CATHERINE DENEUVE in Jacques Demy’s 1964 classic ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A tribute to one of the great screen goddesses of all time, Catherine Deneuve, will be a highlight of the 16th French Film Festival in Israel, which opens on March 14 at the cinematheques in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Holon, Herzliya and Sderot. It will also be held at Beit HaTarbut in Savyon, Globus Max in Ashdod and the Einstein Auditorium in Netanya, and will run throughout the month.
The festival features nearly 20 films, which include the best of recent French cinema as well as some 20th-century gems. All of the films have Hebrew subtitles and most have English subtitles as well.
This year’s festival will feature a double bill of Jacques Demy’s 1964 classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – the film that made Deneuve an international star – along with one of Deneuve’s most recent films, Claire Darling, by Julie Bertuccelli (Since Otar Left, The Tree). Umbrellas is one of the most purely enjoyable films ever made, and to see it on the big screen will be an incredible treat. It’s an unusual musical in that all the dialogue is sung, and it features a score by Michel Legrand, the great composer who recently died.
In Claire Darling, Deneuve plays a woman who is convinced that it is the last day of her life and spends the time giving away mementos, each of which evokes a memory. In addition to Deneuve, the film stars Chiara Mastroianni, Deneuve’s real-life daughter with Marcello Mastroianni, and Alice Taglioni, who plays Deneuve as a young woman.
The festival will open with the crowd-pleasing comedy-drama Sink or Swim, by Gilles Lellouche, about a men’s synchronized swim team. It stars some of France’s best actors, including Mathieu Amalric, Benoît Poelvoorde and Virginie Efira. Lellouche and the film’s producers, Alain Attal and Hugo Sélignac, will attend some of the screenings of the film. The three will be present at a screening at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on March 18 that will be held in memory of Lia van Leer on the fourth anniversary of her death. Sink or Swim will open in theaters around Israel on April 4.
The festival will also show two films in which Lellouche acts: the extremely popular Little White Lies (2010), and a new movie, Jeanne Herry’s Pupille (aka In Safe Hands), about an abandoned baby and the quest to find an ideal family for the child.
Jean-Paul Rouve’s Lola and Her Brothers stars its director, alongside Ludivine Sagnier and Jose Garcia as siblings who lost their parents at a young age and were once very close, but have grown apart.
Photo de Famille features an all-star cast in a drama of an extended family who get together for the funeral of their grandmother. Among the actors are Vanessa Paradis and Camille Cottin, whom Netflix fans will recognize as one of the stars of the Call My Agent! series.
L’Amour Flou is a quasi-documentary by actor/directors Romane Bohringer and Philippe Rebbot about their divorce.
In addition to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, there will be several other classics in the festival. These include Julien Duvivier’ s1937 gangster drama, Pepe Le Moko, starring Jean Gabin; Louis Malle’s May Fools, starring Miou-Miou and Michel Piccoli; and Jacques Rivette’s 1961 story of intellectual life, Paris Belongs to Us.
The closing-night film will be In Your Hands, a drama by Ludovic Bernard about a gifted young pianist from a tough neighborhood who gets involved in crime and is mentored by the director of a conservatory (Lambert Wilson). It will be opening throughout Israel following the festival.
The festival is produced by Eden Cinema Ltd., which is headed by Caroline Boneh, who is the festival director. It is also run by the Institut Francais in Israel, under the guidance of cultural consultant and director Barbara Wolffer, and Stéphanie Rabourdin, the audiovisual attaché. Sponsors include Unifrance Films, the French Institute in Paris, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality and the French Embassy in Israel.
Individual cinematheques and theaters will have complete schedules and subtitle information.
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