The Alliance française of Edmonton invites one and all to go to the cinéma and watch some wonderful movies. The 10-day French Film Festival starts Thursday as a way of contributing to the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, a greater series of events all centred around Alberta Francophonie Month and the International Day of the Francophonie on March 20.
As the local chapter of the largest network of French language schools in the world, the organization typically serves up a host of lessons for students of all levels and backgrounds. But learning the language isn’t enough.
“This condition is to promote Francophone culture and so we do that through theatre, concerts, exhibits and many cultural and social events,” explained executive director Anthony Bertrand.
“We try to break down the language barriers. Whatever you speak – French, English or any other language – the idea is to foster intercultural activity.”
We try to, on the one side, teach the French language and on the other side, basically we're trying to give opportunities to live lots of activities in French, so you learn in the classroom and then you meet native speakers from France, from Quebec, from Belgium, from Morocco because we have all those people coming to our events and then the students have a chance to practise on the go.”
There will certainly be lots of opportunities to practise reading, listening and speaking French with this festival, which will feature eight marvellous works from some very accomplished filmmakers. For a full overview of the festival and the films, people can visit www.af.ca/edmonton/events-activities/cultural-events-2/the-french-film-festival while details on the screenings including times and admission prices can be found at www.metrocinema.org/series/french-film-festival.
All films are presented in French with English subtitles.
Gaspar Noé loves sensational stories that he can sensationalize with his unique visual style. His oeuvre often features very challenging content and Climax is no different. It focuses in on a dance school during an after hours house party. Dozens of these young, energetic performers enjoy themselves, dance and drink to be merry, but someone spikes the punch and things go bad to worse to horrific. Everyone’s world turns upside down in the course of a single night.
Le Livre d’image (The Image Book)
When was the last time you watched a new Jean-Luc Godard film? The cinematic master behind such great French New Wave flicks as Breathless and Pierrot le Fou is nearly 90 but has surprised the film world with this visual collage/tone poem that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is food for thought. If there is one film in the fest to catch on the big screen, this is it.
La Belle et la Belle (When Margaux meets Margaux)
Leave it to the French to take the classic Beauty and the Beast and mash it with a tale about a young woman who meets her older self. Sophie Fillières has a deft touch for what could easily be an Adam Sandler comedy if it was in the hands of an American director. Here, it is a character-based story that is still on the light side with only hints of philosophical ponderousness.
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
If you do not at least know the famous story of The Little Prince, shame on you. You can try to make it up by taking your family to the cartoon adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The novella was voted the best book of the 20th century in France, and this is a country that knows its literature. Although the main characters are children, it is still an important and captivating tale for adults. So go. To sweeten the deal, kids 12 and under get in for free for the Sunday, March 17, screening.
Invisible Essence: Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
After the Sunday matinee of Le Petit Prince, stay for this more adult documentary that explores the lasting legacy that the tale has had on the world. It features interviews with The Little Prince’s director, poet Rupi Kaur, as well as Olivier and François d’Agay, the great-nephew and nephew of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It also shows us the importance of the story as we witness a seven-year-old blind Pakistani-Canadian boy experiencing The Little Prince for the first time. Bring your kerchiefs.
Good Luck Algeria
Farid Bentoumi’s film about two childhood friends who grow up as ski makers. The only way to save the company is to establish one of the friends as an Olympic-level skier competing for Algeria. The challenge also takes him back to his roots in this crowd-pleasing comedy that’s based on a true story.
Admission is free on Wednesday, March 20, as it is presented in celebration of Jour de la francophonie.
Les Gardiennes (The Guardians)
Ahh … life on the farm. The clean air. The hard work. All is not bliss, however, as a mother and daughter take over the field duties while the men go off to fight in the First World War. To help with the harvest, they hire a worthy orphan named Francine. This tender drama is sure to open some eyes to the side of “fighting for your country” that doesn’t often get screentime. Also, it’s as picturesque as France can get and that’s saying something.
La Disparition des Lucioles (The Fireflies are Gone)
This Quebec coming of age story by Sébastien Pilote is about a young woman named Léo who is finding it hard to focus on her future. With a tough and complex family life, she feels like a loner who prefers to hang out with an older guitarist, the equally reclusive Steve.