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FTW: Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2016

Daniel Driscoll

Fri Feb 19 2016


BACK for its 27th year, the 2016 Alliance Française French Film Festival is bringing a huge lineup of the best films French cinema has to offer to Melbourne. To celebrate, we’re giving away 10 double passes to the festival! Daniel Driscoll has more.

One of Melbourne’s most popular film festivals, the Alliance Française French Film Festival,returns this March with some of the very best in contemporary and classic French cinema. With 9 categories and 48 titles to choose from, there’s something for just about everyone.

Many of the features included are critically acclaimed with a large proportion having screened at some of the most prestigious film festivals around the world, including the Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

The festival showcases France’s talent for turning out a large breadth of high quality cinema which ceases to waver year after year.

Between March 2 and 24, the Melbourne leg of the film festival will again take place at various Palace Cinemas around the city and Bay area including the Kino Cinema on Collins St, Melbourne and Palace Cinema Como on Chapel St, Prahran.

With a huge selection of films on offer, we’ve sorted through what’s showing and come up with few that are worth spending your time with.



Contempt examines the corroding effect of the film business on those who aspire to make great art from it. Image supplied.

The festival opens with Jean-Luc Godard’sContempt, a film that remainsa true classic of French cinema, over fifty years on from its first release.

Godard tells the story of screenwriter, Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), who is working on a script of The Odyssey being directed by film giant Fritz Lang (playing himself), which is sure to be a box-office bomb. Art, commerce and personal affairs clash as Paul does his best to court the favour of brash producer Jerry Prokosch (Jack Palance), and compromises his marriage to Camille (Bridgite Bardot).

Contempt examines the corroding effect of the film business on those who aspire to make great art from it. This is Godard’s first colour film and this newly restored version is not to be missed.

For a bit of trivia, the film opens with one of the most famous shots of the legendary Brigitte Bardot.


Image supplied.

Dheepan is a confronting slice of realism based on lead actor Jesuthasan’s own experience. Image supplied.

Director Jacques Audiard’s 2015 Palme d’Or winning masterpiece Dheepan is a story of three strangers in conflict-ridden northern Sri Lanka who band together as a makeshift family in order to flee to the suburbs of Paris.

Dheepan (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) is an ex-Tamil Tiger, who along with lost young woman Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) and orphan girl Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby) struggle to find stability as they are forced to improvise their relationships as they find themselves coping with new violence and intolerance in their adopted homeland.

Dheepan is a confronting slice of realism based on Jesuthasan’s own experience. The film packs an emotional punch and a complex social message.

A Perfect Man


Pierre Niney stars in nail-biting thriller A Perfect Man, a portrait of an untenable double life. Image supplied.

Pierre Niney stars in nail-biting thriller A Perfect Man, a portrait of an untenable double life. Niney plays no-hoper writer Mathieu who finds a completed manuscript of a novel while working as a removalist on a deceased estate. He decides to pass the work off as his own and soon finds himself in a realm of success, celebrity and love while being weighted down with the impossible expectation for his second novel.

Faced with the potential of losing his girlfriend Alice (Ana Girardot) and the wealth of her parents, he is forced to resort to risky and criminal tactics to hide the truth.

The film is a roller coaster of twists and turns as Mathieu tries to navigate his amoral decisions. Directed by Yann Gozlan the film evokes the claustrophobic suspense of the novels of Patricia Highsmith to create a Ripley-esque experience.

Love at First Child


Isabelle Carré and Patrick Bruel, for the first time together on the big screen, in a gentle look at love and becoming a parent later in life. Image supplied.

Isabelle Carré and Patrick Bruel star as a romantic comedy pair in a gentle look at love and becoming a parent later in life.

Carré plays Gabrielle, a single mother whose 17-year-old daughter, Claire (Alice de Lencquesaing) is pregnant. The child’s father, Simon has no desire to be involved with his future child so Gabrielle decides to take matters into her own hands and asks Simon’s father, Ange (Patrick Bruel) for help, sparking an unexpected romance.

Love at First Child is a light-hearted film, with Bruel effortlessly combining selfishness and charm, and Carré wonderful as a new grandmother trying to keep everything together. The film portrays some truthful reflections on family, fatherhood and life in your forties, with plenty of laughs along the way.

These recommendations are only a small selection of what’s on offer over the two and a half weeks. With such a huge line up ranging from dramas to comedies, TV season premiers and classics, you won’t be starved for choice.

The 27th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival will take place between March 2 – 24 at participating Palace Cinemas across Melbourne. For more information about the film festival, including film descriptions, schedule or other resources, please visit the festival’s official website.

To win one of ten double passes to the 27th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, simply enter the competition below! Competition closes midnight on Monday, February 29. Double passes cannot be used for special ticketed events such as the opening and closing night films, on public holidays or on Saturdays after 5.00pm.

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