Auld Alliance – a Glasgow cinema’s history…

November 22, 2022

During the first 2022 Festival screening at Glasgow Film Theatre, we learned about the cinema’s historic connection with France from one of its patrons.

Originally called The Cosmo, the cinema opened on 18 May 1939 with a screening of French director Jean DuVivier’s Un Carnet de Bal (Christine).

The Cosmo promised its audiences a programme of ‘continental fiction films revivals of British and American fiction films documentary films cartoons and news reels there was only one qualification – they must be of first rate quality.’

Flyer for the first ever screening at The Cosmo (1939)
Queues around the block for The Cosmo cinema in the 1960s.

Cosmo was short for cosmopolitan and the cinema lived up to its reputation.

It continued to show screenings throughout World War II despite the scarce availability of films. It continued its forward-thinking mission post-war, becoming the first UK cinema to show a French film made during the Occupation as well as showing German wartime productions such as Münchhausen.

During World War II the Cosmo also screened free films for members of the French navy stationed at Greenock, as a sign of solidarity.

The Cosmo became Glasgow Film Theatre in 1973 but the mission of showing cosmopolitan cinema remains. This year, the French Film Festival UK opened the Glasgow programme with two early previews of new French films François Ozon Peter Von Kant and Eric Gravel’s Full Time to enthusiastic audiences.

Thanks to the team there for working with us and Vive le cinéma!

Win a dinner for two at Zero/Zero wine bar.

November 10, 2022

The French Film Festival UK has paired up with new natural wine bar Zero/Zero to offer dinner for two to our Edinburgh-based Festival-goers.

Located on South Clerk Street, the newly opened bar is offering:

Choice of Cheese board by IJ Mellis or a Charcuterie board by East Coast Cured (vegan option available) plus a bottle of wine to share.* 


Simply follow Zero/Zero and French Film Festival on Instagram or Twitter, like and share the releveant competition post / or tag a friend you’d bring with you in the post comments section. 



A winner will be picked from all qualifying entries on 30 November midday. 

Zero/Zero means nothing added, nothing taken away. We fully believe in this philosophy of wine making, we offer wines in their purest form, wines as they were meant to be and most importantly wines that are alive. We are a laid back neighbourhood spot where everyone is welcome. With cheese, charcuterie and bar snacks on offer there is something for everyone at Zero/Zero.

*T&CS apply
Terms and conditions:

Entrants must be 18 or over and resident within an EH postcode.

No limit on number of people tagged.

All actions must be taken to be a valid entry.

Competition closes on 30 November at midday and the winner will be contacted privately via social media. 

Dinner voucher is valid until June 2023, excluding certain key dates (please contact Zero/Zero wines to book your meal). please note Zero/Zero Wines is closed Mondays. 

French Film Festival in Scotland

November 9, 2022

From 11 November, the French Film Festival UK arrives in Scotland, starting with our UK premiere of Maigret in Edinburgh, followed by a packed programme at The Dominion Cinema, Summerhall and the Institut français d’Écosse in the capital, as well as GFT in Glasgow, DCA in Dundee, Eden Court, Inverness and a number of local cinemas from St Andrews to Shetland! 

See below to find the nearest Scottish venue to you and browse their programme:


Edinburgh Dominion


Institut Français d’Ecosse


Glasgow Film Theatre


Dundee Contemporary Arts


Inverness Eden Court


Oban Phoenix


Stirling MacRoberts Arts Centre


St Andrew’s Byre Theatre


Shetland Mareel

Reclining with Agnès Varda… 30 Years of French Film Festival UK

October 26, 2022

It all started in Paris. The second European Film Awards took place on a cold November evening in 1989 at the Art Deco Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Liv Ullmann was President of the Jury, and the stellar assembly of talents included Yves Montand, Micheline Presle, Leslie Caron, and Sir Richard “Dickie” Attenborough. 

As journalists, Richard Mowe and I were lucky to attend.  It was a night to remember—Philippe Noiret was named European Actor for his roles in Bertrand Tavernier’s La Vie et rien d’autre (Life and Nothing But) and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. Theo Angelopoulos’ Landscape in the Mist was chosen as best film. Presenter Hanna Schygulla brought fellow presenter Pedro Almodóvar a chunk of stone from the Berlin Wall, which had fallen just two weeks earlier. There was a goosebump moment when a hushed auditorium listened to an audio message of welcome from Marlene Dietrich. She lived just a few streets away, and had glimpsed the preparations for the ceremony from her window. The following year, the awards would be held in Glasgow.

Left – Right: Jean-Paul Rappeneau with Festival Founder Richard Mowe in 2007; Agnès Varda at the 1995 Festival.

The powerful sense of a shared community that night left us both pondering why so many European films never saw the light of day in Britain. There were countless French and Francophone films that might only have made a solitary appearance at a festival and then disappeared from view. There were some notable exceptions as audiences flocked to Jean de Florette, Au revoir les enfants (Goodbye, Children) or Cyrano de Bergerac – but those were just the highly visible tip of a much more substantial national industry. There was a feeling that something should be done about it. Perhaps, we should start an event celebrating French and French-language cinema. That was how the French Film Festival UK began.

