The best of France’s contemporary movies

The French Film Festival in Israel celebrates 10 years of cinema.

The best of France’s contemporary movies  (photo credit: courtesy)
The best of France’s contemporary movies
(photo credit: courtesy)
Celebrate a decade of French cinema at the 10th French Film Festival in Israel, which will run this year from March 9-19 at the cinematheques in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sderot, Rosh Pina, Holon and Herzliya.
This year’s festival offers the best of contemporary French cinema and will be attended by many of France’s most acclaimed directors. It includes the popular new feature Alceste on a Bicycle, from director Philippe Le Guay, who directed last year’s well-reviewed film The Women on the 6th Floor, about Spanish maids working for upper-class Parisian households. Alceste on a Bicycle (called Moliere on a Bicycle in Hebrew) stars Fabrice Luchini, the actor who played the Parisian bourgeois boss in The Women on the 6th Floor. It’s also co-written by Luchini, who uses the film to celebrate his deep love for the works of Moliere. Luchini co-stars with Lambert Wilson, and the two play very different actors who are trying to get a new production of Moliere’s play Le Misanthrope off the ground. Le Guay and Wilson will attend the festival to present the film.
Noemie Lvovsky, the director/writer/star of the time-traveling comedy Camille Rewinds, will be present at screenings of the film. She plays a woman who gets a chance to see what her life would have been like if she had made different decisions. In the film, Camille meets the love of her life, Eric, while in high school. They marry and have a child, then he dumps her for another woman when Camille is over 40. The film explores whether she should do anything differently when she gets the chance.
Cedric Kahn is coming to show his latest film, A Better Life, at the festival. It stars Guillaume Canet in an award-winning performance as a kitchen worker who hopes to become a chef. When he meets his dream woman, they borrow money to buy property so they can open their own restaurant. He also becomes close to her nine-year-old son. But when they encounter problems with their new venture, the girlfriend heads to Canada for what she says will be a short visit, and he is left taking care of her son. What follows has been compared to a working-class version of Kramer vs. Kramer. Scott Thomas and Isabelle Carré.
Lorraine Levy, the director of The Other Son, a drama about two families, one Israeli and one Palestinian, who discover that their children – now teens – were switched at birth, will also be coming. Levy will be accompanied by Rafael Berdugo, one of the film’s producers. Levy directed the enormously charming 2004 film The First Time I Turned 20.Among the other directors who will be coming is Edith Zavole, the director of Mander Street, the story of a Jewish family coping with a recent death.
The festival will feature a tribute to late director Claude Miller (he passed away in April 2012), featuring his last film, Therese Desqueyroux , an adaptation of the Francois Mauriac novel, starring Audrey Tautou. Several of Miller’s other films will be shown at the festival.
Other films to be screened include Café de Flore, a drama featuring several parallel love stories, starring Vanessa Paradis. Bowling is a popular comedy about a hospital strike. Cloclo is a biopic of French singing star Claude Francois, starring Jeromie Renier, which traces the singer’s childhood in Egypt to his untimely death in France in the late 1970s. And Our Children is Yoachim Lafosse’s look at a couple who lose control of their own lives and children when they move in with the wife’s well-to-do family.
The festival is sponsored by the cultural department of the French Embassy and the Eden Cinema company. The French television channel TV5Monde, which has been broadcast in Israel for 20 years, also helped create the festival.
For detailed schedule information and tickets, check the websites of the participating cinematheques