More than 20 films are ready to roll at the 23rd French Film Festival this June 6-12, 2018 at Greenbelt 3, Bonifacio High Street, and for the first time, UP Town Center cinemas.
A varied selection of 14 contemporary French movies make up the main lineup of the festival including critically acclaimed films like Personal Shopper, La Prière, and Django, and films set in the world of the arts like Cézanne et moi, Polina, and Yves Saint Laurent. Almost all genres for every film buff are covered with the dramas Orpheline and Une Vie, the comedies Épouse-moi mon pote and Rock‘n Roll, the light science fiction Seuls, the animated Louise en hiver, and the documentary Voyage à travers le cinéma français. A very recent French blockbuster, the action packed Taxi 5 will have its red carpet premiere on June 8, 2018.
In celebration of the centenary of Jean-Pierre Melville, one of the most influential directors of all time who pioneered French film noir, the festival will feature a retrospective of 7 of his films including 24 heures dans la vie d’un clown, Le Silence de la mer, Bob Le Flambeur, Léon Morin Prêtre, Le Doulos, L’Armée des ombre, Le Cercle rouge curated by the Institut Français.
The French Film Festival have always paid tribute to Philippine cinema on June 12, Philippine Independence Day. On this day, two of Raymond Red’s films, the short film Anino and the feature length Himpapawid, will be screened. Red is a pioneer in Philippine independent cinema and holds the distinction of being the first ever Filipino to be awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his Anino. Zig Dulay’s Bagahe that recently won the grand prize, Cyclo d’or, at the Vesoul Asian Film Festival rounds up the Philippine selection.
The Manila leg of the 23rd French Film Festival begins at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas on June 6-12, 2018 while the Bonifacio High Street cinemas roll the films on June 8-12, 2018. The newest addition to the festival, the UP Town Center cinemas will screen the films on June 10-11, 2018. After the Manila leg, the festival flies to Davao with screenings at the Abreeza Mall on June 21-22, 2018. Then the festival lands in Cebu screening at the Ayala Center in June 25-27, 2018. Tickets to all the screenings are priced at an affordable P150 to cover the operational costs of the cinemas.
Embassy Audiovisual Attaché Martin Macalintal,|
Wilson Yuloque of Pioneer Films, FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño,
and French Ambassador Nicolas Galey
The 23rd French Film Festival is presented by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Français, UniFrance, the Alliance française de Manille, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas, SSI Group, Inc., and Central Square with the support of Lacoste, L’Occitane, Diptyque, Peugeot Philippines, Marithé François Girbaud, Pioneer Films, CMB Paris Délice, Don Papa, Le Cellier, Taters, Chimara, and media partners Expat Newspaper and Spot.ph.
23rd French Film Festival Line-Up
Cézanne et moi/Cézanne and I (2016)
Director: Danièle Thompson
Starring: Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Gallienne, Alice Pol, Sabine Azéma, Déborah François
They were rebels, fearless and curious, and they loved each other the way you love when you’re 13. Hopes, doubts, girls, dreams of glory: they shared it all. Paul is rich and Emile poor. They haunt the same places, sleep with the same women, and spit together on the bourgeoisie that spits right back. They draw by day the models with whom they spend their nights, and hop on a train for thirty hours just to catch a sunset. Now, Paul Cézanne is an artist and Emile Zola a writer. Fame has passed Paul by while Emile has it all: glory, money & a perfect wife – the woman Paul used to be in love with. They judge each other, admire each other, confront each other. They lose touch and meet again, like a couple that cannot stop loving each other.
