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BIENVENUE

The Alliance Française French Film Festival is returning for another incredible season following last year’s exceptional 30th Anniversary. Representing the largest festival dedicated to French films in the world, the 2019’s edition attracted more than 195,000 spectators and further cemented a place in the hearts and minds of Australians. The success of the Alliance Française French Film Festival is undoubtedly a reflection of the unwavering friendship between France and Australia, underpinned by lasting partnerships that have been reinforced thanks to sponsors, partners, distributors, Palace Cinemas and Unifrance.

Revered French director François Truffaut once said: “The cinema is a perfect mix of truth and spectacle”. The 31st Festival, delivered by the Alliance Française network in collaboration with the Embassy of France, embodies this completely. It acts as a window into contemporary France and the world at large, taking us on a journey 18,000 kilometres from here, without the mileage or jetlag.

The Alliance Française French Film Festival wears its colours of France proudly, showcasing a changing industry, founded on creativity and quality. The Festival embodies our strong points as a nation, for instance our passion in serving excellence and diversity. 2020 is a notable year for French Culture in Australia as we are launching a special season, “French Waves 2020”, offering more than 35 major cultural events to our audiences all around Australia, thanks to the strong commitment of our Australian cultural partners. Visual artists, dancers, performers, writers, philosophers and other diverse faces of French creativity are coming to Australia in an unprecedented season, one year before France hosts an extraordinary Australian cultural season in 2021. I am particularly proud of inaugurating these two years of celebration and cultural exchange between our two countries. I have no doubt that the Alliance Française French Film Festival will once again be a great success.
H.E. Mr. Christophe Penot, Ambassador of France to Australia

MESSAGE & FESTIVAL PATRONS

PHILIPPE PLATEL
Upon reflection, it would appear that French cinema is comparable to wine; there are good years and some less so. At the twilight of my fourth and final year as Artistic Director of the Alliance Française French Film Festival, I’m relishing the opportunity to once again present the pinnacle of French cinema to the Australian public. Following the success and record-breaking 30th edition (195,000 attendees), this 31st year continues on this stride, embodying an outburst of joy, humour, emotions, generosity and astonishing stories. Notably, the choice to select The Extraordinary as the opening night film reflects the bold and ambitious nature underpinning this year’s edition. The year 2020 began with dramatic events that have shaken Australia, its people, its flora and fauna. I was deeply touched and moved by the solidarity among the Australian people yet also by the international aid deployed across the country. It is no coincidence that the movie chosen for the opening of the 31st Alliance Française French Film Festival showcases these strong humane values that allow us to face the difficulties of everyday life. The Extraordinary by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano is a unique film, at once touching and fascinating, it makes us smile and realize that kindness is a fundamental quality for living together. This year again, the Alliances Françaises of Australia are proud to promote French film culture through this long-awaited annual meeting that is the Alliance Française French Film Festival. Our teams and partners have fully invested themselves in order to offer you a season filled with surprise and emotion. The diversity of the compositions selected allows all film lovers, young and old, to immerse themselves in French culture. And to go further, do not hesitate to visit our Alliances Françaises to discover more about French language and culture!

Easy laughs have made way for real emotion, intensity, tenacity and the certainty of discovering an essential story about collective support, collaboration and acceptance of differences. This edition is also very centred on the concept of society, reflecting on the types of local and global communities we can aspire to build together, bolstered by a spirit of generosity and engagement (Invisibles and School Life). Indeed, the French public have not been mistaken in their critical acclaim of incredibly powerful films such as Les Misérables (Special jury Prize at Cannes Festival) and In the Name of the Land. This year more than ever, the device of laughter is deployed to intelligent and insightful effect in the flamboyant La Belle Époque or in the sincerely feminist How to Be a Good Wife, anchored by the always extraordinary Juliette Binoche.

Young and old will flock to the long-awaited blockbuster by “The Artist's” Michel Hazanavicius, The Lost Prince with Omar Sy, who we could easily envision teleported into Jacques Demy’s classic fairy-tale Donkey Skin. The latter is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and stars the marvellous Catherine Deneuve, also starring in 4 of the Festival’s films. Finally, one of the strongest and most gripping stories is a TV series, Savages, (which is screening in its entirety during the Festival) by the wonderful and always surprising Rebecca Zlotowski, our first guest in 2017.
Philippe Platel is the Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy, and has been the Artistic Director of the Alliance Française French Film Festival since 2016.
PATRICE GILLES
The year 2000 began with dramatic events that have shaken Australia, its people, its flora and fauna. I was deeply touched and moved by the solidarity among the Australian people yet also by the international aid deployed across the country. It is no coincidence that the movie chosen for the opening of the 31st Alliance Française French Film Festival showcases these strong humane values that allow us to face the difficulties of everyday life. The Extraordinary by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano is a unique film, at once touching and fascinating, it makes us smile and realize that kindness is a fundamental quality for living together.

This year again, the Alliances Françaises of Australia are proud to promote French film culture through this long-awaited annual meeting that is the Alliance Française French Film Festival. Our teams and partners have fully invested themselves in order to offer you a season filled with surprise and emotion. The diversity of the compositions selected allows all film lovers, young and old, to immerse themselves in French culture. And to go further, do not hesitate to visit our Alliances Françaises to discover more about French language and culture!
Mr. Patrice Gilles, Director of the Alliance Française de Canberra and National Coordinator of the Alliance Française network.
JUSTIN KURZEL
It was French Films which really opened me up to the possibilities of cinema when I was growing up in Australia. Performances which were so nuanced and achingly real. Vision from directors which was bold, brave and immersive. Slices of life on celluloid which were frighteningly true, emotions I could recognise, characters I could believe in. A respect that the nature of film could be an art form that provokes, confronts and moves. This has always been at the heart of French cinema for me. Proud of its culture and history yet leading forward with risk and inventiveness. The first time I watched La Haine, Delicatessen, Jean De Florette, Breathless and Olivier, Olivier were transformative experiences where I left the cinema changed, inspired and motivated to think about my own stories. My very first short film played at the Cannes Film Festival and 10 years later my feature Macbeth screened on closing night starring Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. My appreciation and connection with French cinema has been shaped by these experiences and to me the heart of true cinema has always been found in the films of this extraordinary culture.

It is the greatest honour to be invited to be Patron of the Alliance Française French Film Festival Australia and I hope you enjoy your time in the cinema watching these incredible films.
Justin Kurzel, Director.
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