Tricolor galore

The French Film Festival opens on March 13.

People at the movies (Illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
People at the movies (Illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The 15th French Film in Israel will feature distinguished guests, the best of contemporary French cinema and several rarely shown classics.
The festival begins on March 13 and runs until early April at the cinematheques in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Holon, Herzliya, Sderot and Rosh Pina, as well at the Savyon Cultural Center and Globus Max Ashdod. The opening event at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, which will honor cinematheque founder Lia van Leer on the third anniversary of her death, will take place on March 14.
Almost all the movies feature both English and Hebrew subtitles, but check with the theater before you buy your ticket.
The opening-night film is See You Up There (Au revoir là-haut), which will be screened in the presence of its director, Albert Dupontel. It tells the story of two former soldiers in 1919 – an ex-accountant and a brilliant artist who is disfigured – who start a con game that involves a war memorial in Paris in the roaring Twenties. It was nominated for 13 Cesar Awards.
Dupontel stars with Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, who was in 120 BPM.
Robin Campillo’s 120 BPM, a drama about activists who advocated for a cure for AIDS in France, will also be shown in the festival.
Director Robert Guediguian and his actress wife, Ariane Ascaride, are well known for a series of crowdpleasing but intelligent films about working-class life, among them Marius and Jeannette and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Guediguian and Ascaride will attend screenings of their latest film, The House by the Sea, about three adult children who return to their seaside home after their father has a stroke.
Carine Tardieu’s Just To Be Sure tells the story of a widower (Francois Damiens) whose life is changed when he finds his biological father.
Cecile de France and Guy Marchand co-star. Tardieu made the delightful film The Dandelions in 2012, about the friendship between two young girls, which I recommend seeing any way you can.
Actor/director Mathieu Amalric is both behind and in front of the camera in Barbara, a movie about an actress appearing in a biopic about a legendary singer and the director who falls in love with her.
Actress Sara Forestier (Primaire) makes her directorial debut and also stars in M, an opposites-attract love story about a woman with a paralyzing speech impediment and a more confident man, played by Redouanne Harjane. Jean-Pierre Leaud, known for his films with Francois Truffaut, also appears.
Blandine Lenoir’s Aurore tells the story of a woman (Agnès Jaoui) who refuses to give up when she meets her first love again after many years.
Philippe Lioret’s A Kid (Le fils de Jean) tells the story of a man who travels to Montreal to meet his half brothers after he learns of the death of the father he never knew.
Two brothers, David and Stéphane Foenkinos, co-directed Jalouse, the story of a divorced teacher who suddenly finds herself jealous of everyone in her life.
Other films in the festival include Guillaume Gallienne’s Maryline, about a naive young woman who moves to Paris to become an actress.
It stars Adeline D’Hermy and Vanessa Paradis.
Jean Renoir’s French Cancan (1954) is one of the classics that will be shown. An homage to the Belle Epoque and the beginnings of the Moulin Rouge nightlife scene, the film stars Jean Gabin as a cafe owner who has the idea of taking the cancan dance off the streets and putting it on stage.
Jacques Becker’s 1952 Casque d’Or, which stars Simone Signoret, is also set during the Belle Epoque and tells a story of gangsters and their molls.
Other classics include Marcel L’Herbier’s The Inhuman Woman (1924), a silent film; and Georges Franju’s 1960 horror film Eyes without a Face, about a doctor who takes extreme measures to heal his disfigured daughter, which stars Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli.
The festival is sponsored by the French Embassy in Israel, the Eden Cinema distribution company headed by Caroline Boneh, the French Institute in Israel, UniFrance Films and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.