After delighting cineastes with a delicious line-up of French films led by acclaimed silent film ‘The Artist’, at the inaugural festival last December. This year’s edition, running from 5 to 9 December, promises to be just as tantalizing. A total of 12 films will be screened at two venues–The Cathay and Alliance Française de Singapour.
In addition to the 12 films, the National Museum of Singapore’s Cinematheque will also have a special screening of the recently restored 1945 masterpiece ‘The Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis)’ on 6 December.
Besides, a stellar line-up of films, cinema enthusiasts will also be treated to an array of post-screening discussions with the directors and stars to get an inside scoop on French cinema.
Amongst the star-studded delegation of actors, directors and producers gracing their presence in the festival are the beautiful Sophie Marceau and her partner, Christopher Lambert (‘Highlander’).
French directors Lorraine Lévy, Carine Tardieu and Jean-Christophe Dessaint will also conduct a series of masterclasses for the students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film & Media Studies, and the Tisch School of the Arts Asia as part of the film festival.
With something for everyone, we give you our top five must-watch films at this year’s film festival. And we heard that the tickets are going fast, so book them now before they are snapped up.
If you need to spend quality time with the kiddos…
‘Day of the Crows (Le Jour des Corneilles)’
Based on a novel by Canadian writer Jean-Francois Beauchemin, this visually astounding, hand-drawn animation feature directed by Jean-Christophe Dessaint, is certain to etch a special place in the hearts of kids and their parents alike.
This magic realist fable traces the relationship between Courge, a wild boy and his tyrannical ogre father, who live in the wilderness of a forest. When his father gets injured, our main protagonists head to the nearest village where Courge meets Manon, a young girl and develops a friendship that radically changes his views about love.
Legendary French New Wave director Claude Chabrol, who passed on in 2010, provided a voice for the film, which includes the likes of French superstars Jean Reno and Isabelle Carre.
Date: 8 Dec, 5.20pm | Venue: The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd.
Date: 8 Dec, 1pm | Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre, 1 Sarkies Rd.
If bromance is on the cards…
This highly entertaining 2011 comedy of an unlikely duo has been doing brisk business in the global box office stakes with US$355 million in the kitty. Directed by Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano, the film’s narrative is based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caretaker Abdel Sellou.
After a paragliding mishap, Philippe (Francois Cluzet), a wealthy aristocrat is confined to his home. He employs Driss (Omar Sy), a young dude, from a rough neighborhood and fresh out of prison, as home help. Two disparate worlds collide and they win each other over in a fledgling friendship of mutual respect.
Omar Sy had upstaged Jean Dujardin from The Artist, to become the first black actor to win the Cesar Award, the French equivalent of the Oscars, on February 24 this year. And if you want to know how convincing he is, you have to make this heartwarming flick a must-watch before Hollywood produces its shoddy rip-off.
Date: 6 Dec, 9.30pm | Venue: The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd.
Date: 7 Dec, 8.45pm | Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre, 1 Sarkies Rd.
If you need a quality first date flick…
‘Happiness Never Comes Alone (Un Bonheur n’ arrive jamais seul)’
Like it or not, romantic comedies are here to stay. Directed by James Huth, this French rom-com focuses on the unlikely coupling between Sacha(Gad Elmaleh), a bohemian jazz pianist and Charlotte(Sophie Marceau), a twice divorced mother of three, who juggles motherhood with a professional career. Although, they have nothing in common, a love affair and relationship blossoms between our leads.
Seems like a typical rom-com with the addition of three young tykes and overbearing exes but the nuanced performances from Sophie Marceau and Gad Elmaleh carry this film into the perfect date film.
Date: 5 Dec, 8.15pm; 9 Dec, 9.15pm | Venue: The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd
‘Rust and Bone (De Rouille et D’Os)’
Not everyone wants an easy rom-com caper. Directed by Jacques Audiard, 'Rust and Bone', is an emotionally engaging dramatic hybrid between 'Free Willy' and 'The Fighter'.
Set in Antibes, northern France, a perpetually broke and friendless bare-knuckled fighter Ali(Matthias Schoenaerts) finds himself in charge of Sam, a 5 year-old son he barely knows . They seek refuge at Ali sister’s place. Soon, he gains employment as a bouncer in a local nightclub.
After breaking up a fight one evening, Ali meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a gorgeous, well-to-do, killer whale trainer and they spend the night together. They lose contact after the fling. One day, Ali gets an unexpected phone call from the wheelchair bound and dispirited Stephanie. Without pity, he helps her rebuild her life.
Date: 8 Dec, 9.15pm |Venue: The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd.
If you are into the political becoming personal …
‘The Other Son (Le Fils de l’Autre)’
The latest celluloid offering by screenwriter-director Lorraine Levy utilizes a theme common in classical theatre, two babies switched at birth, to explore the Palestinian-Jewish conflict. With the duo in their late teens and having spent their lifetime in different families, we witness how the two families reconcile their long held political-racial ideologies.
Vividly shot by Emmanuel Soyer, this sensitive and optimistic piece of human drama, cleverly unveils the thorny ironies in this conflict stricken land.
Date: 7 Dec, 9.15pm | Venue: The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd.
Date: 6 Dec, 6pm | Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre, 1 Sarkies Rd.
Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous with French Cinema | 5-9 Dec | The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd.; Alliance Française Theatre, 1 Sarkies Rd. | Tickets available from Sistic and https://tickets.cathay.com.sg | www.rendezvouswithfrenchcinema.sg