sofitel and Novotel.
Media launch at London’s Regent Street Cinema on 21 October.
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