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See You Up There kicks off new French film season
Guests enjoyed fine wines, fresh baguettes and wheels of deliciously ripe brie at the official launch of the Alliance Française French Film Festival at Cinema Paradiso before viewing See You Up There (Au revoir là-haut) directed by Albert Dupontel who also stars and narrates.
Dupontel is Albert Maillard, a rank-and-file French infantryman battling to survive trench warfare as WWI comes to its conclusion.
In a horrific final sortie, Maillard is almost buried alive by debris and his comrade Édouard Péricourt is horribly disfigured after being hit by mortar fire.
Péricourt becomes addicted to morphine during his convalescence and, living behind elaborate masks to hide his disfigurement, concocts a plan with Maillard to sell phony monuments to French towns honouring their dead; an undertaking that will prove as dangerous as it is stunning.
An epic crime drama adapted from an award-winning novel by Pierre Lemaitre it also stars Laurent Laffite (who will be attending a special Q&A screening on March 15) as the devilishly handsome villain, Captain Pradelle, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart as the mask-wearing Pericourt and Niels Arestrup as his estranged father.
Running from March 14 to April 4 this will be the 29th AFFF Festival with more than 250 screenings to be held over the three week period, including five special events, 46 features, two documentaries and a cheeky Parisian TV series.
For the first time, and in celebration of the recent yes vote for same-sex marriage in Australia, there will be a LGBTQI strand in the festival.
Special events include the opening night on Wednesday, March 14 at Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX where the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia and generous support of Presenting Sponsor, Renault Australia will present C'est la vie! (Le sens de la fête), a delicious comedy from Éric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, the famed directorial team behind the 2011 global hit, The Intouchables.
The film stars the inimitable Jean-Pierre Bacri – in a role penned especially for him - as Max, a famed, but cantankerous caterer and event organiser, tasked with creating a fairytale wedding at a sumptuous 17th century château.
Other special events are A Taste of France: Back to Burgundy with a special reception at The Windsor on Sunday, March 18 and the ever-popular Ladies Night at Cinema Paradiso on Friday 23 March where you can enjoy a glass of bubbles before watching brilliant new comedy Jealous.
The festival concludes on April 4 with drinks and nibbles being served before starring Valérie Lemercier in the crowd-pleasing romantic comedy 50 is the new 30.
There is something for everyone in this amazing selection.
For further details about venues and screening times, visit the website