Director: Étienne Comar
Starring: Reda Kateb, Cécile de France
Paris, 1943. During the German Occupation, gypsy Django Reinhardt, a true hero of the guitar, is at the peak of his career. Every night, he has Paris reeling to his swing music at the Folies Bergères, while his gypsy brethren are hunted down and massacred throughout Europe. When the German propaganda ministry wants to send him to Berlin for a series of concerts, he senses imminent danger and decides to flee to Switzerland with the help of one of his admirers, Louise de Klerk. He travels to Thonon-les-Bains, on the bank of Lake Geneva, with his pregnant wife, Naguine, and his mother, Negros, but their escape is more complicated than anticipated. The three end up plunged into the turmoil of World War 2. During these difficult times, Django Reinhardt remained an exceptional performer and composer who resisted with his art and his sense of humor, constantly seeking a form of musical perfection.
Épouse-moi mon pote/Marry Me, Dude (2017)
Director: Tarek Boudali
Starring: Tarek Boudali, Philippe Lacheau, Charlotte Gabris, David Marsais, Julien Arruti, Baya Belal, Philippe Duquesne
Yassine, a young Moroccan man, comes to Paris to study architecture on a student visa. But due to an unfortunate incident, he fails his exams, loses his visa, and finds himself an illegal immigrant in France. To remedy the situation, he marries his best friend. Just when he thinks everything is taken care of, a tenacious immigration investigator decides to follow them to make sure it wasn't a sham marriage.
Louise en Hiver/Louise by the Shore (2015)
Director: Jean-François Laguionie
At the end of summer, an old lady watches as the last train of the season leaves the small seaside station of Biligen without her. The town is deserted. The weather rapidly deteriorates and the arrival of high tides cuts electricity and all means of communication. Fragile and neat, not half as tough as Robinson, Louise may not survive winter.
Director: Arnaud des Pallières
Starring: Adèle Haenel, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Solène Rigot, Vega Cuzytek, Jalil Lespert, Nicolas Duvachelle
Four moments in the lives of four female characters. A little country girl, caught up in a tragic game of hide-and-seek. A teenager runaway who bounces from man to man because anything is better than grim family life. A young woman who moves to Paris and has a brush with disaster. And finally, an adult woman who thought she was safe from her own past. Little by little, these characters form one and the same heroine.
Personal Shopper (2016)
Starring: Kirsten Stewart, Anders Danielsen, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz
Maureen is a young American woman in Paris making her living as a personal shopper for Kyra, a celebrity. Also, Maureen may have the psychic ability to communicate with spirits, just like her twin brother, Lewis, who recently passed away. She soon starts receiving ambiguous messages coming from an unknown source.
Polina, danser sa vie/Polina (2016)
Director: Angelin Preljocaj, Valérie Müller-Preljocaj
Starring: Anastasia Shevstova, Véronika Zhovnitska, Nils Schneider
Moscow, early 90s. Polina, aged 8, is a gifted ballerina. Coming from a modest background, she joins the prestigious school of Professor Bojinsky, who trains dancers for the Bolshoi. He immediately grasps her tremendous potential and makes her work so hard that, at only 18, her dream finally comes true as she enters the prestigious Bolshoi. This is when she meets Adrien, a charming French dancer. He will help her to discover not only love but, more importantly, a new form of dance, more contemporary and expressive, a kind of dance that will change her life forever. From Moscow to Aix-En-Provence and Antwerp, from success to disillusion, we follow Polina's incredible destiny.
La Prière/The Prayer (2018)
Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Anthony Bajon, Damien Chapelle, Alex Brendemühl, Louise Grinberg
To stop using drugs, twenty-two-year-old Thomas joins an isolated community in the mountains. Run by former drug addicts, the members overcome their addiction through prayer and work. Here, Thomas discovers friendship, rules, love, and faith.
Rock’n Roll (2017)
Director: Guillaume Canet
Starring: Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard
At the age of 43, Guillaume Canet has every reason to be happy. Yet his life with Marion, his son, his country house, and his horses all make him look like a has-been. He seems to have lost his sex appeal. Guillaume understands that he must change everything, and fast. And he'll have to go to great lengths to do so, while his nearest and dearest look on with amazement.
