French Film Fest 2019
Now in its 27th year, The UK’s only French Film Festival comes to Edinburgh’s Filmhouse and Dominion, and Glasgow’s GFT and Grosvenor Cinemas with films full of pedigree and style. This year on the 1st of November, possible Brexit day, the festival kicks off a programme with a timely and welcome spirit of unity. There are French-speaking films from Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland, and one or two films from as far afield as Africa. France has, of course, long been a nation dedicated to bringing art to the medium; from the French New Wave of the 60s to the Cinema du Look movement of the 80s and 90s. French cinema today remains vital and passionate.
Two films in the programme which focus on the same subject matter couldn’t be more different in approach; Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc tells its tale with the backdrop of a heavy- metal musical while Joan Of Arc centres on the last years of her life in austere and deadpan fashion. Both are directed by the impossible to categorise Bruno Dumont, one of the most acclaimed directors working in France today.
“FRENCH CINEMA IS VITAL AND PASSIONATE”
The Ideal Palace tells the incredible true story of Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, who built a palace in remembrance of his daughter in 1897. Working alone with no knowledge of architecture and mostly at night, Cheval’s achievement is stunning. The film is a testament to him, to love and dedication to your art.
Alice and the Mayor, the opening film at the GFT, stars Fabrice Luchini as the mayor of Lyon. Luchini is always eminently watchable, well known for recent films such as The Mystery of Henry Pick and the aforementioned Joan of Arc. Luchini’s mayor has lost his sense of political creativity and his career is stagnating, so he takes on a young philosopher played by Anais Demoustier as his aide. The interactions between the two are a joy in this lively talkie.
One of the most profound cinema moments in my life came with a scene in Leos Carax’s The Lovers on the Bridge, a Cinema du Look classic, and there are moments like that peppered throughout the history of French cinema. Here’s your chance to go catch some new ones.
French Film Festival runs from 1st November till 15th December at various venues across Scotland.