The Alliance Française French Film Festival is the largest festival of French films outside France. Apart from that, what’s so special about this year’s Festival?
Recently, French audiences have embraced films that have explored hard topics such as social tensions, agricultural crises and politics, threads that are well represented in our 2020 line-up. Themes like these are a far cry from beloved genres such as comedies and rom-coms of which we also have an innovative selection – La Belle Époque being absolutely unmissable in that respect!
What are some of your top recommendations for MiNDFOOD readers?
The Extraordinary (this year’s opening film by filmmakers Nakache and Toledano, the duo who brought us The Intouchables)
Les Misérables (nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 2020 Oscars)
How to be a Good Wife (the civil unrest of May 1968 viewed from a conservative boarding school in a gloriously kitsch setting)
The Invisibles (an uplifting tribute to homeless women)
Farewell to the Night (starring French cinema queen, Catherine Deneuve)
Two of Us (a tender love story between two women in their twilight years)
Only the Animals (a terrific thriller)
The Swallows of Kabul (stunning watercolours made of tears and sweat with a female Afghan punk soundtrack!)
Who are some of the stars of this year’s Festival?
Catherine Deneuve appears in four films – two new ones and two classics. Juliette Binoche is stunning in the very subtly feminist How to be a Perfect Wife whilst Fanny Ardant is on fire in La Belle Époque and A Bare Necessity. There are also the new chouchous (darlings) of French cinema, such as Vincent Lacoste in My Days of Glory, which also features Noé Abita, ‘the next Binoche’. Actor François Civil stars in three films, whilst Anaïs Demoustier won a much-deserved César Award for Best Actress for Alice and the Mayor.
How would you sum up this year’s Festival?
Celebrated French director François Truffaut described cinema as “the perfect mix of truth and spectacle”. There will be a lot of both this year. Our 2020 line-up reveals a window to a better future, a society where we can find mutual assistance and generosity, along with a determination to push boundaries and make our world more inclusive. The films also conjure up archetypal heroes such as astronauts, princes and princesses, but more importantly, the heroes ‘next door’ – the ones we can all become.
2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival:
SYDNEY: 10 March – 8 April
MELBOURNE: 11 March – 8 April
PERTH: 11 March – 8 April
CANBERRA: 12 March – 8 April
ADELAIDE: 17 March -14 April
BRISBANE: 18 March -14 April
HOBART: 19 – 28 March
AVOCA BEACH: 19 March – 1 April
PARRAMATTA: 26 – 29 March
BYRON BAY: 31 March – 12 April
BENDIGO: 17 – 19 April
BALLARAT: 17 -19 April