Each New Year heralds a sense of excitement and never more so than 2019 which marks the 30th anniversary of Australia's most tantalising multi-cultural movie event, the Alliance Française French Film Festival.
Screening at Palace Cinemas across 7 cities and 3 satellite locations throughout March until mid-April, this cherished celebration of French culture will be presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia and Unifrance Films.
For such a momentous birthday, Artistic Director, Philippe Platel, has lovingly selected a superlative line-up of 54 features and documentaries – the biggest in the Festival's proud history.
This very special Festival edition, which will showcase its innumerable delights across 12 distinct categories with self-explanatory titles ranging from "Paris Snapshots," "Summertime," "Lighten Up," and "Critically Acclaimed," will also present a selection of outstanding movies from Belgium, Canada and Switzerland via its "Across Borders" category including The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire Américain), a richly amusing comedy drama from renowned Canadian director Denys Arcand, which is essential viewing.
Breathing life into the creative vision of the filmmakers represented this year are French cinema's most defining actors from Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Bérénice Bejo, Emmanuelle Bercot, Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Vincent Cassel, Laetitia Casta, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Catherine Deneuve, Lily-Rose Depp, Jean Dujardin and Charlotte Gainsbourg to Nicole Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Laurent Lafitte, Virginie Ledoyen, Vincent Lindon, Fabrice Luchini, Noémie Lvovsky, Miou-Miou, Vanessa Paradis, Jacques Perrin, Niels Schneider, Kristin Scott Thomas, Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel and Lambert Wilson, amongst many others.
As in previous years, this internationally renowned event – acknowledged as the largest assemblage of French cinema outside of France - will celebrate the artistry of several emerging young filmmakers, such as Dominique Rocher (The Night Eats the World / La nuit a dévoré le monde), Coralie Fargeat (Revenge), Elsa Amiel (Pearl), Yann Gonzales (Knife+Heart / Un couteau dans le coeur), Cécila Rouaud (Family Photo / Photo de famille) and Lukas Dhont (Girl). Many of these films will feature in the Festival's thrilling new "Dangerous Sphere" strand.
The latest output from France's reigning directorial superstars, including Jacques Audiard, Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas, François Ozon, Christophe Honoré, Agnès Jaoui and the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, will also form part of the spectacular 2019 line-up.
Select highlights from the 30th anniversary programme include The Sisters Brothers (Les frères Sisters) starring John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal, which garnered director Jacques Audiard the Silver Lion (Best Director) at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival. This gritty, yet dryly humorous western 'bromance' ranks alongside the work of Sam Peckinpah at his best.
There's also Claire Denis' mesmerising sci-fi drama, High Life, awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2018 San Sebastián International Film Festival, with a cast led by Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson; Sink or Swim (Le grand bain) from Gilles Lellouche, the number one 2018 French box office hit about an all-male synchronised swimming team formed by a group of despondent 40 somethings; director Christophe Honoré's Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer, courir vite), an emotionally rich romance set in early 1990s France which won the prestigious 2018 Prix Louis Delluc, and from the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, The Image Book (Le livre d'image) – a work of audio-visual poetry awarded the inaugural Special Palme d'Or at Cannes 2018. And for lovers of classic cinema, the Festival will be screening a restored version of Alain Resnais' 1961 para-surrealist masterpiece, Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad).
National dates and venues for the 2019 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:
SYDNEY: 5 March – 10 April Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
MELBOURNE 6 March – 10 April Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre
CANBERRA 7 March – 10 April Palace Electric Cinema
PERTH 13 March – 10 April Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema
BRISBANE 14 March – 14 April Palace Barracks & Palace James Street
HOBART 14 – 23 March State Cinema
ADELAIDE 21 March – 18 April Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
AVOCA BEACH 22 - 27 March Avoca Beach Picture Theatre
PARRAMATTA 28 – 31 March Riverside Theatres Parramatta
BYRON BAY 4 – 17 April Palace Byron Bay