French Film Festival UK reveals highlights

Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Isabelle Carré and Mathieu Amalric to feature.

by Amber Wilkinson

Gustave Kervern and Catherine Deneuve in Pierre Salvadori's In The Courtyard
Gustave Kervern and Catherine Deneuve in Pierre Salvadori's In The Courtyard
The French Film Festival UK has unveiled its selection for its 22nd edition this November - with highlights featuring some of the brightest lights of French cinema, including Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Isabelle Carré, Jean Reno, Guillaume Canet, Mathieu Amalric, Albert Dupontel and Jean-Pierre Darroussin.

In locations across the country stretching from Inverness to London via Edinburgh and Glasgow, the event styles itself as “a celebration of Francophone cinema in all its guises.”

As well as an eclectic selection of contemporary titles from the past 12 months, the Festival will pay tribute to the late Alain Resnais who died earlier in the year, with screenings of a restored copy of his first feature Hiroshima Mon Amour with Oscar-nominated Emmanuelle Riva (from Amour) and Eiji Okadan, and the director’s last film Life of Riley (Aimer, boire, et chanter), his third adaptation of an Alan Ayckbourn play after Smoking, No Smoking (Intimate Exchanges) and Coeurs (Private Fears in Public Places). Life Of Riley will be released in the UK next year by Eureka.

There will also be tributes to Jacques Tati (screening Playtime), to herald re-release of his work by Park Circus, and François Truffaut (screening Day For Night).

Catherine Deneuve stars in two titles in the programme – André Techiné’s In The Name Of My Daughter (L’homme Qui Aimait Trop) with Guillaume Canet, and Pierre Salvadori’s In The Courtyard (Dans la cour). Isabelle Huppert appears in Marc Fitoussi’s Paris Follies (La ritournelle), Isabelle Carré can be found at the double in Pascal Rabaté’s Patchwork Family (Du goudron et des plumes) and Jean-Pierre Améris’s Marie’s Story (Marie Heurtin) due for release in France in November and recently premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. Jean Reno stars in the family drama Our Summer In Provence (Avis de Mistral) by Rose Bosch who made The Round-up (Le Rafle). Other directors receiving attention are Alexandre Arcady, Robert Guédiguian, Lionel Baier, Nils Tavernier, Volker Schlöndorff, Anne Villacèque, Albert Dupontel, Nicole Garcia, and Mona Achache.

Attraction of opposites Emilie Dequenne and Loïc Corbery in Lucas Belvaux's Not My Type
Attraction of opposites Emilie Dequenne and Loïc Corbery in Lucas Belvaux's Not My Type
Festival goers will also get to see recent Cannes highlights, Mathieu Amalric’s The Blue Room (La chambre bleue) and Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D trip Goodbye To Language (Adieu au langage).

The Festival’s First World War focus revolves around a screening of the 1931 classic Wooden Crosses (Les croix de bois) by Raymond Bernard. Featuring Charles Vanel, it has been described as “the most powerful anti-war film ever made”. In addition to its traditional London home at the CinéLumière, the Barbican will host a show of Studies on Paris (Etudes sur Paris) by André Sauvage, an urban portrait of Paris in the Roaring Twenties set to a live score by Baudime Jam and Quatuor Prima Vista.

True to its Francophone credentials, the Festival is set to open with Belgian director Lucas Belvaux’s Not My Type (Pas mon genre), a cultural and social divide romantic comedy with Emilie Dequenne and Loïc Corbery. Family friendly titles include the much loved canine tale Belle and Sebastien, and animation hits Aunt Hilda and Wolfy, The Incredible Secret.

Cannes award-winning short film-maker Irvine Allan (Daddy’s Girl) has been charged with compiling this year’s programme of award-winning shorts, while critic Derek Malcolm (after Philip French and Jean-Michel Frodon last year) has elected to introduce his best French film of all time: Robert Bresson’s Diary Of A Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne) from 1950.

Festival director Richard Mowe said: “Although UK audiences see more French films on release than at any other time, we are still spoiled for choice in the range of titles for potential inclusion. The French would call it an ‘embarras de richesses’. Without the Festival, audiences would miss out on so many gems that would remain, for whatever reason, undistributed on these shores.”

The French Film Festival UK (www.frenchfilmfestival.org.uk) runs from November 5to December 4, 2014 at venues across the country. We'll be bringing you more coverage nearer the time and you can read our reviews from previous editions, here.

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