Preview: French Film Festival 2010

The FFF opening at Edinburgh Filmhouse on 11 November for its 18th season seems bigger bolder and brighter than ever, with screenings of a selection of films also showing in Glasgow, London, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Warwick, Stirling and Dumfries.

French film actors and directors have always been world cinema masters of movies of all genres - love and relationships, film noir and comedy.

La Fete du Cinema kicks off with a vintage romantic drama about the disillusionment of marriage, The Great Love (Le Grand Amour 1969) by director Pierre Etaix, who will be present at the screenings in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Etaix is renowned for being a comedic actor in traditional French farces working with Jacques Tati and Jerry Lewis and performing as a stage clown in music hall shows.

The front cover image on the French Film Festival 2010 brochure says it all. An attractive couple in a close embrace illustrates a flowing festival theme of romantic encounters and les liaisons dangereuses.  Someone I loved (Je L’amais) stars Daniel Auteuil and Marie-Josee Croze and with a storyline about adulterous passion and hidden secrets, it’s based on the novel by Anna Gavalda, narrated through flashbacks.  Mademoiselle Chambon also delves into the subject of a love affair through an unexpected brief encounter between a father and his son’s schoolteacher.

And don’t miss the rare chance to see the deliciously sexy, glamorous, operatic thriller, Diva (1981), the stunning debut by Jean-Jacques Beineix. If you missed this first time round, book your tickets now.

The Hedgehog (Le Herisson), is adapted from the bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Through the eyes and experiences of a young girl, we observe the private world of residents in a Parisian apartment building.

In the Discovery Horizons section of the Festival, the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France is illustrated with the charming comedy, Imogene (illustrated above).  Filmed in Edinburgh, the Borders and Fife, Imogene McCarthery (Catherine Frot), is a feisty, fun-loving red haired girl who becomes involved in a crazy, tongue in cheek, espionage adventure.

L’Ecole du Cinema offers school screenings of two films – Little Nicholas (Le Petit Nicolas) based on the popular stories set in 1950s France, and Skirt Day (La journee de la jupe), a thriller about a drama teacher coping with the students’ antics in a Parisian secondary school. Families will also enjoy Trouble at Timpeltill, (Les Enfants de Timpelbach), starring Gerard Depardieu in an hilarious fantasy about a village of “home alone” kids left to fend for themselves.  These films are both perfect entertainment as well as helping children learn French vocabulary.

If you just have an hour or so to spare, check out an afternoon of Shorts, four tiny diverse movies at Edinburgh Filmhouse and Glasgow Film Theatre.

The diverse programme includes both cult favourites and the latest releases.  The majority of films will not be on general release so make sure you catch a few sparkling gems of classic and contemporary French cinema during the Festival.

A few key screenings are accompanied by special audience events: Discussions and Masterclasses will be given by Andre Techine, director of Loin (Far), who was inspired by Brecht and Bergman and the French new wave of finely crafted, dramatic filmmaking. Directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond will attend the UK premiere of La Petite Chambre which was this year’s Swiss entry for the Foreign film Oscar nominations. Set in Lausanne, it’s a gentle drama about the relationship between an elderly man and his young nurse.

Two Exhibitions of photographs complement the season of films; Writer, director and actor Laurent Koffel  has a collection of work entitled Face to Face at the French Film Institute, Edinburgh and in Glasgow Film Theatre, a show of Jean Marc Milliere’s vintage portraits of movie legends from Marilyn Monroe to Peter O’Toole.

Pick up a copy of the French Film Festival brochure and start planning your November movie diary…

French Film Festival - 11 November to 7 December across Scotland and the UK