The Oh la la! festival returns with the finest French comedies

A scene from 'Joyuse Retraite!' (photo credit: RED CAPE FILMS)
A scene from 'Joyuse Retraite!'
(photo credit: RED CAPE FILMS)
The funny side of the French will be front and center at Oh la la!, the fifth French comedy film festival in Israel, which is running now at the cinematheques in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Sderot, Holon and Herzliya, and at Beit HaTarbut in Savyon, the Zohar Hall in Tivon and Bohut Cinema in Ashdod.
The festival will run through November 23 in Tel Aviv and till the end of the month in the other venues.
Oh la la! will present 16 movies: 14 recent comedies and two classics. The opening film, Joyeuse Retraite! by Fabrice Bracq, tells the story of a couple happily preparing for a relaxing retirement in Portugal when their daughter suddenly announces she and her husband are getting separated, which throws a wrench into the older couple’s plans. The film will be opening throughout Israel shortly after the festival ends.
Director Michel Leclerc will attend the festival to present his latest film, Battle of the Classes, aka Class War. Leclerc made the very funny and touching film The Names of Love several years ago. His new film is a comic look at ethnic tensions in a French school, and stars Edouard Baer (Moliere) and Leïla Bekhti (A Prophet).
Other films of interest this year include Elise Otzenberger’s My Polish Honeymoon, the story of a Polish-Jewish couple who live in Paris and are invited to return to the husband’s grandfather’s village in Poland, a trip that turns out very differently from what the couple expects.
Maxime Govare’s The Shiny Shrimps has been an international hit. It tells the story of an Olympic champion at the end of his career who makes a homophobic remark on television. To make amends, he takes the job of coaching a flamboyantly gay, amateur water polo team. It was shown at the TLVFest and this festival gives audiences another opportunity to enjoy this crowd-pleasing film.
Sandrine Kiberlain, a quirky and appealing actress, stars in Sweetheart, Lisa Azuelos’s look at a devoted mother facing empty-nest syndrome.
The first of the classics in the festival is Patrice Leconte’s 1996 The Grand Dukes, the story of three aging actors – played by the wonderful trio of Jean-Pierre Marielle, Philippe Noiret and Jean Rochefort – who hit the road one last time with one more play.
The great comic actor Louis de Funès made a broadly comic film adaption of Moliere’s The Miser in 1980, and it will be shown.
The festival was organized and produced by Eden Films CEO Caroline Boneh with the support of the Institut Francais of Tel Aviv and UniFrance Films. The event is part of the French-Israel Cultural Season.
For further details about the films and to order tickets, go to the websites of the individual cinematheques and theaters.