GUESTS

A warm welcome to all the scheduled guests of this year’s French Film Festival UK who are featured on these pages.

Not all guests can make it to all the screenings of their films so please check out carefully where they will be and when. Also unforeseen circumstances can occur which may prevent a particular individual’s attendance: don’t forget keep a watch on the website www.frenchfilmfestival.org.uk for updates. You will also find details of any pre-recorded introductions and discussions for films in cinemas and online.

BRUNO DUMONT

Dumont directed his first feature film at the age of 38: La vie de Jésus (1996), shot in Bailleul, where he was born. This film earned him immediate acclaim it was selected for the Director’s Fortnight, winning a Caméra d’Or Special Mention. Creating demanding, singular and raw works of cinema, Bruno Dumont returned to Cannes in 1999, in Competition, with L’Humanité. He was awarded the Grand Prix and a double Best Performance prize for two of the film’s non-professional actors.
He moved away from Northern France to shoot Twenty-nine Palms in the Californian desert, a road movie that was selected for the Venice Mostra in 2003. In 2006, Flandres, a harsh film about the devastation caused by war,
received the Grand Prix at the Festival de Cannes.

He returned to the Croisette this year with France. The director had already turned to the writings of Charles Péguy when he adapted the writer’s works Jeanne d’Arc (1897) and Le Mystère de la charité de Jeanne d’Arc (1910) for his films Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (Jeannette, l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc) and Jeanne.

Bruno Dumont will introduce France at London Ciné Lumière on Wed 3 Nov at 19.00 and take part in a Q&A after the screening.

JOACHIM LAFOSSE

Joachim Lafosse has emerged as a significant figure in contemporary cinema.
His reputation has been growing from film to film, as shown by the national and international acclaim for After Love, selected for the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and Our Children, selected for Un Certain Regard, where Émilie Dequenne won the Best Actress award. He also presented Private Lessons in 2008 in the Directors’ Fortnight. He was back on the Croisette in 2019 with Continuer / Keep Going, an adaptation of the novel by Laurent Mauvignier, with Virginie Efira in the lead. Lafosse was in Competition for the first time in July with The Restless / Les Intranquilles, his fourth time at the Festival, with a film featuring Leïla Bekhti and Damien Bonnard as a couple struggling to make their relationship work in the face of illness. The narrative questions the limits of romantic commitment. By his own admission, the trigger of the illness could have been alcoholism, or cancer. But Lafosse’s experience guided him towards a subject that he knows well: his father, a photographer, was a manic-depressive. Focussing, as always, on powerful subjects, his filmography is marked by monstrous characters whose motivations he tries to understand. He graduated from the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (IDA) in Louvain-La-Neuve with his short film Tribu (2001). He has written screenplays and theatre pieces and has worked as assistant director on multiple films.

Joachim Lafosse will introduce The Restless at Lewes Depot on Wednesday 8 December at 19:30.

CATHERINE CORSINI

Catherine Corsini has a reputation as a director who has a particular sensibility for female-centric subjects. Her best known works include Summertime (2015), Three Worlds (2012) and Les Ambitieux (2006).
She has been selected no less than four times to take part in the Cannes Film Festival with Replay, in Competition in 2001, Three Worlds in the 2012 Un Certain Regard line-up, Les Amoureux and Jeunesse sans Dieu in the Directors’ Fortnight in 1994 and 1996. She took part once in the Berlinale (with La Nouvelle Eve in the 1999 Panorama section), and she has also won acclaim in Locarno (scooping the Piazza Grande Award in 2015 for Summertime), in Toronto (thanks to Leaving in 2009) and more recently in Rotterdam with An Impossible Love three years ago.
Written by the director herself, alongside Laurette Polmanss (their third collaboration) and Agnès Feuvre the script for her new film The Divide revolves around Raf and Julie. Together, they form a couple on the verge of a break-up who find themselves in Accident and Emergency having almost suffocated on the evening of a large Parisian demonstration.
Corsini, 65, has said: “For my thirteenth film I wanted to make a story about today and about activism, but I wasn’t sure how to get into that. And like in the film, because the actress represents me a lot, I fell, I broke my elbow, and I found myself in the emergency room on 1 December 2018, the day of the First Act of the Yellow Vests. So I made a slightly surrealist collage.”
She received the Cannes Queer Palm 2021 for the film, suggesting: “What was close to my heart was to tell a story about a couple of women in their fifties. Homosexuality is a subject and at the same time it is not because it is integrated and overcomes prejudices. It’s wonderful to be rewarded for that.”

Catherine Corsini will introduce The Divide at London Ciné Lumière on Sat 6 Nov and take part in a Q&a after the screening.

JEAN-PIERRE AMERIS

Jean-Pierre Ameris studied at the Paris film school L’IDHEC and then returned to his native Lyon to make three shorts, one of which, Interim, won a major prize at the Clermont-Ferrand short film festival. He has directed 14 feature films since 1993. The majority of his subjects are more realistic, dealing with serious themes such as a teacher working under the Occupation in Le bateau de mariage, prison in Les Aveux de l’innocent and dying in C’est la vie. Since Call Me Elisabeth in 2006, a film about childhood fears, he has moved away from realism – in Romantics Anonymous, Améris was keen to create a slightly unreal world in a story that had autobiographical roots. Its box office success enabled him to embark on a lavish adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs. He worked with actor Eric Elmosnino as a hypochondriac in
I Feel Better / Je vais mieux before joining forces again with his Romantics Anonymous lead Benoît Poolevorde for a touching study of a father-son relationship in My Father’s Stories / Profession du père.

Jean-Pierre Améris will introduce and take part in a conversation as part of fff @ home.

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