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  • Culture

    France on film

    By Frances Atkinson 16 February 2016

    WHAT is it about French cinema and their innate affinity with using film as a powerful way to tell stories? Perhaps it is because, as film critic Henry Porter observes, the French accept that cinema is more than entertainment, a revenue earner and an employment generator: it is culture.

    The biggest film festival in Australia, and the biggest outside of France, The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival returns – and if you’re looking for an overarching theme that sums up the 48 films that make up the 2016 festival, it would have to be diversity.

    From sophisticated comedies, thrillers, love stories and dramas, this year’s line up also features offerings from the small screen, with several French television shows (espionage thriller The Bureau, and WW2 drama Un Village Francais) getting the big screen treatment. The Festival also includes a series of Q&As following particular screenings of Dheepan, My Golden Days, Marguerite and special one-off events, including a screening of Catherine Corsini’s spirited new film Le Belle Saison to celebrate International Women’s Day.

    Rosalie Blum, a drama-comedy directed by Julien Rappeneau, about Vincent, a thirty-something hairdresser, his overbearing family and an encounter with a mysterious woman, kicks off opening night, while Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 movie Contempt, starring Brigitte Bardot and Jack Palance closes the event.

    If you’re looking for recommendations, Festival patron David Stratton, along with Academy Award winning filmmaker George Miller, has selected the Taj Mahal as a must see. Based on the true story of a French family caught up in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the gripping thriller promises to have audiences on their edge of their seats. In stark contrast, Stratton also singles out Microbe & Gasoline, Michel Gondry’s comedy about two young misfits and their refusal to fit in.

    For tickets and information go to: affrenchfilmfestival.org