It took a little time to convince others that this was a good idea. Sponsors, venues, sales agents and filmmakers came on board – all of them have been vital partners in the Festival ever since. Later, Richard headed back to Paris to visit Jeanne Moreau, wooing her with flowers and charm as he invited her to become the patron of the Festival. She accepted.

The first Festival was held in 1992 in Glasgow and Edinburgh, opening with the devilish Josiane Balasko comedy Ma vie est un enfer (My Life Is Hell). It was to be a Festival without barriers – showcasing commercial success and arthouse promise, big titles and fresh discoveries. Focusing on short films and education work encouraged a younger generation to broaden their horizons and try something different.

In the first year of the Festival you could have seen Jean-Jacques Beineix’s IP5: L’île aux pachydermes (IP5: The Island of Pachyderms) with Yves Montand, Régis Wargnier’s Indochine with Catherine Deneuve, and Claude Chabrol’s Madame Bovary with Isabelle Huppert (revived for this year’s anniversary edition). Looking back, it is heartening to recall how much of an emphasis the Festival placed on the work of female directors. In 1993, there were new films from Coline Serreau, Claire Devers, Christine Pascal, and Anne Fontaine. 

Cover of the first ever French Film Festival UK brochure in 1992, featuring My Life Is Hell by Josiane Balasko

Early Festivals championed Claire Denis, Diane Kurys, Tonie Marshall, Nicole Garcia, Marion Vernoux and, in later years, such talents as Danielle Arbid and Blandine Lenoir. The Festival also developed a pretty good record for talent spotting. The first Festival included first features from Arnaud Desplechin and Brigitte Roüan. The second edition brought the first features of Cédric Klapisch and Anne Fontaine to British audiences, and later Emmanuel Mouret made his bow.

Looking back, there is such a jumble of memories from the Festival’s earliest years. Who can forget Agnès Varda draped like Cleopatra across the front-row seats at Filmhouse in Edinburgh, relaxed and contently horizontal as she took questions from an audience who had just watched L’une chante, l’autre pas (One Sings, the Other Doesn’t). Or Bertrand Tavernier storming around the country like a touring rock star and reviving memories in Glasgow of Death Watch, the film he made there with Romy Schneider and Harvey Keitel.

Gérard Jugnot kept his secret when an audience member at the Glasgow Film Theatre cheekily inquired whether he was a boxers or briefs man – it was relevant to his film. Jugnot was represented at the first Festival with Une Époque formidable. And Fontaine admitted that Miou-Miou would be delighted to hear that someone felt there was a striking resemblance between her and handsome co-star Stanislas Merhar in Nettoyage à sec (Dry Cleaning). 

Left – Right: Jean Reno and Glasgow Film Theatre’s Jaki McDougall, 2007; Bérénice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius taking time out from ‘OSS 117’, 2007 – Image: Valentina Bonizzi

Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, who was the subject of an early retrospective, savoured a visit to Edinburgh Castle. and subsequently has loyally made several return trips. Meanwhile, Claude Lelouch (Hommes, femmes, mode d’emploi / Men, Women: A User’s Manual) went for his morning jog with Richard. He figures nostalgically in this year’s edition, with Les Plus belles années d’une vie (The Best Years of a Life) as a tribute to the late Jean-Louis Trintignant. And there were so many more: Alain Corneau, Nadine Trintignant, and Jean Becker.

Over the past three decades, the unique Festival has only grown in importance as a showcase for French and Francophone films that now has a footprint across more than 35 cinemas in the United Kingdom. It has given audiences an early chance to spot rising talents and see in person a galaxy of greats that stretches from Bérénice Bejo to  Patrice Chéreau, Yolande Moreau to Antoine de Caunes, Claude Sautet to Roschdy Zem, Jean Reno to Agnès Jaoui. The organisers helped bring Sylvain Chomet and his wife Sally to Edinburgh, where he stayed to make The Illusionist. Although back in Normandy, he remains a patron of the Festival. 

Access to French cinema has grown easier – more films secure British distribution and more classics than ever are being restored and revived. The core values of the Festival remain the same – a grand and glorious celebration of French and Francophone cinema in all its rich variety and guises. Here’s to the next 30 years!

Allan Hunter is co-director of the Glasgow Film Festival, a former co-director of the French Film Festival UK and the Italian Film Festival UK, a biographer, and a journalist contributing to many international film publications.

Anaïs in Love

September 1, 2022

Anaïs is 30 and broke. She has a lover, but she’s not sure she loves him anymore. She meets Daniel, who immediately falls for her. But Daniel lives with Émilie – whom Anaïs also falls for. This is the story of a restless young woman. And the story of a profound desire.

Dir: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet

Cast Anaïs Demoustier, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Denis Podalydès
France | 2020 | 98 mins
French with English subtitles


Winner, Jury Award (Best First Feature Narrative), Melbourne Queer Film Festival (2021)
Nominated, Queer Palm & Golden CameraCannes Film Festival (2021)


Our Eternal Summer

August 5, 2022

Available online NOW!