Director: David Moreau
Starring: Sofia Lesaffre, Stéphane Bak, Jean-Stan du Pac, Thomas Doret
Leïla, 16, wakes up in an empty city. Where are her parents? Where has everyone gone? Thinking she must be the sole survivor of a mysterious catastrophe, Leïla wanders the strangely deserted streets of Fortville and eventually meets four other teenagers. Together, they join forces and attempt to survive in a desolate and increasingly hostile world. But are they really alone?
Taxi 5 (2018)
Director: Franck Gastambide
Starring: Franck Gastambide, Malik Bentalha, Bernard Farcy, Sissi Duparc
Sylvain Marot, a Parisian cop and exceptional driver, is transferred to the Marseille Municipal Police against his will. Ex-commissioner Gibert, who has become city mayor and the lowest in the polls, entrusts him with the mission to stop the formidable "Gang of Italians" who steals jewelry with the help of the powerful Ferrari. But to do this, Marot will have no choice but to work with Eddy Maklouf, the grand-nephew of the celebrity Daniel and the worst driver in Marseille, but the only one to have recovered the legendary white TAXI.
Un Vie/A Woman’s Life (2015)
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Starring: Judith Chemla, Jean-Pierre Daroussin, Yolande Moreau
Set in Normandy in 1819 and adapted from the classic French novel Une Vie by Guy de Maupassant, the film recounts the trials and tribulations in the life of a young woman from the day she returns home from a convent and whose heart is awakened by a local viscount.
Voyage à travers le cinéma français/A Journey Through French Cinema (2016)
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
This work as a citizen and a spy, as an explorer and a painter, as a columnist and an adventurer that has been described so well by many authors, from Casanova to Gilles Perrault, is a beautiful definition of a filmmaker that we want to apply to Renoir, Becker, to the Vigo of L'Atlante, to Duvivier, as well as to Truffaut and Demy, to Max Ophuls and also to Bresson. And to these lesser known filmmakers, Grangier, Gréville, or Sacha, whom through a scene or a film, illuminate an emotion, reveal surprising truths. I would like this film to be an act of gratitude to all the filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors, and musicians who suddenly appeared in my life. Memory warms us up: this film is a bit of coal for winter nights.
Yves Saint Laurent (2014)
Director: Jalil Lespert
Starring: Pierre Niney, Guillaume Gallienne, Charlotte Le Bon, Laura Smet, Marie de Villepin
Paris, 1957. Barely 21 years old, Yves Saint Laurent is handed the reins of the prestigious fashion house founded by Christian Dior, who has recently died. During his first fashion show, which is a triumph, he meets Pierre Bergé. This encounter will change his life. Lovers and business partners, three years later the two men become partners and form the Yves Saint Laurent label. Despite his obsessions and his inner demons, Yves Saint Laurent gets ready to revolutionize the world of fashion with his modern and iconoclastic approach.
Jean-Pierre Melville Centennial Retrospective
24 heures dans la vie d’un clown/24 hours in the Life of a Clown (1946)
A day in the life of Beby the clown and his partner, Maïs, who find their inspiration and gags in the streets, which they then perform at night in the circus.
Le Silence de la mer (1948)
In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each evening the officer warms himself by the fire and talks of his country, his music, and his idealistic views of the relationship between France and Germany. That is, until he visits Paris and discovers what is really going on...
Bob Le Flambeur (1956)
In Paris's Montmartre district, everyone knows Bob, a well-dressed compulsive gambler. He's generous, moralistic, drives a two-toned convertible coupe, lives in a swank apartment, and has the respect of the police. But he's on a losing streak, and even when he hits it big at the track, he loses at the Deauville casino. When he learns that the casino keeps a fortune on Grand Prix weekend, he plots a robbery. Subplots trace a seemingly innocent coquette's social climb and the greed of a croupier's wife who betrays the thieves.
