This week, to whet your appetite, the first films for the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 were announced. Read on to find out about 15 of the films which will screen at this year’s festival plus where and when it will be on (including some new cities).
Did you know that the Alliance Française French Film Festival is the largest French film festival outside of France? Or that it is actually the biggest nationwide film festival in Australia? Yep, even though Australia has lots of Italian migrants, even the Italian Film Festival doesn’t come close to the size and popularity of the Alliance Française French Film Festival!
The first announcement also gives us a preview of some of the categories the films within the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 are being put into. These include:
- Finding comic relief
- Limitless hope
- L’amour in all forms
Now let’s discover the films!
FRENCH ACADEMY AWARDS NOMINATION
Saint Omer, France’s nomination for Best International Feature at the 2023 Academy Awards, tells the gripping story of a young novelist forced to confront her own complex family history when she attends a notorious murder trial.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
In Masquerade, Adrien (Pierre Niney, Black Box AF FFF 21) is an injured dancer who succumbs to laziness and turns to relying on his beauty to seduce older, wealthy women, who happily support his lavish lifestyle. Happily living with doting Martha (Isabelle Adjani, The World Is Yours, AF AFFF19), a fading film star, until he meets Margot (Marine Vacth, If You Saw His Heart, AF FFF18), who is in a similar line of work.
FINDING COMIC RELIEF
Everybody Loves Jeanne is a film that we were hoping would make the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 line-up as we’ve seen it feature in a number of the film festival programs throughout 2022. Starring Blanche Gardin, (Delete History, AF FFF21) as Jeanne, this wickedly funny film lets us in on the embarrassment and self-doubt internally plaguing the outwardly confident, smart golden girl.
Opening the Cannes Film Festival 2022, Final Cut is a reimagination of the Japanese zombie comedy classic One Cut of the Dead, Michael Hazanavicius’ Final Cut follows a crew, setting out to remake the film depicted in the original motion picture. Romain Duris stars as the film’s director struggles with a low-budget and a less than enthusiastic cast until real-life zombies overtake their set.
Two tickets to Greece is feel-good a film with Laure Calamy, Olivia Côte and Kristin Scott Thomas as childhood friends tentatively reuniting for a trip to Greece, specifically to Amorgos, where The Blue Lagoon was filmed – a place the now adults had dreamed of visiting as teens.
L’AMOUR IN ALL FORMS
Favourite Marion Cotillard with Melvil Poupaud (The Young Lovers/Les Jeunes Amants at the 2022 AFFFF) star in Brother and Sister as estranged siblings forced together after decades apart when a family emergency strikes. It tackles the dynamics of family ties and rivalries, exploring pride, jealousy and how (perceived) slights and infringements of the past can linger beyond logical explanation.
Lie with me, based on Philippe Besson’s award-winning autobiographical novel of the same name, takes audiences on an adventure of sexual awakening, heartbreak and the healing power of truth. Renowned novelist Stéphane Belcourt returns to his childhood hometown of Cognac as a guest of honour. There, he unexpectedly meets Lucas, who turns out to be the son of his first and greatest love, Thomas Andrieu. The very “Thomas” who appears in every one of his novels.
One Fine Morning is an exploration of the ageing and fragility of human life from director Mia Hansen-Løve. Sandra, is a widow, single mother, and carer to her father who battles a devastating neurological disorder. She is devastated by his worsening condition, seeing the former writer’s words and knowledge, which encompassed so much of his being, slowly disintegrate before her eyes.
Other people’s children is inspired by the director’s own experiences as a step mother. Virginie Efira stars as Rachel, a 40 year old woman who is content and childless. The she meets Ali (Roschdy Zem, Oh Mercy, AF FFF20), who proves himself to be a wonderful partner and father to four-year-old Leila. Before long, Rachel finds that she has mostly fallen for Leila, a child she is painfully aware is not and will never be hers.
The Innocent is also inspired by this director’s own experiences including that of his mother marrying a prison inmate. In the film, Abel (Louis Garrel, A Faithful Man, AF FFF19) is the doubtful son of mother Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg) who announces her third marriage in ten years; this time her fiancé Michel (Roschdy Zem, Oh Mercy! AF FFF20) is in prison.
Director Christophe Honoré’s Winter Boy, starring Vincent Lacoste and Juliette Binoche, is his most autobiographical film to date. It follows a young man, Lucas (newcomer Paul Kircher) on the cusp of adulthood who, after being sent reeling by an unexpected loss, looks for comfort in all the wrong places. His mother Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) is unable to find the means to console him.
Annie’s Fire is another promising film, and winner of the Variety Piazza Grande Award at the 2022 Locarno International Film Festival. It brings another outstanding performance for Laure Calamy (Antoinette in the Cévennes, Full Time, Call My Agent!) as the titular Annie, who in 1974 unexpectedly falls pregnant with abortion not legally accessible. It’s a a life-affirming story of solidarity, suffering and liberation, honouring the bravery of the women and men who waged a campaign of civil disobedience, helping women gain control of their own reproductive rights in France.
From academy award winning director Jean-Jacques Annaud is Notre-Dame on Fire, a documentary-style retelling of the tragic blaze which destroyed much of the Notre-Dame cathedral in 2019. In this action-packed recount, Annaud masterfully retraces the steps of emergency rescue services in their courageous rush to save this globally cherished monument.
NOVEMBER brings together Jean Dujardin, Sandrine Kiberlain, Anaïs Demoustier, Jérémie Renier, Lyna Khoudri, Cédric Kahn in a film exploring the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks from the perspective of French anti-terrorism services as they work against the clock in the aftermath of the attacks. It was the biggest French film box office hit in France with 600,000 admissions in one week!
Paris Memories is also set in the aftermath of the horrific November 2015 terrorist attacks in the heart of Paris and follows survivors as they try to come to terms with a tragedy that would change the course of their lives forever. Virginie Efira (Madeleine Collins, AF FFF22) stars as Mia enjoying her birthday at a restaurant who crosses eyes with Thomas Benoît Magimel, Peaceful, AF FFF22) before the sounds of Happy birthday being sung is interrupted by the sound of bullets.
ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2023 DATES
So without further ado, quick drumroll … the dates are:
Sydney, NSW: 7th March to 5th April
Melbourne, VIC: 8th March to 5th April
Perth, WA: 8th March to 5th April
Canberra, ACT: 9th March to 5th April
Brisbane, QLD: 15th March to 12th April
Byron Bay, NSW: 16th March to 5th April
Adelaide, SA: 23rd March to 19th April
Parramatta, NSW: 29th March to 2nd April
Rooty Hill, NSW: 29th March to 2nd April
Victor Harbour, SA: 3rd and 10th April
Bendigo, VIC: 21st to 23rd April
Gold Coast, QLD: 29th March to 16th April
Margaret River, WA: 31st March to 2nd April
Hobart, TAS: 9th to 19th March
PAST FESTIVAL FILM REVIEWS
In the meantime, you might like to read some of our reviews of films from last year’s festival to whet your appetite for the 2023 addition.
Also, don’t forget the My French Film Festival 2023: a worldwide streaming film festival is currently available online at http://www.myfrenchfilmfestival.com/