Say Bonjour to the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2024

French Film Festival 2024: The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan
The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan
The French Film Festival has something for everyone with costume dramas, comedy, and romance says FIFTY+SA Arts Writer Dr Diana Carroll.
Dr Diana Carroll

It’s time for Adelaide cinema fans and Francophiles to get excited about the Alliance Française French Film Festival. Now in its 35th iteration, this year’s Festival promises so many wonderful cinematic treats. Launching the Festival in Adelaide this week, outgoing Artistic Director Karine Mauris says the films she has selected all champion the themes of humanity and diversity. ‘From heart-warming comedies to gripping dramas, each offers its unique charm and allure,’ says Mauris.

Karine Mauris is the Cultural Attachée of the French Embassy in Australia and has been the Film Festival’s Artistic Director since 2020. ‘In my final edition as Artistic Director, I’m thrilled to share one of my all-time favourite movies, Les Enfants du Paradis,’ she says. ‘This timeless masterpiece holds a special place in my cinematic memory, portraying love, art, and life in the theatrical world with poetic storytelling and captivating characters.’

French Film Festival 2024: Second Round
Second Round

There are 41 films in this year’s Festival and Mauris says All your Faces is her personal favourite. A powerhouse cast, including Adèle Exarchopoulos and Gilles Lellouche, headlines this compelling drama about France’s Restorative Justice program. The scheme was first introduced here in Australia in 2001 and then adopted by France in 2014. Like many of the films, All your Faces has its Australian premiere at the Film Festival.

The Festival gets off to a rollicking good start on March 21 with The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan. This is the first part of a wildly-entertaining two-part period drama based on Alexandre Dumas’ beloved classic novel. It features an all-star cast including Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris, Pio Marmaï, François Civil, and Eva Green with fabulous sets and costumes. This is an epic and sumptuous adventure not to be missed! Opening Night tickets include a reception with drinks, a sumptuous cheese buffet, and catering.

Three weeks later, the Festival’s special Closing Night event on April 16 features Second Round, an audacious look at politics and the media by the renowned actor, writer, and director Albert Dupontel. Clever, original, and very funny, it is billed as being akin to The Thick of It and Veep but with a very French lens. Closing Night tickets also include welcome drinks and canapés.

French Film Festival 2024: The President's Wife
The President’s Wife

Another highlight of this year’s Festival is sure to be The President’s Wife starring the legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve as Bernadette Chirac. The film is based on actual events, but as the disclaimer at the beginning makes clear, we’re not quite sure where the fact ends and the fiction begins. Deneuve is amazingly good in this vibrant film about an extraordinary woman. And yes, President Jacques Chirac, is portrayed as an awful machiste! Get a group of the girls together for the special Ladies’ Night showing on April 3 and enjoy wine on arrival with some delicious finger food.

Another one to watch out for is Iris and the Men, a feel-good film about relationships and desire. As Mauris said at the Festival launch ‘people love French movies because we talk about sex!’ This is a cheeky, joyous, and provocative comedy to be watched alone or with friends. There’s also a gorgeous animation called Nina and the Secret of the Hedgehog that I’m really excited to see. This is from the creative team who made the wonderful A Cat in Paris a few years ago. And whilst most of the films showcase our favourite French actors, you can see Johnny Depp in Jeanne du Barry, a glorious period piece described by Mauris as ‘Pretty Woman set in the 16th Century!’

I’ll leave the final words to outgoing Artistic Director Karine Mauris: ‘May this festival bring joy, inspiration, and connection to all.’

The 35th Alliance Française French Film Festival is on at Palace Nova Eastend and Palace Nova Prospect from Thursday March 21 to Tuesday April 17.


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