City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bon Anniversaire La Fete du Cinema!: The French Film Festival is 21 Years Old

By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 28 October 2013

Lola - starring Anouk Aimee (director Jacques Demy, 1961)

The French Film Festival UK (7 November to 7 December 2013) is celebrating its coming of age.

After the inaugural Festival in 1992 (Edinburgh and Glasgow), La Fete du Cinema has matured into a major cultural event across the UK with screenings this year in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Bo’ness, Kirkcaldy, Warwick and London.

The ambitious 2013 programme offers the rare chance to see around thirty new films, premieres and classics, documentaries, animation and shorts. There will be several guest appearances by leading directors including the celebrated filmmaker Sylvain Chomet, the Festival’s honorary patron.

Chomet made his first feature film, Belleville Rendezvous in Quebec, receiving two Oscar nominations. Invited to the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2003, he fell in love with the city. This inspired him to live here to create his charming animation The Illusionist based on a script Jacques Tati.

This year the premiere of his first live-action film, Attila Marcel has been selected for the opening gala at Filmhouse on 8th November followed by Q&A session with Chomet.

Attila Marcel is described as a musical comedy about a mute boyish man who has been brought up by two aunts - a bittersweet fantasy in the style of Keaton and Tati.

Another guest at the Festival will be the multi Cesar award-winning writer/director Yolande Moreau for the screening of her new film Henri, which was shown this summer at Cannes. This is a poignant family tale about a restaurant owner, his wife and daughter.

Amour et Turbulences is translated as Love is in the Air, and the romantic plot about complex relationship issues reads like a screenplay by Woody Allen.

Leaving New York, Julie has packed up all her belongings to return to Paris for her wedding. Meanwhile Antoine, her former lover, is also on his way to catch the plane and they are seated next to each other – with no escape. The transatlantic flight gives time to reminisce over their fractured affair which is dramatised in real-time and flashbacks.

Tributes are presented to a few renowned filmmakers as a retrospective on their work. Maurice Pialet’s film Loulou (1980) stars Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert, with a narrative exploring the usual French cinematic themes of love and sex.

“Even if Loulou could be watched without dialogue, without subtitles, without Paris, there would be no mistaking this movie for anything other than a French film”. NY Times.

To recognise the extraordinary career of the late Bernadette Lafont, who starred in 100 films, her penultimate role was as an impoverished Parisian pensioner, "Paulette".

Not so familiar in the UK, a favourite French actor was Louis de Fune, a master of comedy, “the man with 40 faces a minute” who died 30 years ago. A documentary, Monsieur de Funes will be screened in the company of its two directors who will take part in a discussion afterwards.

A restored version of the classic movie Lola (1961) stars the screen goddess Anouk Aimee. As a tribute to Max Ophuls it was filmed in black and white by Jacques Demy; set in his home town of Nantes, it’s a beautiful portrait of a dance hall girl waltzing through the drama of her love life.

The Channel 4 sci fi- thriller series from France "The Returned" about zombies and a serial killer was based on the film Les Revenants. Now, if you dare, you can see the 2004 original cult movie.

Actor/Director Daniel Auteuil has adapted the Marseille Trilogy of novels by Marcel Pagnol for the screen; the first and second parts, Marius and Fanny will be shown at the Festival.

"The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station" was the 50-second short film by the pioneering Lumière brothers in 1895. Short films to this day often provide the first step in filmmaking and under the section FFF Shorts are six new films by talented young French directors.

These are just a few of the highlights amongst a colourful, glamorous feast of French movies, presentations, discussions and events taking place in November.

The French Film Festival 2013 brochure is now available. Full details of the complete programme of films, dates and venues are also on the website.