Movie competition to convey out the French in everybody

Opening evening movie, “Masquerade”… set on the Côte d’Azur, stuffed with glamour, intercourse, cash and manipulation.

THE looming French Movie Competition is much less “toujours l’amour” and extra “cherchez la femme” this yr with a formidable line-up of feminine administrators amongst its 39 movies.

There’s Céline Devaux, Rebecca Zlotowski, Mia Hansen-Løve and  Virginie Efira, to call just a few.

I caught up with British-French nationwide Hortense de Pelleport, tradition and communications supervisor on the Alliance Française de Canberra and, for this yr, competition co-ordinator for Canberra.

The occasion is the biggest celebration of French movie outdoors of France with greater than 153,000 attendees in 2022 and she or he enthuses, “lots of people are ready every year, the French neighborhood, Francophiles, college students desirous to apply their French and other people within the wider neighborhood… it’s so numerous that everybody can go”.

Proof of the general public curiosity is seen within the packed parking heaps and lecture rooms at Maison de France in Turner as first-term college students arrive. The Australian infatuation with France doesn’t appear to have abated.

“France could be very engaging to Australians, and an enormous number of folks wish to journey,” de Pelleport says. “However many Australians can’t afford to journey there and the competition is a reasonably low-cost method of doing so… many individuals go to movies three or 4 occasions every week.”

The entire nation, de Pelleport believes, is a primary vacation spot, with mountains, volcanoes, vineyards and seashores, a few of the greatest in her household’s native Normandy.

“Journey Above”… touching household film.

In truth, Normandy is the setting for the touching household film “Journey Above”, the place younger Zoé goals of changing into an awesome jockey identical to her father, filmed proper close to the de Pelleport household seashore on the shoreline.

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It pleases her that whereas there are a lot of glamorous footage set in Paris or the Côte d’Azur, there are additionally extra modest movies resembling “Journey Above” and “Nation Cabaret”, the place failing farmer David and a solid of outrageous performers remodel a drained barn home into a blinding hub of showbiz.

And but the opening evening movie, “Masquerade”, is certainly set on the Côte d’Azur, stuffed with glamour, intercourse, cash and manipulation as Adrien depends on his magnificence to seduce older, rich ladies to assist his way of life whilst bother begins to brew. It’s a certain crowd-pleaser.

One other showstopper, “November”, is about within the capital and displays the expertise of the lead investigators of the French anti-terrorism companies, working in opposition to the clock within the aftermath of the 2015 assaults throughout Paris.

“Two Tickets to Greece”… estranged childhood mates tentatively reunite for a visit to the Greek Islands.

Annually the competition has quite a few focus nights and there’s at all times a women’ evening, which this time will function “Two Tickets to Greece”, with Laure Calamy, Olivia Côte and Kristin Scott Thomas enjoying estranged childhood mates who tentatively reunite for a visit to the Greek Islands.

“A Style of France” is one other common function, with this yr’s alternative the Australian premiere of “Sugar and Stars” based mostly on champion pastry chef Yazid Ichemrahem’s autobiography.

A human rights evening introduced by the ANU will function “Annie’s Fireplace”, directed by Blandine Lenoir, the place Laure Calamy surfaces once more as a mild-mannered, working-class mom of two who will get blended up in an abortion and household planning community.

However with 39 movies to select from, there’s much more.

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“Nation Cabaret”… the place failing farmer David and a solid of outrageous performers remodel a drained barn home into a blinding hub of showbiz.

One other favorite is Rebecca Zlotowski’s new romantic drama, “Different Folks’s Youngsters”, a “tender and trendy” film the place a childless girl types a deep bond along with her boyfriend’s younger daughter.

And, de Pelleport says, it will be exhausting to go previous “Remaining Minimize”, an opening-night hit at Cannes Competition final yr. However, she warns, zombie-haters should endure the primary bizarre 39 minutes, which turn into a pretend zombie film. “It’s hilarious,” she says.

The thirty fourth Alliance Française French Movie Competition, Palace Electrical, March 9-April 5.


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Ian Meikle, editor