Dir Émilie Aussel

Inseparable Lise and Lola spend the carefree summer of their 18th birthdays together with friends on a beach in the Mediterranean town of Marseille. Celebrating the beginning of the rest of their lives, they soon realise that nothing lasts forever when someone is lost in the water.

Cast Agathe Talrich, Marcia Feugeas, Matthieu Lucci
France | 2021 | 75 mins
French with English subtitles

Awards & Festivals

🏆 Winner, Special Jury Prize (Filmmakers of the Present), Locarno International Film Festival (2021)

Watch the Trailer

July 2022 cinema releases

July 22, 2022

Notre-Dame on Fire / Notre-Dame brûle (12A)

Dir Jean-Jacques Annaud

Notre-Dame on Fire offers a blow-by-blow recreation of the gripping events that took place on 15 April 2019, when the cathedral suffered the biggest blaze in its history. The film retraces how men and women put their lives on the line to accomplish a heroic awe-inspiring rescue.

Cast Samuel Labarthe, Jérémie Laheurte, Chloé Jouannet
France | 2021 | 110 mins
French with English subtitles

Awards & Festivals

🏆 Official Selection, Munich International Film Festival (2022)

Watch the trailer

Robust / Robuste (15)

Dir Constance Meyer

Larger than life in all conceivable ways, Gérard Depardieu brings generous helpings of his own personality to any role he plays. Constance Meyer’s highly enjoyable Cannes Critics’ Week opener Robust not only takes this on board, but runs with it, casting Depardieu as Georges, an ageing French actor with a tendency to crash motorbikes and to embark on drunken misadventures.

Cast Gérard Depardieu, Déborah Lukumuena, Lucas Mortier
France | 2021 | 95 mins
French with English subtitles

Awards & Festivals

🏆 Nominated, Golden Camera, Cannes Film Festival (2021)

🏆 Official Selection, French Film Festival UK (2021)

Watch the trailer

FFF Recommends: TV5MONDEplus

July 5, 2022

Celebrate National Days this July

Available FREE on TV5MONDEplus!

This July, TV5MONDEplus celebrates the National Days of Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland. They’ll be taking a look at local history and cultures as well as exploring some stunning scenery. Best of all the programmes are free to watch and screened with English subtitles available. Read on to find out more.

How to watch TV5MONDEplus

Exclusively on the App and on tv5mondeplus.comProgrammes that move with the times, on-demand and are 100% free.

Sign up to our Newsletter

If you’re a fan of French films, why not sign up to our newsletter?

We’ll bring you our recommendations of the best Francophone titles, either on demand or in the cinema.  Whether you’re looking for a short film, or a full length feature there’s something for everyone.



June 2022 Releases

June 24, 2022

New cinema releases

Screening from 24 June

The Big Hit / Un Triomphe (15)

Dir Emmanuel Courcol

Étienne, an often-out-of-work but endearing actor, runs a theatre workshop in a prison, where he brings together an unlikely troupe of prisoners to stage Samuel Beckett’s classic Waiting for Godot. When he is allowed to take the colourful band of convicts on a tour outside the prison, Étienne finally has the chance to thrive. Each date is a new success and a unique relationship grows between this ad hoc group of actors and their director. But soon comes the final performance in Paris.

Cast Kad Merad, Marina Hands, Laurent Stocker
France | 2020 | 106 mins
French with English subtitles

Awards & Festivals

🏆 Official Selection, French Film Festival UK (2021)

🏆 Winner, Best European Comedy,  European Film Awards (2020)

Watch the trailer

Theo and the Metamorphosis / Théo et les métamorphoses (15)

Dir Damien Odoul

Théo, a young man with Down’s syndrome, lives in seclusion with his father who is a photographer. Théo loves nature and has a passion for drawing. Every day he spends time training his body, his balance, his reflexes and his inner strength, and dreams of becoming a samurai. When his father goes away to an exhibition, Théo decides to start a new life and his extraordinary journey begins..

Cast Théo Kermel, Pierre Meunier, Louise Morin
France / Switzerland | 2021 | 96 mins
French with English subtitles

Awards & Festivals

🏆 Winner, Grand Prix, T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival (2021)

Watch the trailer

Everything Went Fine

June 17, 2022

Everything Went Fine / Tout s’est bien passé (15)

Dir François Ozon

When the elderly André (André Dussollier) suffers a debilitating stroke, he asks his daughter Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau) to help end his life. She gradually comes to accept his request, but the impact on her and her loved ones brings out all the heartbreak and resentment in a family where André has never been the most loving or lovable father.

Cast Sophie Marceau, Géraldine Pailhas, André Dussollier
France | 2021 | 113 mins
French with English subtitles

Awards & Festivals

🏆 Nominated, Palme d’Or,  Cannes Film Festival (2021)

Watch the trailer

Subscribe to the French Film Festival UK newsletter

We’ll bring you our recommendations of the best Francophone titles, either on demand or in the cinema.  We’ll also keep you up to date with all the latest happening with the French Film Festival UK which will takes place in November and December.

In association with Screen Scotland

Funders & Sponsors