Léon Morin Prêtre/Léon Morin, Priest (1961)
In a small French town during the Occupation, Barny (Riva) is a young, wayward, sexually frustrated widow, living with her little girl. She is also a communist militant who long ago decided that the easiest way was the best. One day she enters a church, randomly chooses a priest (Belmondo) to confess to and, while in confessional, attempts to provoke him by criticizing Catholicism. Instead of being affronted, the priest engages her in an intellectual discussion regarding religion. The priest is Leon Morin, young, handsome, smart and altruistic. He invites Barny to continue the conversation outside of confessional. She begins regularly seeing him and is impressed by his moral strength, while he makes it his mission to steer her onto the right path.
Le Doulos/Doulos: The Finger Man (1961)
The narrative unfolds through two characters, Maurice and Silien, and consistently switches back and forth between them, leading the audience to grasp randomly for a distinct main character or hero (despite the fact that both are criminal anti-heroes). Through Maurice and Silien’s actions, the film explores just how deeply qualities such as friendship and loyalty run.
Le Doulos begins by introducing us to Maurice, an ex-con, just released from prison after serving a six-year sentence. He then murders his friend, Gilbert, and steals the jewels he had been hiding, products of a recent heist. Shortly afterwards, Maurice plans a heist of a rich man’s estate and shares his plan with Silien, who is rumored to be a police informant. Silien is later picked up and questioned by the police. The film unfolds from there, incorporating a number of plot twists revealed through Melville’s traditionally styled hard-boiled dialogue and picturesque visuals.
L’Armée des ombre/Army of Shadow (1969)
France, 1942, during the occupation. Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer, is one of the French Resistance's chiefs. Given away by a traitor, he is interned in a camp. He manages to escape, and joins his network at Marseilles, where he makes the traitor be executed... This non-spectacular movie (do not expect any Rambo or Robin Hood) shows us rigorously and austerely the everyday of the French Resistants: their solitude, their fears, their relationships, the arrests, the forwarding of orders and their carrying out...
Le Cercle rouge/The Red Circle (1970)
Corey is a cool, aristocratic thief, released from prison on the same day that Vogel, a murderer, escapes from the custody of the patient Mattei, a cat-loving police superintendent. Corey robs Rico, his mob boss, then enlists Vogel and an ex-police sharpshooter, Jansen, in a jewel heist. While Corey is harried by the vengeful Rico, Mattei pressures Santi, a nightclub owner and pimp, to help him trap the thieves. Over all hangs the judgment of the police directeur, that every man is guilty.
Homage to Philippine Cinema
Director: Raymond Red
Starring: Eddie Garcia, Ronnie Lazaro, John Arcilla
A down and out church photographer, hungry and penniless, wanders from the church, through the shadows of the imposing city and clashes with its various mysterious characters.
Himpapawid/Manila Skies (2009)
Director: Raymond Red
Starring: Raul Arellano, John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, Soliman Cruz
Manila Skies is the story of a desperate, simple man from the countryside trying to make a living in the metropolis of Manila. He keeps stumbling as he moves from one 'station of the cross' to another. In desperation, he joins an amateur gang plotting a heist, to get even with a corrupt employer. This ultimately goes wayward and ends in devastation. Further hounded by guilt that his father is helplessly ill, he draws his last straw and plots the insane hijacking of a plane to finally take him to his ultimate destination - home or hell.
Bagahe/The Baggage (2017)
Director: Zig Dulay
Starring: Angeli Bayani
Bagahe tells the story of an OFW, Mercy Agbunag. As the whole family celebrates her homecoming, NBI agents appear at the doorstep to invite Mercy to join them for an investigation of a case about a newborn child thrown into a trash bin of an airplane toilet, and she is believed to be a suspect. As Mercy undergoes a rigid examination of testimonies and pieces of evidence, she is turned over to different social entities – police, hospital, shelter, media, church, and bureaucrats. What unfolds is the whole truth behind a mother who is abused, and the measures in which she is taken care of by her motherland.
Here is the screening schedule of the 23rd French Film Festival.