Cork French Film Festival marks 30 years with diverse range of offerings

March festival to serving up mixture of love stories, comedies, war dramas and more

Impossible Love is among the offerings at this year’s festival

Impossible Love is among the offerings at this year’s festival

 

A veritable pot-pourri – that might well be the best way to describe this year’s Cork French Film Festival which, to mark its 30th anniversary, is serving up a heady mixture of emotional love stories, quirky comedies, war time dramas, hard hitting social realism and campaigning documentaries.

Some 20 films will be shown over the course of the week, commencing on March 3rd and running until March 10th. The Alliance Française de Cork central to proceedings and its director Jean-Christophe Trentinella, is promising an exciting week’s viewing at the Gate Cineplex on Bachelor’s Quay.

“The shadow of Brexit looming over us is making us feel more acutely than ever this sense of interdependence and reinforces even more the strong ties between Ireland and France. We are hoping this year’s festival will appeal to people of all ages,” said Mr Trentinella.

“Some of the films might be difficult, with themes such as unemployment and social struggles, because these films give us a glimpse in other people’s life, their hopes and their challenges . . . I am very proud of this year’s programme, as it is a very sensitive account of what it means to be human.”

Officially launching the festival with Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney was French ambassador to Ireland Stéphane Crouzat who recalled the historic cinematic links between Ireland and France which date back to the early days of cinema.

“The Lumière Brothers marked the beginning of a joint cinematic history between France and Ireland when they recorded the first ever images from Ireland as early as 1897,” he said.

This year’s festival opens on Sunday, March 3rd with what has been described as a French-style The Full Monty, Gilles Lellouche’s Sink or Swim(Le Grand Bain), which was one of last year’s box-office hits in France, telling the humorous story of an all male synchronised swimming team in an existential crisis.

The festival closes on Sunday March 10th with a screening of Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s adaptation of the Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, staring Gérard Depardieu as a popular officer and romantic poet who is cursed with an impossibly large nose as he seeks to woo his cousin, Roxane.

Also starring Anne Brochet and Vincent Perez, the film won 10 Césars, and Depardieu’s magical performance, both subtle and larger-than-life, earned him an Oscar nomination and won Best Actor César award and Best Actor at the Cannes Film festival.

During the intervening week, cineastes will get the chance to see Emmanuel Finkiel’s Memoir of War based on Marguerite Duras’s book, La Douleur. Set in Nazi-occupied France in 1944, it tells the story of Resistance member Marguerite as she tries to find out about her husband deported to Dachau.

Stéphane Brizé’s social realist drama En Guerre starring Vincent Lindon will also be screened. The film centres on a group of workers at an automotive parts manufacturing plant in southwest France who decide to fight back against management’s plan to close the plant with the loss of 1,100 jobs.

Also featuring is Catherine Corsini’s Un Amour Impossible’, based on a novel by Christine Angot and set in late 1950s rural France featuring the story of a working class woman, Rachel played by Virginie Efira over the course of 40 years.

One of two documentaries at this year’s festival Le Temps des Forêts by filmmaker, François-Xavier Drouet is dedicated to the “foresters who resist” and looks at how France’s once diversified forestry has been reduced to only a few species as forestry undergoes an unprecedented industrialisation.