(Clockwise from top left) Film stills from ‘Möbius’, ‘Michael Kohlhaas’, 'Le promeneur d'oiseau' and ‘La vénus à la fourrure’. Photos: UniFrance
This year, the third Rendezvous With French Cinema returns from 5-8 December with 14 films playing across four cinemas.
Jointly organised by the Institut Français, Unifrance and Alliance française de Singapour, this year's edition isn't just about bringing the latest French films to our shores, it's also focused on bringing light to the process of making movies with a series of post-screening events involving the filmmakers. In attendance will be Philippe Muyl ('Le promeneur d’oiseau'), Arnaud des Pallières ('Michael Kohlhaas') and Eric Rochant ('Möbius').
We profile five films that grabbed our attention.
‘La vénus à la fourrure’ (Venus in Furs)
Roman Polanski's new film is an adaptation of the play of the same name by David Ives. The play itself is inspired by the novel written by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch. After a long day of auditions in Paris, writer-director Thomas is just about to throw in the towel on his quest to find his perfect leading lady when the disheveled Vanda arrives. In a frantic display of energy, she convinces Thomas to let her read for the part and amazes him with a complete understanding of the part of a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. As the two prepare for the play, predictably the attraction intensifies and turns into an obsession; but not without a plot twist at the end.
Date: 8 Dec | Time: 3.45pm | Venue: Golden Village Marina | Address | Tickets: $12
A thriller starring 2012 Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (‘The Artist’), ‘Möbius’ tells the story of Gregory Lioubov, a Russian spy assigned to keep watch over a powerful businessman. When he suspects that their financial expert, Alice, has betrayed his team he makes contact with her. Of course, a passionate affair ensues which further complicates an already messy situation.
Date: 7 Dec | Time: 9pm | Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre | Address: | Tickets: $11
Date 8 Dec | Time: 7.20pm | Venue: Shaw Theatres Lido | Address: | Tickets: $12
‘Un Plan Parfait’ (Fly Me To The Moon)
Diane Kruger (‘The Bridge’) stars in this wacky romantic comedy. Having witnessed every first marriage in her family crumble, Isabelle (Kruger) devises a plan to marry a complete stranger before settling down with her faultless fiancé, Pierre. Well obviously, that's a recipe for disaster. Bad for Isabelle, but great comedy for the audience.
Date: 6 Dec | Time: 7.20pm | Venue: The Cathay | Address: 1 Handy Road. | Tickets: $12
A period drama based on the 1811 novel of the same name, the movie sees the intimidating Mads Mikkelsen (‘Hannibal’) playing the titular character. A 16th-century horse dealer sees his newly purchased property taken by a nobleman while trying to cross a border. When his legal protest is foiled, the simple Kohlhaas forms and leads an outlaw army, waging war on his country to reclaim his rights. As a bonus, both director and writer Arnaud des Pallières and Christelle Berthevas will be in Singapore during its screening period to speak about the film.
Date: 6 Dec | Time: 9.15pm | Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre | Address: | Tickets: $11
Date: 8 Dec | Time: 2pm | Venue: The Cathay | Address: 1 Handy Rd. | Tickets: $12
'Le promeneur d'oiseau' (The Nightingale)
One of the festival's more unique films, ‘The Nightingale’ was shot in China with an all-Chinese cast but directed by Frenchman Philippe Muyl.
The story centers round a grandfather and granddaughter reflecting on their lives, which so far have been solely focused on the material pursuit of success and money.
Bringing more of the French-Asia connection to this screening is the opener for the film, ‘After the Winter’ (Au-dela de l'hiver), a short film directed by Singaporean Jow Zhi Wei. A recent graduate of France's prestigious Le Fresnoy post-graduate school, Jow's film was selected for the Cinefondation Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.
Date: 6 Dec | Time: 6.30pm | Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre | Address: | Tickets: $11
Date: 7 Dec | Time: 2pm | Venue: The Cathay | Address: 1 Handy Rd. | Tickets: $12