Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2018
Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2018
Alliance Francaise French Film Festival Renault Alliance Francaise French Film Festival Renault

David Stratton's reviews

"A hundred years ago, when major directors like Louis Feuillade and Abel Gance were making their early films, France was in the forefront of innovation and entertainment in the relatively new art of the motion picture. Forty years later, in 1958, the first features of Francois Truffaut (Les 400 coups) and Claude Chabrol (Le beau Serge) ushered in the 'Nouvelle Vague', the movement that transformed not only French but also world cinema. Thanks to the enlightened system that exists in France to support not only the production of French films but also their distribution, exhibition and international exposure – through Unifrance Film – French cinema has remained in the forefront of international cinema while the cinema in other countries has struggled to survive.
The French films I saw in Cannes and Venice this year, several of which are taking part in the 2018 Alliance Française French Film Festival, are testament to the ongoing quality and inventiveness of the French film industry. It's an honour to be the Patron of this year’s event and I sincerely hope that Australians who explore the latest crop of French films will enjoy many stimulating, exciting and pleasurable hours in the cinema over the coming weeks."


"Former child actor Xavier Legrand (who had a leading role in Louis Malle's Au revoir les enfants) makes an exceptionally fine directorial debut with this powerful domestic drama in which a man (Denis Ménochet) and his wife (Léa Drucker) battle for custody over their 11-year-old son, beautifully portrayed by Thomas Gioria.
Winner of both the Opera Prima for Best First Feature and Best Director prizes in Venice, the film is briskly paced and at times almost unbearably tense. A remarkable debut that was, mysteriously, rejected by the programmers at Cannes last year.”


"A cheeky, enjoyable melodrama from director Francois Ozon, and very different from Frantz, his previous movie. Marine Vacth falls in love with her psychiatrist (Jérémie Renier) – and then she meets his twin brother, who has a totally different, and quite alarming, personality. Filled with deliberate excess, the film becomes increasingly outrageous as it proceeds. Ethereally beautiful Vacth plays her character absolutely straight, despite the deliberate absurdities that keep piling up."


"Kad Merad plays a professional violinist assigned to teach music to an unruly class of children aged 13/14. This is an updated Blackboard Jungle with music, and the greatest strength of director Rachid Hami is his handling of the children all of whom seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves whether being docile or rebellious."


"Anyone who was influenced by the 'Nouvelle Vague', the French New Wave of the late 1950s, should make a point of seeing this film by director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) which purports to depict how director Jean-Luc Godard's approach to cinema changed after he met Anne Wiazemsky and starred her in La Chinoise (1967).
Louis Garrel and Stacy Martin are completely convincing as Godard and Wiazemsky, and the film is filled with tasty material to delight the most avid film buff."


"Laurent Cantet's new film centres on a writing workshop being held for the benefit of young people in the coastal community of La Ciotat. Marina Foïs plays a well-known authoress who agrees to work with a racially mixed bunch of young people but who gradually comes to suspect that one of the group (Matthieu Lucci) is a racist who might possibly be dangerous.
Cantet probes his characters with great skill and this is a thoroughly absorbing and very contemporary drama."


"Winner of the Camera d'Or for Best Feature at Cannes last year, Leonor Serraille's superb film features an outstanding performance from Laetitia Dosch as the volatile and unpredictable Paula who returns from a trip abroad to discover her lover has locked her out of his apartment. As incidents in the chaotic life of Paula unfold the viewer is drawn to this flaky, difficult yet strangely endearing young woman."


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