French Film Festival launch

We take a look at some of the highlights.

by Amber Wilkinson

The French Film Festival had its Scottish media launch this morning ahead of it's run from November 4 to December 7 - with one or two additional early screenings on November 3.

Speaking at the launch in Edinburgh's Filmhouse, festival director Richard Mow said: As Britain seeks to sever its ties with our European colleagues, this festival hopes to strengthen these cultural bonds."

There is plenty to look forward to in the coming month, from French cinema classics to the latest hits from the Gallic cinema circuits.

Vintage cinema to look out for includes Marcel Pagnol's classic Marseille Trilogy - Marius, Fanny and César. This decades spanning romance tells the story of Marius, a young man who dreams of life at sea only to find himself faced with a dilemma after falling for Fanny, the fishmonger's daughter. The trilogy has been restored by his grandson Nicolas Pagnol, who will present the films in person at screenings in London Regent's Street Cinema.

Also showing at various venues is silent cinema classic Napoleon. This film, directed by Abel Gance, has been digtally restored and is accompanied by a score from Carl Davies.

There are plenty of gems among the recent releases, too, including documentary Thanks Boss!, which became a sleeper hit in France. Although its focus is on a French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, the subject of a businessman feathering his nest and then leaving staff in the lurch is sure to strike a chord with anyone who is following the ongoing Philip Green/BHS saga. Journalist-turned-director François Ruffin also takes central stage - one-part Michael Moore and one-part Louis Theroux - as he tries to help former workers keep their home by "reconciling them" with their former employer. Funny on the surface, there is heartbreak below the humour, as Ruffin asks us to consider what the widening gap between the one per cent and the rest truly means.

Joachim Lafosse's The White Knights is also a hard-hitting look at a modern incident - a dramatisation of the Zoe's Ark controversy, showing the moral maze faced by aid workers in Africa and showing how innocent children can easily be caught in the crossfire of money, lies and good intentions.

There's plenty for families too, with animations including gentle fable The Red Turtle and the adventures of a talking teenager and her cat in April And The Extraordinary World.

Read more of our coverage here and highlights, and to find out what is screening at a cinema near you, visit the official site.

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