WATCH: 19th French Film Festival an 'exchange of ideas'

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines- A venue for the exchange of ideas, this is how French Ambassador Gilles Garachon described  the annual French Film Festival held here in the Philippines.

Now on its 19th year, this annual event, according to Garachon, aims to “work much closer together” with Philippines when it comes to making films and “to show the difference of French cinema and culture.”

One proof of this is the film cooperation agreement signed by Cannes Film Festival, Film Development of the Philippines Chairman Briccio Santos and Centre National du Cinema e de L'image animée Deputy Director Michel Plazanet last May 19.

Through this two-year renewable agreement, the two film institutions will work hand-in-hand in engaging efforts such as information sharing, reciprocal participation of cinematographic works in film festivals, and fighting piracy.

Meanwhile, for this year's festival, nine films will be shown. Garachon said these "recent movies...are less commercial.”

He added that these films were chosen to show the “own flavor of creativity of French cinema, which shows parts of the French culture.”

The 19th French Film Festival will run from June 10 to 15 at the Greenbelt cinema 3, with a minimal payment of P100.

Aside from French films, as a way of celebrating the  local films and Philippine Independence Day, they will also be screening three Filipino films which were showcased  at the Cannes Film Festival namely “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag” by Lino Brocka, “On The Job” by Erik Matti, and “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” by Lav Diaz.

Meanwhile, here are the list and synopsis of French films that are part of this year's film festival:

20 Ans d’écart (It Boy)
Directed by David Moreau
Running time: 1 h 32 min
Screening date: June 14, 3:30pm

Alice Lantins is 38 years old. She's beautiful, ambitious, and her impeccable professional conscience makes her neglect her private life. In short, she has everything to become the next editor-in-chief of Rebelle magazine - everything except for her uptight image. But when the young and charming Balthazar, barely 20 years old, crosses Alice's path, her colleagues' attitude inexplicably changes. Realizing that the she holds the key to her promotion, Alice stages the comedy of an improbable idyll.

La Vénus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur)
Directed by Roman Polanski
Running time: 1 h 35 min
Screening dates: June 10, 11:00pm / June 13, 3:30pm / June 14, 8:30pm

Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for the lead role in his new play, writer-director Thomas complains on the phone about the poor caliber of talent he has seen. No actress has what it takes to play his lead female character - a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Thomas is about to leave the theater when actress Vanda bursts in, a whirlwind of erratic - and, it turns out, erotic - energy.

At first she seems to embody everything Thomas has been lamenting. She is pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared - or so it seems. But when Thomas finally, reluctantly, agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation. Not only is Vanda a perfect fit (even sharing the character’s name), but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively - down to buying props, reading source materials and learning every line by heart. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep. As the extended "audition" builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession.

Quai d'Orsay
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier
Running time: 1 h 53 min
Screening dates: June 11, 8:30pm / June 13, 11:00pm / June 14, 1:00pm

Alexandre Taillard de Worms is tall, magnificent, a dashing man attractive to women and, incidentally, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the land of the Enlightenment: France. His silver mane and his robust athlete's body are everywhere, from the United Nations tribunal in New York to the powder keg of Oubanga. He admonishes powerful men and invokes the finest minds in order to bring peace and calm the trigger-happy - and to justify his aura of a future Nobel Prize for cosmic peace.

Alexandre Taillard de Worms is a powerful thinker, fighting with the back-up of the holy trinity of diplomatic concepts: legitimacy, lucidity and efficiency. He fights against American neo-conservatists, corrupt Russians, and greedy Chinese. Although the world doesn't deserve France's generosity of spirit, Taillard de Worms' art feels cramped within the nation's borders. Arthur Vlaminck, a young academic preparing his PhD, is hired by the minister. To put it plainly, he must write the great man's speeches. But first he must learn how to deal with the prince's moods and his entourage, forging a place between his cabinet director and advisers who haunt the Quai d'Orsay, where stress, ambition and underhand tactics are all part of operations. Just when he glimpses the world's fate, he is threatened by the technocrats' inertia.

Situation amoureuse : C'est compliqué (Relationship Status: It’s Complicated)
Directed by Manu Payet, Rodolphe Lauga
Running time: 1 h 40 min
Screening dates: June 13, 8:30pm / June 14, 6:00pm / June 15, 8:30pm

Thirty-year-old Ben is about to marry Juliette. His quiet, ordered life will fall to pieces when he meets up again with the person he secretly wants to see the most: Vanessa, the high school bombshell who never so much as looked in his direction. She's back in Paris, and the only person she now knows is him…

Les beaux jours (Bright Days Ahead)
Directed by Marion Vernoux
Running time: 1 h 34 min
Screening dates: June 10, 6:00pm / June 11, 11:00pm / June 15, 1:00pm

Bright days ahead? Caroline has retired, at last. A new life lies before her: time to take care of her children, her husband, and, most of all, herselfl. However, she soon comes to realize that this new freedom is synonymous with boredom and idleness. Especially when she receives a membership to her neighborhood’s senior club as a birthday present. Reluctant at first, she nevertheless decides to take the plunge. Oddly enough, she meets great people there, starting with the young computer science teacher, who is far from insensitive to her charms. Caroline gradually takes control of her life again and lives a second youth: taking a new lover, living new experiences, breaking the rules, not doing what’s expected of her.. Who said that retirement was the beginning of the end and not a new beginning?

Mon âme par toi guérie (One of a Kind)
Directed by François Dupeyron
Running time: 2 h 4 min
Screening dates: June 9, 8:30pm / June 11, 6:00pm / June 15, 3:30pm

Frédi has the gift of healing hands, transmitted to him by his mother. He wants nothing to do with this 'gift,', but when his mother dies, he's obliged to make use of it. Although he wonders where this ability came from, he can do nothing but accept it.

Une autre vie (Lovers)
Directed by Emmanuel Mouret
Running time:1 h 35 min
Screening dates: June 10, 1:00pm / June 11, 3:30pm / June 13, 6:00pm

Jean, an electrician, installs alarms in the South of France. He encounters Aurore, a famous pianist. Despite their differences, they immediately fall in love with each other and envisage a life together. Jean wants to leave Dolorès, his longtime companion. But she's prepared to do anything to hold on to him.

Amour et turbulences (Love is in the Air)
Directed by Alexandre Castagnetti
Running time:1 h 36 min
Screening dates: June 10, 3:30pm / June 11, 1:00pm / June 14, 11:00pm

On her way back from New York to Paris, where she's soon to be married, Julie finds herself sitting next to Antoine, an attractive cad whom she dated 3 years earlier. She'll do everything she can to avoid him, whereas he's counting on the 7-hour flight to win her back! It's an opportunity for us to travel back in time and witness their encounter, their love affair, their break-up... So many incredible, romantic, and caustic scenes that will make this journey the most moving one of their lives.

L’Écume des jours (Mood Indigo)
Directed by Michel Gondry
Running time: 2 h 5 min
Screening dates: June 10, 8:30pm / June 13, 1:00pm / June 15, 6:00pm

This is the surreal and poetic story of Colin, an idealistic and inventive young man, who meets Chloé, a young woman who seems to be the incarnation of a blues by Duke Ellington. Their idyllic marriage turns to sorrow when Chloé becomes ill, due to a water lily growing in her lung. To pay for her medical care, in a fantastical Paris, Colin must work in increasingly absurd conditions, while their apartment falls to bits around them and their circle of friends, including talented Nicolas, and Chick, a fanatic of the philosoper Jean-Sol Sartre, disintegrates.








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