The 19th French Film Festival presents an unparalleled selection of le cinéma français in leading cinemas around the country, including London Cine Lumiere. There are a wealth of genres to suit all tastes and impressive performances from an array of established stellar names and emerging talents.
Daniel Auteuil will attend the UK Premiere of The Well Digger’s Daughter. Shot in perpetual sunshine and superbly scored by Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech), Auteuil returns to the familiar and beloved territory of Marcel Pagnol’s work, this time as director but also playing beautifully the role of the peasant father on screen a role taken in the 1940 original by Raimu. Kad Merad takes the part once played by Fernandel. Daniel Armogathe, the president of the Marseille Cinematheque will focus on adapting the work of Marcel Pagnol to the cinema.
Jean-Pierre Améris is on the guest list to support the preview opening gala screenings of Romantics Anonymous, an exquisite bitter-sweet confection starring Isabelle Carré and Benoît Poelvoorde and to be released shortly by Picturehouse Entertainment (from 2 December).
Stirring up a flurry of media attention in France and perfectly timed in the current political climate, writer-director Xavier Durringer’s farce The Conquest chronicles President Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power. The 10th presidential election of France is set to take place early next year and already the pace is hotting up. The themes of power and politics are also tackled in Alain Cavalier’s latest film Pater in which he stars alongside Vincent Lindon filming themselves as they pretend to be businessmen-politicians campaigning for office.
André Téchiné is back with Unforgivable, a luminous and atmospheric adaptation of Philippe Djian’s novel while Jacques Perrin plunges us deep into the sublime and mysterious world of the sea, signing another breathtaking documentary with Oceans.
Angelina Maccarone’s engaging documentary The Look (released by Park Circus) places the spotlight on Charlotte Rampling, in a free-wheeling tête-à-tête offering a fascinating portrait of the actress whose career spans half a century. Audiences will also have a chance to see All the Suns, with Stefano Accorsi and Anouk Aimée, Philippe Claudel’s second feature after his hugely acclaimed I’ve Loved You So Long.
The closing weekend will see 100th anniversary screenings of the second instalment in Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas silent serial, Juvé contre Fantômas accompanied by a live electronic score performed by two cult Parisian dee-jays Jean-Yves Leloup and Éric Pajot aka Radiomentale.
In between will be a stunning array of French language productions from France, Quebec, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium. Other keenly anticipated titles include Service Entrance starring Fabrice Luchini, Sandrine Kiberlain and Carmen Maura and a huge box office hit in France. Two classics figure among the fare: Love Eternal by Jean Delannoy and scripted by Jean Cocteau and Maurice Tourneur’sJustin de Marseille, part of a focus on Glasgow-Marseille Twinning.
Pride of place is being given to Christophe Honoré who will accompany his latest venture Belovedwhich was the closing choice for this year’s Cannes Film Festival and features mother and daughter Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni. The Brittany-born director will headline a special focus on the region as well as a retrospective of his work including Close to Leo and Love Songs. A tribute is being held to Claude Chabrol who favoured Brittany for many of his films.
Following the festival’s recent celebrations of Jacques Tati and, last year, Pierre Etaix, we salute in their presence a Belgian burlesque duo in the same tradition Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel and their Cannes entry The Fairy (Verve Pictures). Another Belgian Bouli Lanners hopes to put in an appearance for his much acclaimed third film as a director The Giants, a fresh coming of age tale. Lebanese-born director Danielle Arbid returns to the festival with her smouldering and intense Beirut Hotel.
Two animation hits A Cat in Paris and Titeuf (in stunning 3D and 2D versions) by Swiss-born animator Zep will figure alongside a selection of documentaries, among them Think Global, Act Rural by Coline Serreau and from Switzerland’s Fernand Melgar the heart-rending Special Flight. The shorts selection is headed by the acclaimed Tremblay-en-France featuring Scots actor Jamie Sives in an unusual role. Thousands of pupils in Scotland will watch two especially selected films with their teachers: A Cat in Parisand Romain Goupil’s Hands Up as part of the Learning programme.
Festival director Richard Mowe said: “We feel it is going to be a vintage year for the French Film Festival UK which augurs well for 2012 when we will celebrate two decades of bringing the crême de la crême of French-language cinema to these shores.”
The FFF UK will screen in London Ciné Lumière, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow GFT, ManchesterCornerhouse, Warwick Arts Centre, Aberdeen Belmont Picturehouse and Union Square Cineworld, Dundee DCA, Inverness Eden Court, Stirling Macrobert Centre, Dumfries Robert Burns Centre and for the first time Bo’ness (at the recently restored Hippodrome).
Here is the programme