Coming to Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 (AFFFF 2023) is Final Cut (Coupez!) a comedy horror film, which even audiences who aren’t fans of the horror genre really should see. Opening Cannes Festival 2022, Final Cut is an adaptation of the Japanese film, One Cut of the Dead, which in turn was inspired by the Japanese play Ghost in the Box.
It’s a very clever film within a film, in which a low-budget project with less than enthusiastic actors seize the opportunity to shoot a zombie film in one, single cut. There’s the potential of a real-life zombie disaster unfolding on set, the cast wondering if they’ve been subjected to a curse. It’s difficult to tell you much more about the plot without giving too much away.
I attended the media preview of Final Cut (Coupez!) with a little trepidation – this was billed as a zombie gore film and I normally avoid anything with violence, horror or gore. I’d read going in that the first 20-30 minutes was the part I might struggle with so sat in and braced myself. There is gore aplenty: blood and other bodily fluids. However, rather than being ultra-realistic it is instead heavily stylised (often typical in Japanese media (film, animation, manga) where things are exaggerated and over the top) and I managed to watch without squirming, well not too much.
At the media screening, AFFFF Artistic Director Karine Mauris introduced the film and mentioned that it was one that really needed to be seen on the big screen, in the company of others, including complete strangers. She was right. Hearing others gasping and laughing added even more to the experience.
Final Cut is the latest film from director Michel Hazanavicius, who won both the César and the Academy awards for Best Director for The Artist in 2012. He also directed the OSS 117: Lost in Rio and OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.
The film was nominated for Best Original Music and Best adaptation at the 2023 César awards (but didn’t win). It’s easy to see why it was nominated for its music because it, and Jean-Pascal Zadi, who plays the character who produces the sound in the film, are great. Original is definitely an apt word to describe some of the sounds created for the film.
The film has a great cast and everyone plays their role convincingly and well. Romain Duris plays Rémi, the director of the film that they’re shooting in Final Cut, and Bérénice Bejo plays his wife Nadia (and make-up artist on that film). Fun fact is that Bérénice Bejo is in fact Final Cut director, Michel Hazanavicius’ actual wife (she also starred in his award-winning film The Artist) and his daughter, Simone Hazanavicius, plays Rémi and Nadia’s daughter in Final Cut! Japanese actress Yoshiko Takehara (who was also in the original One Cut of the Dead) is hilarious and her facial expressions priceless.
The cinematography is also noteworthy. The film within the film was filmed in one take “as a succession of edited shots… but which were just shot one after the other in continuity. It was a crazy choreography, between the actors who enter and leave the frame sequentially, the special effects, the image and the sound” as Jonathon Ricquebourg, director of photography on the film explained in an interview with the Association Française des directrices et directeurs de la photographie Cinématographique. It’s no mean feat to shoot 30 minutes in one take!
Final Cut is a very clever film that will have you laughing as you recollect moments from it throughout the festival and beyond.
Matilda Marseillaise attended a media preview of Final Cut.
KEY INFO FOR AFFFF 2023
WHAT: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 (AFFFF 2023) – the 34th edition of the largest celebration of French film outside of France!
WHERE & WHEN:
Sydney, NSW: 7th March to 5th April – Palace Central, Palace Verona, Palace Norton St, Chauvel Cinema, Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
Melbourne, VIC: 8th March to 5th April – Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Astor Theatre, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema
Perth, WA: 8th March to 5th April – Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Palace Raine Square, Camelot Outdoor Cinema
Canberra, ACT: 9th March to 5th April – Palace Electric Cinema
Hobart, TAS: 9th to 19th March – State Cinema
Brisbane, QLD: 15th March to 12th April – Palace James Street, Palace Barracks
Byron Bay, NSW: 16th March to 5th April – Palace Byron Bay
Adelaide, SA: 23rd March to 19th April – Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
Port Pirie, Renmark, Whyalla, Mount Gambier: 24th March to 26th March – Northern Festival, Chaffey Theatre, Middleback Arts Centre, Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre
Gold Coast, QLD: 29th March to 16th April – Dendy Southport
Parramatta, NSW: 29th March to 2nd April – Riverside Theatre Parramatta
Victor Harbour, SA: 3rd and 10th April – Victa Cinema
Bendigo, VIC: 21st to 23rd April – Star Cinema
HOW: The full program of 41 films can be viewed at the official Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 website via this link: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/
HOW MUCH: Ticket prices vary between cities and there are also discounted festival passes available if you want to see several films. (NB You will need to pick the films and sessions when purchasing the pass)
More Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 content
Our picks from the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 program
Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 first 15 films announced
For other events with French and francophone links happening this month, check out our What’s on in March