ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL Returns

Following its premature closure due to the COVID-19 health crisis, we’re delighted to announce that the Alliance Française French Film Festival will be resuming its 31st season on Bastille Day, from 14 July to 4 August, at Palace Cinemas and associated venues.

Returning to 7 cities throughout Australia, this beloved cultural event has to date confirmed a standout selection of 28 features from the original March line-up, and is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas.

 

And with the safety and well-being of our patrons uppermost, we confirm that all participating cinemas will be adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene standards throughout the Festival in line with COVID-19 safety protocols.

 

Two outstanding films, which embody the spirit of optimism and reinvention, have been selected to bookend our July re-launch. For this incarnation of the Festival, first night audiences will be treated to the much fêted La Belle Époque, starring acting great Daniel Auteuil as Victor, a disillusioned man who is given the opportunity to recreate the great love-affair of his youth in the hope that it can restore his future, whilst The Bare Necessity (Perdrix), a whimsical tale of a family forced to re-evaluate their stagnant ways and finally live life to the fullest, will bid adieu to the 2020 season.

 

Festival films currently confirmed are as follows:

 

A FRIENDLY TALE (Le bonheur des uns)

Director:  Daniel Cohen                                                          

Cast:  François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo

In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.

 

ALICE AND THE MAYOR (Alice et le maire)

Director:  Nicolas Pariser                                                                                                

Cast:  Fabrice Luchini, Anaïs Demoustier

In this simultaneously hilarious and poignant drama, a mayor whose passion for his role has deserted him is reinvigorated when a brilliant young philosopher enters his inner circle.

 

AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)

A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico                                                                 

Narrator: Romain Duris

Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance.  But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary, as this enthralling documentary, with never-before-seen archival footage, reveals.

 

THE BARE NECESSITY (Perdrix)

Director:  Erwan le Duc                                                                                    

Cast:  Swann Arlaud, Maude Wyler, Fanny Ardant

A close-knit family entrenched in a comfortable routine within their small village, find their lives turned upside down when an enigmatic stranger, forces them to revaluate their lives

 

EDMOND

Director: Alexis Michalik                   

Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon

Paris, 1897.  When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all author Edmond Rostand has is the title – Cyrano de Bergerac.  Can he accomplish the impossible?

 

THE EXTRAORDINARY (Hors normes)

Directors:  Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano                                                         

Cast:  Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb

An informal shelter in Paris for autistic youth, abandoned by a system unable to care for them, is put at risk when authorities target it for investigation.

 

FAREWELL TO THE NIGHT (L’adieu à la nuit)

Director: André Téchiné                                                                            

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein

Muriel, a respected member of an idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, has been radicalised by Islamist extremists, exposing this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Fête de famille)

Director:  Cédric Kahn                                                    

Cast:  Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Bercot, Vincent Macaigne

Matriarch Andrea has summoned her children and grandchildren home to celebrate her 70th birthday.  But her warring children threaten to transform what should be a happy occasion into one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

 

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)

Director: Martin Provost                             

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer

In 1968 the head of a housekeeping school for teenage girls, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.

 

IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)

Director:  Edouard Bergeon                                                     

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon

Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm.  But 20 years on, mounting debt and the accompanying pressures start to take their toll on him and his family.

 

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

Director: Nicolas Bedos                                                                   

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tillier

A man is given a second chance to revisit the love of his youth when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments

 

LES MISÉRABLES

Director:  Ladj Ly                                                                         

Cast:  Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Didier Zonga

Set in the troubled Parisian district of Montfermeil, this searing tale follows cop Stéphane who works on the fringes of both the city and society.

 

MY DAYS OF GLORY (Mes jours de gloire)

Director:  Antoine de Bary                                             

Cast: Vincent Lacoste, Emmanuelle Devos, Christophe Lambert

When a former child-star is given the chance of a lead role in a big-budget biopic, he must decide whether it’s worth casting aside the comforting familiarity of failure in order to finally stand on his own two feet.

 

THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)

Director: Rémi Bezançon                                                                                

Cast:  Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz

A deceased Breton pizza maker is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes an overnight literary success. But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham and vows to uncover the truth.

 

NOTRE DAME

Director:  Valérie Donzelli                                                                       

Cast:  Valérie Donzelli, Pierre Deladonchamps

Maud, a struggling architect, wins a competition to redesign the Notre Dame esplanade. However, what should be a career-defining opportunity only brings more drama, heightened by romantic complications, when a media scandal arises.

 

OF LOVE AND LIES (Fourmi)

Director:  Julien Rappeneau                                         

Cast:  François Damiens, Maleaume Paquin, André Dussollier

Not wishing to impose yet another disappointment on his father, a young boy articulates a well-meaning fiction by telling his dad that he’s been selected for a top soccer club… but the lie soon overtakes his life and that of those around him.

 

OH MERCY!  (Roubaix, une lumière)

Director:  Arnaud Desplechin                                                               

Cast:  Roschdy Zem, Léa Seydoux, Sara Forestier

The infallible Commissaire Daoud holds reign in the busy police station of a once prosperous town. Some cases are easy to solve, whereas others, pose searing questions about presumptions of guilt and innocence.

 

ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)

Director: Dominik Moll                                                             

Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard

Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder.

 

PROXIMA

Director: Alice Winocour                                                               

Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant-Lemesle, Matt Dillon

As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah is forced to choose between her work and her child when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima.

 

ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)

Director: Christophe Honoré                                           

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste

During one “magical night”, time collapses upon itself, revealing to a dissatisfied wife, a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.

 

ROXANE

Director: Mélanie Auffret                                                                                                          

Cast:  Guillaume de Tonquédec, Léa Drucker

When Brittany’s chicken farms face financial ruin, a Breton poultry farm, in an effort to raise funds, takes to broadcasting his rendition of Cyrano de Bergerac via YouTube, with his favourite hen, and star-in-the-making, Roxane.

SCHOOL LIFE (La vie scolaire)

Directors: Mehdi Idir, Grand Corps Malade                     

Cast:  Zita Hanrot, Liam Pierron, Soufiane Guerrab

Despite being thrown in the deep-end when transferred to her new job in Paris’ troubled northern suburbs, a young teacher enthusiastically supports her students in the hope of showing them a brighter future.

 

SPREAD YOUR WINGS (Donne-moi des ailes)

Director: Nicolas Vanier                                                          

Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez

A disparate father and son – the former, a visionary scientist who studies wild birds, and the latter, a teen obsessed with video games, bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.

 

THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)

Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec                      

Voices: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud

This critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship.

 

THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)

Director: Régis Roinsard                                                 

Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio

When the first 10 pages of a top-secret manuscript appear online, the publisher suspects foul play from one of the 9 language experts hired to translate the book in isolation…and will go to any length to unmask the culprit.

 

TWO OF US (Deux)

Director: Filippo Meneghetti                                                    

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker

Pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.

 

WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)

Director: Guillaume Canet                          

Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte

The long-awaited sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy LITTLE WHITE LIES that revisits the complex lives of restaurateur Max and his friends.

 

ZOMBIE CHILD

Director:  Bertrand Bonello                                                

Cast:  Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Katiana Milfort

Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’.  But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.

 

The 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival will screen from 14 July to 4 August at the following locations:

SYDNEY:  Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel   Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

MELBOURNE:  Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth & Kino Cinemas

BRISBANE:  Palace Barracks & Palace James Street

PERTH:  Palace Raine Square, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema

ADELAIDE:  Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas & Palace Nova Prospect Cinema

CANBERRA:  Palace Electric Cinemas

BYRON BAY:           Palace Byron Bay

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