Drama about explorer Jacques Cousteau to open Cork French Film Festival

Programme promises a feast of diverse cinema, including features and documentaries

It was only released in France last October, but L'Odyssée, which opens this year's Cork French Film Festival, will bring cinephiles of a certain age back to an earlier time.

The film tells the story of Jacques Cousteau, the French underwater explorer whose TV documentaries were a staple on RTÉ back in the 1970s. L'Odyssée charts the remarkable voyage of discovery undertaken by the former naval officer to introduce and educate people to the treasure trove of life that exists under the sea.

Directed by Jérôme Salle, the film stars Lambert Wilson as Cousteau and Audrey Tautou as his wife, Simone Melchior Cousteau. It follows the family from the summer of 1946, when Cousteau introduced his young son to diving. Phillipe Cousteau is shown the silent underwater world brimming with vibrant multicoloured fauna. The film resumes 10 years later on board Cousteau's ship, Calypso, where Phillipe discovers the father he once idolised has changed.

L'Odyssée screens at the Gate Cinema on March 5th, opening a week of French cinema in Cork. Other events include a talk by photographer, director and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who will introduce his latest documentary, Human.Other items on the schedule include an address by French-Lebanese actor Manal Issa, who plays the main character in the acclaimed Parisienne.



Cork Institute of Technology will be the venue for an event with French chocolatier Benoît Lorge, who will give a demonstration before a screening of Kings of Pastry, which follows a group of top French pastry chefs as they compete for one of France's most prestigious culinary awards.

Festival programmer Julien Planté said this year’s programme is “one of the most diverse to date, featuring iconic French actors, talented newcomers, award-winning films, premieres, preview screenings and many other treats. This festival is about cinema in all its diversity”.

The Cork French Film Festival runs March 5th-12th. http://corkfrenchfilmfestival.com

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times