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French Film Festival returns
LOCAL cinephiles will have plenty to look forward to this month with the French Film Festival returning for its latest edition.
Organised by the French Embassy, Institut Français Singapour and Alliance Française, it will take place from Nov 9 to 19.
A total of 16 works - spanning a variety of genres including comedies, biopics, dramas and thrillers - will be screened to showcase the diversity, artistry and eclecticism of French cinema.
Highlights include Seuls (Alone), a big-screen adaptation of a popular French comic book series about five teenagers who wake up to a post-apocalyptic world where they have to band together to survive.
The fantasy-thriller is directed by David Moreau, who was behind the English remake The Eye (2006) starring Jessica Alba, and has been billed as France's answer to the popular Divergent franchise.
Moreau will be in Singapore for the festival, together with director Cédric Klapisch whose latest work Back To Burgundy will have a gala presentation. The latter will be accompanied by popular French actress Ana Girardot who stars in the film.
The heart-warming drama tells the story of three estranged siblings who struggle to rebuild their vineyard home after the death of their father. It is shot against the lush landscapes of the Burgundy countryside.
An exhibition of photographs taken during the film's production by Klapisch and photographers Michel Baudoin and Emmanuelle Jacobson Roques will run alongside the screening.
Amanda Sthers' light-hearted Madame, filmed in English and starring Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel, is another must-see. The comedy revolves around an American couple living in Paris who suddenly find themselves with 13 guests for a dinner party. Out of superstition, they ask their maid to pose as a rich Spanish friend so as to avoid hosting that inauspicious number of people. When the maid catches the eye of a British art broker, an unexpected romance blossoms and hilarity ensures.
Madame, as well as Seuls and Back To Burgundy, will get general releases by Shaw Theaters on Dec 7, Dec 21 and Nov 23 respectively after their premieres. This marks the festival's first extended partnership with the distributor-exhibitor to further encourage the fast-growing appreciation of French cinema in Singapore.
The Projector will also be presenting two special screenings as part of a special spotlight on the late movie legend Jeanne Moreau. A muse to directors from Orson Welles and Luis Bunuel to Joseph Losey and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, two of her most famous works - Elevator To The Gallows (Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud) and Jules And Jim (Jules Et Jim) - will be shown.
Singaporean filmmaker Boo Junfeng, whose last film Apprentice earned international acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival last year, has been picked as Festival Ambassador to share his perspectives on French cinema. His top picks for this year's line-up are featured on the festival's website.
"Cinema is an important art form in France and we hope to share our love for it with Singaporeans through the French Film Festival," says Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore. "The festival offers us the opportunity to tap into the rich vein of French films produced in the recent years to present shows that cater to every moviegoer, and to show a different side of French films outside the international festival circuit."
He adds: "We believe that they will be able to resonate with their common themes of love, loss, and hope, and more importantly inspire richer cultural appreciation and exchanges between our two countries."
Regional attaché for South-east Asia for Cinema, TV, Radio & Digital Charlotte Deflassieux-Viguier notes that Singaporeans are "no stranger to world cinema" and the appreciation of French films has grown steadily over the years.
"We are extremely heartened to receive such strong support from our partners and the film community to build on our efforts to further the appreciation of French films in Singapore, and we hope to (strengthen) these relationships to offer our local audiences an enjoyable cinematic experience to look forward to every year," she says. "We believe that this will lead to a more varied offering of films in Singapore, and an increased presence of French and European films in cinemas around Singapore."
- The French Film Festival will take place at Shaw Theaters Lido, Alliance Française de Singapour and The Projector from Nov 9 to 19. For more information, go to www.frenchfilmfestival.sg