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Win double passes to this year's festival
Twenty days, two cinemas, and around fifty French films to enjoy -- oui, the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival returns to Brisbane's Palace Cinemas from 6 to 25 March, and I can't wait.
I always get very excited when I hear that the French Film Fest is coming back to town. The first of the foreign festivals to visit Brisbane each year, it's a welcome change from standard Hollywood offerings. It also takes me back to when I first discovered foreign films in my teens, revelling in the 1950s' and 60s' classics of the French New Wave.
Jules and Jim
This year I'll get to revisit some of those classics, with a tribute to New Wave director Francois Truffaut featuring two of his best-known works -- The 400 Blows (1959) and Jules and Jim (1962).
The festival will also screen Truffaut's last film, Finally Sunday (1983), which I haven't seen, described as a 'stylish thriller reminiscent of pulp fiction murder mysteries'.
Most of the program, however, is devoted to interesting new releases that include romances, comedies, dramas, action movies, fly-on-the-wall documentaries, and charming kids' films.
Having previewed two romances, It Boy and Just a Sigh, I can say that the former starts out sexy and fun (though I found its ending disappointingly predictable) and the latter (which features Irish star Gabriel Byrne) is an often lovely exploration of mature-age romance, with Paris itself another star.
Belle and Sebastian
Of the other films, I'm particularly keen to catch Cycling with Moliere, the story of a respected actor who emerges from retirement at the request of a soap-opera star who wants to stage Moliere's play The Misanthrope. An 'odd couple' style comedy with plenty to say about actors and Moliere's text itself, this one's been well-reviewed by critics.
Positive reviews have also been forthcoming for Camille Claudel 1915, which features Juliette Binoche as the troubled sculptress who ended up in an insane asylum -- not exactly jolly or fast-paced, but apparently very powerful. In a similar vein is Violette, the story of feminist novelist Violette Leduc, who was mentored by Simone de Beauvoir.
At the other end of the scale is frothy comedy Populaire, a technicolour throwback to 1950s movies', which focuses on one girl's chances in the world typing championships (yes, really). The emotional thriller Bright Days Ahead looks good, and fashion buffs should get along to Mademoiselle C, an intimate documentary about Paris fashion luminary Carine Roitfeld.
Kids are catered for with a couple of cartoons, and the very beautiful Belle and Sebastian -- a movie about a boy and his dog, set in the French Alps during World War II. They might also enjoy the closing-night film, Jacques Tati's comedy classic, Mon Oncle.
There are plenty of other films, and lots of special events that include French food and drink. For a full list of what's on, check out the full program. And, if you'd like to see one of these films for free, make sure to enter the competition below.
Thanks to the festival and our friends at Palace Cinemas, I have six double passes to give away. Each pass entitles the holder to two free tickets to a festival session of their choice (excluding opening/closing nights, special events, public holidays and Saturdays after 5pm).
To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with FFF in the subject line. Tell me the name of one movie at the festival that you'd like to see that I haven't mentioned in this article.
Bonus points if you can also say something nice to me in French. The competition closes midnight Saturday 1 March. Bonne chance mes amis.