For the 22nd year, the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Français, the Alliance française de Manille and de Cebu, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas, Ayala Malls, Central Square, Circuit Makati and SSI Group, Inc. roll out the red carpet once more for the French Film Festival in Manila.
Each year, over 15,000 moviegoers are treated to critically-acclaimed feature films that provide a mirror into French society. From June 9 to 17 at the Ayala Malls Cinemas in Greenbelt 3 and the BHS Central Square Cinemas, the 22nd French Film Festival continues this tradition by offering 13 French films that will immerse Filipinos in a different form of storytelling that portrays French values, culture, and language. To mark this long-standing friendship, the French Film Festival will also pay homage to Filipino films that have been selected at the Cannes Film Festival, which also celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017.
On June 12, Independence Day, the following films will be screened at the French Film Festival:
• Nakaw, directed by Noel Escondo and Arvin Belarmino (Short Film Corner, 2017)
• Ma’ Rosa, directed by Brillante Mendoza (Main Competition, Best Actress Award, 2016)
• On the Job, directed by Erik Matti (Director’s Fortnight, 2013)
• Anino by Raymond Red (Short Film Corner, Palme d’Or for Best Short Film, 2000).
For the 2017 edition of the festival proper, these following films are featured:
• 21 Nuits avec Pattie/21 Nights with Pattie (2015)
Dir. Jean-Marie Larrieu, Arnaud Larrieu
Running time: 115 minutes/1hr. 55 minutes
During the height of summer, Caroline, a forty-year-old Parisian and mother, arrives in a small village in the south of France. She must hastily organize the funeral of her mother, a flighty lawyer, whom she barely used to see. Caroline is welcomed by Pattie, who likes to talk about her love affairs with the local men to anyone who’ll listen. While the whole valley gets ready for the traditional mid-summer dance, Caroline’s mother’s corpse mysteriously disappears.
• Bastille Day (2016)
Directed by James Watkins
Genre: Action, Thriller
Running time: 104 minutes/1hr. 45 minutes
Michael Mason is an American pickpocket living in Paris who finds himself on the top of the CIA’s most-wanted list when he steals a bag that contains more than just a wallet. Sean Briar, the field agent on the case, soon realizes that Michael is just a pawn in a much bigger game and decides to recruit him in order to uncover the source of a large-scale conspiracy. A race against time ensures, in which the two men discover they are both targets and must rely on each other to take down a powerful organization.
• Geronimo (2014)
Directed by Tony Gatlif
Running time: 104 minutes/1hr. 44 minutes
South of France. In the sultry August heat, Geronimo, a young social educator, tries to ease tensions between the youngsters of the neighborhood of St. Pierre. The mood changes when Nil Terzi, a teenage girl of Turkish origin, flees an arranged marriage, running to the arms of her gypsy lover, Lucky Molina. Their escape sparks hostilities between the two clans. When the jousting and the musical battles begin, Geronimo struggles to quell the ensuing unrest around her.
• Jamais de la vie/The Night Watchman (2014)
Directed by Pierre Jolivet
Running time: 95 minutes/1hr. 35 minutes
Franck, in his early fifties, is a night watchman in a suburban mall. Ten years ago, he was a skilled worker and union delegate, always on the bridge, always ready to fight for workers’ rights. Today, he’s a man who’s resigned himself to being a spectator of his own life – and it’s boring. One night, he notices an SUV idling in the parking lot and senses that something is afoot. Curiosity makes him shake off his indifference and he decides to intervene. It’s an opportunity for him take control of his life once again.
• Je suis un soldat/I Am a Soldier (2015)
Directed by Laurent Larivière
Running time: 97 minutes/1hr. 37 minutes
Thirty-year-old Sandrine is forced to return to live with her mother in Roubaix. Without a job, she accepts to work for her uncle in his kennels, which turns out to be a hub for trafficking dogs from Eastern Europe. She rapidly takes control in this male universe, wins the men’s respect, and starts earning the money lacking from her freedom. But sometimes, good soldiers cease to obey.
