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:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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