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French Film Festival UK
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French Film Festival UK 2012 - 20th Anniversary

From 08/11/2012 at 20:00 to 02/12/2012


After this year’s Oscar-fuelled success of The Artist and more recently Untouchable, which is on course for a place in history as France’s most successful film, the French Film Festival UK celebrates its 20th anniversary against a background of euphoria.

The 20th edition, embracing French and francophone cinema in all its diversity, in key towns and cities around the country including London Ciné Lumière, features a bumper programme bursting with variety and vitality. The main Festival runs from 8 November to 2 December 2012.

The event opens with the UK première in four cities (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee) of Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia / Astérix et Obélix: Au Service de Sa Majesté, a £50 million extravaganza adapted from René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s original 1966 comic book Astérix in Britain. It features a stellar cast with Edouard Baer as Astérix, Gérard Depardieu as his rotund sidekick Obélix and Catherine Deneuve incarnating the Queen of England. It only opened in France on 17 October and had its avant-première at the British Film Festival in Dinard, the FFF UK’s opposite number across the Channel.

The Festival puts a major retrospective focus on the work of Chantal Akerman, the Belgian filmmaker, who has been described as one of the boldest cinematic visionaries of the past quarter century and has a body of work that is singular and influential. The season, curated by Marion Schmid, Professor of French Literature and Film at the University of Edinburgh, will see Akerman appear in person in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow to present her latest film Almayer’s Folly / La Folie Almayer, brilliantly adapted from Joseph Conrad’s debut novel, a stunning meditation on colonialism, racism and one man’s obsessive love for his daughter.

The Panorama section features contemporary dramas with insights into the way we live now and vital global concerns by such directors as Philippe Lioret (All Our Desires), Cédric Kahn (A Better Life) and Moussa Touré (La Pirogue) to a hard-edged thriller from Pierre Jolivet (Armed Hands) and sophisticated comedy from Anne Fontaine (My Worst Nightmare) and Noémie Lvovsky (Camille Rewinds) and childhood nostalgia (War of the Buttons).

Discovery uncovers new promising talents among them such strong female directors as sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin (17 Women) and Valérie Donzelli (Declaration of War) as well as actor turned director Jalil Lespert with his second feature Headwinds. Pierre Schoeller who made Versailles, joins the array with his highly regarded second outing The Minister. There are refreshing debuts from François Pirot with Mobile Home, an ingenious road movie, and Sophie Lellouche’s Paris-Manhattan, a romantic comedy of charm with more than touch of Woody Allen. Also making a mark are the hit What’s in a Name (Mathieu Delaporte, Alexandre de laPatellière) and A World Without Women (Guillaume Brac).

As part of the Festival’s wider horizons a special welcome is given for the first time to The Québec Cinema Showcase (2-4 November at Ciné Lumière) with a representative selection of features and shorts including Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways.

There are two animation delights in Patrice Leconte’s witty and ultimately upbeat The Suicide Shop and the improbable friendship between a bear and a mouse Ernest and Celestine. Documentaries comprise Raymond Depardon’s evocative essay Journal de France and Paul Lacoste’s sumptuous food feast Step Up to the Plate plus a series of Portraits de Paris from different directors.

Cinema heritage makes a strong impression with the stunning restoration of Georges Méliès’ pioneering A Trip to the Moon from 1902 (and a documentary about its rebirth The Extraordinary Journey) as well as classic titles from René Clément, Jacques Demy, and Georges Franju.

Exclusive previews of films due to be seen shortly on UK screens have been compiled with distributors Soda (Renoir and Journal de France), Swipe Films (You Will be My Son), Lionsgate (Rebellion), Our Children (Peccadillo) and Partners in Crime (StudioCanal).

To date confirmed Festival guests include Chantal Akerman (Allmayer’s Folly); Pierre Jolivet (Armed Hands); Eric Lange (The Extraordinary Voyage); Sophie Lellouche (Paris-Manhattan); François Pirot, Arthur Dupont, Guillaume Couix (Mobile Home), Noémie Lovsky (Camille Rewinds) and Gilles Legrand (You will be My Son). Updates via website.

A photographic odyssey through the two decades of the Festival will adorn the walls of partner hotel Sofitel St James in London and the café-bar of partner venue Edinburgh Filmhouse for the event’s duration, an exhibition curated by the festival’s film and image crew Otto Koota and Peter Rebac whose documentary on 20 years of French cinema, Vingt ans déjà will be available to sample at select screenings and online.

To find out more about the Festival

To view the films that can be seen in London

Event's details

  • Age group: Everyone


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