The French Film Festival returns this November with a lineup of cinema to thrill, chill and evoke laughter! A bumper crop of around 30 classic and contemporary films will be making their appearance this festival, ensuring that it continues to maintain its position as a film festival that’s truly for all.
While French cinema has always been popular, it is evident from the 2017 edition of the festival’s 100,000 ticket sales that now more than ever, French and in fact, world cinema is finding a place in everyone’s hearts. Says Mr. Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore: “For the Festival’s 34th edition this year, the Embassy of France and the Alliance Française de Singapour are offering a selection of the newest French films screened by our partners Shaw Theatres and The Projector. With the growing appetite for French films, we are excited to double the number of film screenings this year to 75 screenings across four locations to provide people with more opportunities to enjoy it.”
This year, beyond the usual dramas, comedies and animated films, the festival will be featuring a brand new selection of horror and thriller films. Opening the Festival will be Daniel Roby’s apocalyptic blockbuster Just A Breath Away (Dans la brume), following the story of parents Mathieu and Anna, who are caught in a race against time to save their daughter when a sudden earthquake hits Paris and a deadly gas cloud begins to spread across the city.
Guests will be particularly interested to know that Olga Kurylenko, who plays Anna in the film and had a star turn as Agent Camille Montes in the James Bond flick Quantum of Solace, will be making an appearance at the Festival’s opening ceremony. She will also be joined by her onscreen husband Romain Duris (starring as Mathieu), producer Guillaume Colboc; and producer-screenwriter Guillaume Lemans. Actor Duris is not only a screen star though – it turns out he’s also a talented artist, and from 1st November to 1st December, the Alliance Française de Singapour will be exhibiting a selection of his dark drawings swinging between the erotic and the humorous.
Just A Breath Away will be also be one of the four films receiving a commercial release by Festival partner Shaw Theatres, with the other three namely being historical epic One Nation One King (Un peuple et son roi), men’s synchronised swimming comedy Sink or Swim (Le grand bain), and children’s animated film The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (Le Grand Méchant Renard et autres contes), with their wider release hopefully reaching greater audiences and reach.
Another highlight of the festival is Denis Do’s animated film Funan, making its Asian premiere. Don’t expect a fluffy tale though – Do was inspired by his mother’s personal experiences and uses the film to relate the story of a family torn apart by the brutalities of the Khmer Rouge regime in Phnom Penh, receiving awards at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival this year.
In addition, the Festival promises a whole season of heartstopping horror, with Guillaume Lemans’ zombie thriller The Night Eats the World (La Nuit a Dévoré le Monde), while other films in the lineup include Gaspar Noe’s Climax, Julia Ducournau’s Raw (Grave) and Pascal Laugier’s Ghostland, winner of the Grand Prize and Public Prize at the 2018 Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer international festival of horror and science fiction films.
The festival will also be showcasing a retrospective of late French directorial legend Henri-Georges Clouzot at The Projector. Best known for his dark and riveting thrillers making him a contemporary of Alfred Hitchcock, a selection of Clouzot’s most well-known and well-received films, such as Wages of Fear (Le Salaire de la Peur) and Diabolique (Les Diaboliques) will be made available for fans of this genre.
Films will even be reaching the heartlands, as new partners Our Tampines Hub presents four films during the festival, including festival closing film Tomorrow (Demain) by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent, Belle and Sebastian (Belle et Sebastian) by Félix Bossuet and Tchéky Karyo, and Eleanor’s Secret (La maison des contes) by Dominique Monféry, alongside an array of short animated films targeted at pre-schoolers from Folimage Studio for free.
Beyond the films themselves, audience members will have the opportunity to meet with the creatives behind the films through post-screening dialogues and workshops. Guillaume Lemans, the producer-screenwriter of Just a Breath Away and The Night Eats the World, will join other horror film writers and directors such as local filmmaker Eric Khoo, to discuss audiences’ love for horror and suspense as part of Singapore Writers Festival. There will also be also be two masterclasses held at Lasalle College of the Arts by Guillaume Colboc and Denis Do.
Says local director Anthony Chen, who is the 2018 Festival Guest of Honor: “French Cinema has impacted and inspired me as a filmmaker for the longest time. Since the French New Wave, I have always found cinematic language in French cinema liberating, constantly surprising and subverting expectations. For me, it expands the possibilities of cinema and storytelling, whether in form or the narrative structure that we are so used to seeing in Hollywood films. I’m pleased to be invited as the Guest of Honour of the Festival to help share my love for French films with everyone, and I hope the films on offer this year will inspire Singaporeans in the same way they have done for me time and again.”
With a programme that’s bigger, bolder and more exciting than ever before, get ready to feel the power of French cinema move your heart and keep the feels flowing with the 2018 French Film Festival.
The French Film Festival will take place from 8th to 18th November 2018 at Shaw Theatres Lido, Alliance Française de Singapour, The Projector and Our Tampines Hub. Prices vary according to location (screenings at Our Tampines Hub are free). For more information, visit www.frenchfilmfestival.sg