Cinema: French film festival at Hoyts Northlands
9 - 26 March, brought to Christchurch by Alliance Française
French is considered the language of love, and there is plenty of that among the more than 30 movies being screened at the 18-day Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, which starts at Hoyts Northlands on March 9.
And one much-loved French actress is Catherine Deneuve, who will be featured in two films this year. They are a re-screening of the legendary 1964 musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and a much more recent release, Standing Tall, in which Deneuve plays a youth-court magistrate who becomes a foster mother of a troubled teenager.
As usual, the festival includes films ranging from comedy to drama, documentaries and ones raising challenging issues, such as The Unknown Girl, which deals with personal responsibility.
The films are not all from France, with other French-speaking countries also represented. There are co-productions with neighbouring European countries, like Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Germany; with Canada and Morocco also represented.
The opening-night movie will be The Odyssey, which tells the inspiring story of underwater adventurer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The inventor of a diving suit that allowed him to breathe underwater, he was known for his deep-sea explorations, bringing the magic of that world to international TV audiences in his popular documentaries.
The closing night, on Sunday, March 26, will feature A Journey Through French Cinema. A highly personal film by director Bertrand Tavernier, this documentary explores French films from the 1930s through to the 1970s and includes clips from long-lost movies that he discovered during the production process.
The list and variety of films seems endless. For further information check the festival-programme booklet, which is now available at all libraries, Scorpio Books in Hereford Street and Riccarton Road, Alice in Videoland, various cafes and the Alliance Francaise offices at 275 Cashel Street.
- Hans Petrovic