France the French way


French Film Festival 2011 – Vive la différence!

Posted: 2011-01-11

When I say “French Cinema” what do you think of?

It’s probably not Luis Bunuel’s bizarrely fantastic Un Chien Andalou or the haunting violence bubbling on the surface of Guillaume Canet’s Ne Le Dis à Personne that you’re thinking about, right?

Nope. I knew it!…I know you’re all thinking about all those lovely naked girls on a balcony in the fifth arrondissement, daintily smoking their cigarettes after a strenuous afternoon making love by the open window. You may laugh, but I know that’s how many people see the French cinema. And in some sense, there’s nothing wrong with that…

Whether we like it or not, we all have a certain voyeurism that pulses through our bloodstreams. We are enthralled by the lives of others. We go to the cinema to step out of our lives for a hundred minutes or so and into someone else’s. Whether it’s out of our own insecurities, fear, jealousy, hope, triumphs or failures, we go to the movies to do just that; to take a peek at someone else’s life.

This year the fifth annual French Film Festival bursts onto the New Zealand screens to, quite simply, celebrate the lives of others – the meals they cook, the music they listen to, the people they kiss, the heavy heartache, the happiness, and the bizarre volatility of their lives and ours in this world we live in. The magical thing about this festival is that we can discover a bit about someone else by escaping into another culture. Let’s face it, there’s nothing that a pinch of excitement, emotion, and amour can’t solve.

From Canet’s star-studded ‘dramedy’ Little White Lies, to Michel Gondry’s intimate The Thorn in the Heart, to the sugar-coated chick-flick All That Glitters – there’s certainly a little snippet of life for everyone at the French Film Festival this year. There’s a range of characters to fall in love with (pity Canet’s behind the camera), as well as their love for life, and commitment to family values and living.

I know for a fact that I will never become a Burlesque dancer. But in the dazzling, award-winning On Tour (Tournéethe fabulous Mathieu Almaric gives me a magical two and a half hours to catch a glimpse of what life could have been, had I chosen that particular path. For that mere twelfth of my day I forget about the deadlines at work, what to cook for dinner, and the dire state of my bank balance, and I become a girl transported into the wings of a world bursting with colour, imagination, and exuberance.  That, my friends, is the magic of cinema. So, go and get your tickets to the Festival today to step out of your shoes and into someone else’s. “La France va vous ADORER!”

L’Oréal Paris presents the fifth annual French Film Festival

Wellington: February 8 – 17 at the Penthouse Cinema

Auckland: February 16 – 24 at the Academy Cinema and Victoria Picture Palace

Christchurch: February 22 – March 2 at the Regent on Worcester

Ticket prices and screening times can be found here.

Or follow the Festival on Twitter.

Article written by: Sarah Reese, Festival Coordinator, French Film Festival 2011

Other articles by Sarah just click on this link.

Tournee - On Tour by Mathieu Almaric