With tickets on-sale from today, some of this year’s festival ambassadors share their top picks
Friday 4th February 2022: The Alliance Française French Film Festival has today announced a full programme of French cinematic escapes ahead of the arrival of its 33rd edition next month. With tickets on sale from today, and over 42 films to choose from, some of the festival’s ambassadors have revealed the features they’re most looking forward to.
This year’s festival boasts a talented and diverse line-up of ambassadors eager to celebrate the profound impact of French cinema on their careers personally and filmmaking more broadly. Ambassadors include blockbuster film director Phillip Noyce, renowned actor David Wenham, acclaimed screen and theatre director Shannon Murphy and internationally recognised filmmaker Samantha Lang.
To build your watch list and bag your tickets to enjoy the crème-de la-crème of contemporary French film, head to affrenchfilmfestival.org
AMBASSADOR FESTIVAL PICKS
“Growing up the last of seven children in a working-class family, I was fortunate to have a father who introduced me to world cinema from a young age. Every so often he would take me to the cinema without telling me what we would be seeing. It was here that I discovered the magic of Jacques Tati, Les Enfants du Paradis, the French new wave and the richness, inventiveness and power of French cinema. The abundance of imagination and skilful storytelling continues in contemporary French cinema inspiring filmmakers worldwide – myself definitely included!”
“Patrice Leconte’s Monsieur Hire, a subtle, unnerving psychological thriller was one of my favourite films the year it was released. I look forward to experiencing his latest film, Maigret with Gerard Depardieu.”
“I also look forward to entering the cinema during the film festival knowing nothing about the films I will see, so I can enter in to the unknown and be surprised.”
The legendary Gérard Depardieu brings to remarkable life one of the most beloved characters from 20th century crime fiction in Maigret, the masterfully directed and hugely entertaining new film from multi award-winning writer/director Patrice Leconte (Monsieur Hire, Ridicule, The Girl on The Bridge), based on Georges Simenon’s internationally best-selling novels.
“I am so honoured to be an ambassador this year. I have been fortunate to have lived so close to France over these past two years and experienced the French film scene up close and personal. I was recently left breathless after watching Petite Maman and can’t wait for festivalgoers to experience this enchanting masterpiece from one of our greatest female filmmakers, Céline Sciamma (also writer of Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13thDistrict).”
A sublime modern fairytale about the quiet wonder of mother-daughter relationships. After the death of her beloved grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly meets a mysterious friend in the woods. Together they embark on a fantastical journey of discovery which helps Nelly come to terms with this newfound loss.
“The French New Wave of the late 50s and 60s had an enormous influence on the so-called Australian New Wave of the 1970s, of whom I was one.”
“The French showed us that independent movies could be successful outside the conveyor belt of the Hollywood Studio system. And the French inspired us to be bold in the way we told our stories. My film Newsfront(1978) was the culmination of a decade spent watching mainly French cinema.
“The film I’m most looking forward to is the restoration of Rene Clement’sPurple Noon (1960), starring the great Alain Delon and adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr Ripley. My good pal and producer Anthony Minghella directed another version of the novel back in 1999 and my writer on two films, Steve Zaillian, is currently in Italy making yet another – I’m told that Clement’s adaptation and Delon’s acting are hard to beat.”
Enjoy a truly stunning remastered version of the film propelled Alain Delon to instant stardom in his first major role, becoming one of France’s greatest sex symbols.
Purple Noon is a wonderfully twisted affair, filled with unpredictable and ingenious turns. A story of lust and murder, set against the backdrop of the bright Italian sun and the wild and dangerous beauty of Alain Delon.
Karine Mauris, Festival Artistic Director
“There’s truly something for everyone in this year’s edition. From several laugh out loud comedies, many beautiful tales of romance and compelling stories. You will travel to France, Lebanon, Mali, Russia, Canada, Tibet, the North Pole and many other places, where you will meet fascinating characters that will take you into the whirlwind of life.”
