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The French cinematic tradition continues

The 23rd French Film Festival Opens on June 6


By Rica Arevalo

  • Louis en Hiver

  • Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle)

  • Bob le flambeur (Bob the Gambler)

  • Cezanne et Moi

  • Yves Saint Laurent

  • Taxi 5

  • Polina

    Movie enthusiasts, brace yourself from June 6 to 12, 2018 to welcome the 23rd French Film Festival at Bonifacio High Street Cinemas, Greenbelt 3 Cinemas and UP Town Center Cinemas.  Around 21 classic and modern films will be highlighted to expose the local audience why France is one of the largest exporters of films in the world.

    We have seen Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le flambeur (Bob the Gambler), a pioneering film noir gangster type of action film that influenced the Nouvelle Vague. Suave and well-liked gambler Bob (Roger Duchesne) is an ex-convict and bank robber whose luck ran out. Although retired, he concocts a plan to rob the Deauville casino with his gang. The 1956 legendary black and white film is still exciting to watch. It has influenced contemporary films like Ocean’s Eleven, Hard Eight, and The Good Thief.

    Another Melville classic is Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle), where a great jewelry heist is carried out by prisoners starring Alain Delon, Andre Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, and Yves Montand. In that suspense-filled robbery, we only hear ambient sound and no dialogue for about half an hour.

    If you love animation, catch Louiseen Hiver, a 75-minute quiet and slow introspection of a septuagenarian who is stranded alone in a beach resort. The grand prize winner of the 2016 Ottawa International Animation Festival is endearing, especially when Louise decides to stay and endure her isolation and look back at her priceless memories.

    The life of French designer Yves Saint Laurent directed by Jalil Lespert is showing on June 9.  It opened the Panorama Special section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival and Pierre Niney winning Best Actor at the 40th César Awards. It shows the beginning of Yves’ career in fashion as artistic director of the House of Dior and his intimate relationship with his business partner, Pierre Berge (Guillaume Gallienne). A manic-depressive, his battle with drugs and fighting his inner demons made him revolutionize women’s fashion for close to five decades. He is best known for his Mondrian collection.

    Another biographical film is Cezanne et Moi produced in 2016. The one hour and 57-minute drama shows the remarkable love-hate friendship between 19th century French painter Paul Cézanne and writer Emile Zola. They were first schoolmates, artists then creative rivals who continue to meet, fight and pursue their own passion, sometimes hurting one another. Success seems to elude Cézanne while Zola “sells out” to become famous.

    Polina, directed by Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj, stars Anastasia Sheytsova as the adult Polina who grew up up fixated with the dream of becoming a successful ballet dancer. Through her sheer determination and talent, she gets accepted in the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.  But she struggles, gets injured and learns to open her eyes to new forms of choreography. She fails again, becomes homeless and a starving dancer.  But still there is hope for her dancing.

    The red carpet opening premiere night film is the hilarious Taxi 5 produced by Luc Besson on June 8. Sylvain (Franck Gastambide) is a Paris police officer who is transferred to Marseille and gets an incompetent unit to fight a group of Italian robbers. This is a fun movie where a romantic date with Samia (Sabrina Ouazani), ideally swimming with the dolphins, ended up with a disastrous seal attack on his ladylove. His funny sidekick, Eddy (Malik Bentalha) is a worst-rated Uber driver who is dumped by the beautiful Sand Van Roy. The chase scenes between Peugeot and the Ferrari cars are worth seeing.

    Filipino films are represented with the first Filipino Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival for short film, Anino and Himpapawid, directed by Raymond Red. Bagahe, which won the grand prize (Cyclod’or) of the Vesoul Asian Film Festival this year, is also included in the lineup.

    For inquiries on the schedule and film lineup, contact or 0966-389-9119.

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