Whilst it’s hard to narrow down, five features that really stand out to Mauris from this season include:
The Young Lovers
The fabulous Fanny Ardant, Melvil Poupaud and Cécile de France come together in this modern and emotionally-nuanced romantic dramedy of a woman who embarks on a relationship with a much younger man, and the implications her choices have on those around her. A beautiful tale, which explores a relationship dynamic not often presented.
Trailer for article embedding here
This devastatingly beautiful story from French director Emmanuelle Bercot, centres around a man (Benoît Magimel) grappling with terminal cancer prognosis. The movie, which received a standing ovation at Cannes, stars real-life oncologist Dr Gabriel Sara, and leans on his experiences supporting patients as they engage in a tragic ‘dance’ with the disease, trying to tame it, and coming to understand what it means to be dying while still living.
In her debut feature, director Anaïs Volpé explores the power of ride-or-die friendship, youth and the unexpected challenges life can present. Dreaming, failing, starting over. Best friends Margot (Souheila Yacoub,Savages, AF FFF20) and Alma (Déborah Lukumuena, Invisibles, AF FFF20) are young, carefree and chasing their dream to become theatre actors through the streets of Paris, until adversity suddenly threatens their plans and tests their sisterhood.
A film full of energy and life, The Braves was selected to be part of the Directors’ Fortnight la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, and also features Angélique Kidjo.
Farewell Mr Haffmann
A suspenseful tale beginning in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941, Farewell Mr Haffmann presents the unusual pact between a Jewish jeweller (Daniel Auteuil) who seeks refuge for his family from his French Catholic employee (Gilles Lellouche) and wife (Sara Giraudeau).”
Rich in moral complexity and empathy, with several twists too good to spoil, this is one of the festival’s major highlights. It’s a must-see!
With stunning cinematography inspired by the photographic work of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe, Mali Twist is a time capsule that explores a lesser-known side of Mali’s history. This powerful love story captures a country torn between tradition and revolution.
Against a backdrop of change, audiences are treated to a unique blast from the past where iconic 60’s hits punctuate the naivety of youth and reality of politics.
Following last year’s edition, which saw the festival reach record audiences despite the pandemic, the AF FFF will once again present a stellar line-up of contemporary French cinema. The 33rd showcase boasts over 42 feature films, covering a wide spectrum of genres, and several Australian and international premieres. With four directors and many rising-star actors making their feature film debut, the AFFFF continues its commitment to celebrate the next generation of artists creating a new blueprint for French cinema.
The 2022 Alliance arrives in multiple locations around Australia between 1st March – 26th April 2022. The safety and well-being of festivalgoers is of utmost importance, and all participating cinemas will be adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene standards throughout the season in line with recommended COVID-19 safety protocols.
To explore this year’s programme and secure tickets, head to affrenchfilmfestival.org
Key dates to add to the diary for a dose of French culture include:
• Sydney: 1st March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
Screening at: Palace Central, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema
and Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
• Parramatta: 7th to 10th April
Screening at: Parramatta Riverside Theatres
• Canberra: 2nd March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
Screening at: Palace Electric
• Melbourne: 3rd March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
Screening at: Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Como. Palace Westgarth,
Pentridge Cinema, The Kino and The Astor Theatre (Opening Night)
• Perth: 9th March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
Screening at: Camelot Outdoor Cinema, Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Palace Raine
Square and Windsor Cinema
• Brisbane: 16th March to 13th April (Encore screenings: 14th to 18th April)
Screening at: Palace Barracks and Palace James Street
• Adelaide: 24th March to 24th April (Encore screenings: 25th to 26th April)
Screening at: Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas and Victa
Cinemas (Victor Harbor)
• Byron Bay: 30th March to 14th April (Encore screenings: 15th to 16th April)
Screening at: Palace Byron Bay
• Hobart: 9th to 20th March
Screening at: State Cinema