• L’Ombre des femmes/In the Shadow of Women (2015)
Directed by Philippe Garrel
Genre: Drama, Romance
Running time: 73 minutes/1hr. 13 minutes
Pierre and Manon are poor. They make documentary films without a cent and they get by with odd jobs. Pierre meets a young intern, Elisabeth, and she becomes his mistress. But Pierre doesn’t want to leave Manon for Elisabeth – he wants to keep them both. One day Elisabeth, Pierre’s young mistress, discovers that Manon, Pierre’s wife, has a lover. And she tells Pierre… Pierre focuses his attention on Manon once again, because she’s the one he loved. And because he feels betrayed, he beseeches Manon and neglects Elisabeth. Manon breaks off with her lover right away. There’s a good chance she does so because she loves Pierre.
• Le Dernier diamant/The Last Diamond (2014)
Directed by Eric Barbier
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Running time: 108 minutes/1hr. 48 minutes
Simon, a thief released on parole, accepts to carry out the biggest job of his life, which is to steal the “Florentin,” a mythical diamond being auctioned by its owners. To succeed, he must get close to Julia, a diamond expert, for whom the sale is of considerable personal importance. Beyond the boldly daring theft, Simon will lead Julia toward a destiny that she could never have imagined.
• Les Chevaliers blancs/The White Knights (2016)
Directed by Joachim Lafosse
Running time: 112 minutes/1hr. 52 minutes
Jacques Arnault, head of Sud Secours NGO, is planning a high impact operation: he and his team are going to exfiltrate 300 orphan victims of the Chadian civil war and bring them to French adoption applicants. Françoise Dubois, a journalist, is invited to come along with them and handle the media coverage for this operation. Completely immersed in the brutal reality of a country at war, the NGO members start losing their convictions and are faced with the limits of humanitarian intervention.
• Les Malheurs de Sophie/Sophie’s Misfortunes (2016)
Directed by Christophe Honoré
Running time: 106 minutes/1hr. 46 minutes
From her castle, young Sophie can’t resist the temptation of the forbidden, and what she loves most of all is to get up to no-good with her cousin, Paul. When her parents decide to go to Amercia, Sophie is delighted. A year later, she’s back in France with her horrible stepmother, Madame Fichini. But Sophie will be able to count on her two friends, model little girls, and their mother, Madame de Fleurville, to escape from her stepmother’s clutches.
• Nocturama (2016)
Directed by Bertrand Bonello
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Running time: 130 minutes/2hrs. 10 minutes
Paris, one morning. A group of young people from different backgrounds. They launch into a strange ballet in the metro tunnels and the city’s streets. They seem to follow a plan. Their gestures are precise, almost dangerous. They converge towards the same point, a department store, at the moment it is about to shut. Night begins.
• Personal Shopper (2016)
Directed by Olivier Assayas
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Running time: 105 minutes/1hr. 45 minutes
Maureen is a young American woman in Paris making her living as a personal shopper for Kyra, a celebrity. Also, Maureen may have the psychic ability to communicate with spirits, just like her twin brother, Lewis, who recently passed away. She soon starts receiving ambiguous messages coming from an unknown source.
• Tour de France (2016)
Directed by Rachid Djaïdani
Synopsis: 95 minutes/1hr. 35 minutes
Far’Hook is a twenty-year-old rapper. Following a settling of scores, he’s obliged to leave Paris and lay low for a while. His producer, Bilal, suggests that Far’Hook take his place in accompanying his father, Serge, on a tour of all the ports of France, following the path taken by the painter Joseph Vernet. Despite the shock between generations and different cultures, an improbable friendship develops between the promising rapper and this builder from the Northern France during an adventure that will lead them to Marseille for a final concert, one of reconciliation.
• Un château en Italie/A Castle in Italy (2013)
Directed by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Running time: 104 minutes/1hr. 45 minutes
A woman encounters a man. Her dreams resurface. It’s also the story of her sick brother, and of their mother, a story about the destiny of a rich Italian industrialist family. It’s the story of a family falling apart, of the end of an era, and of a budding romance.
The 22nd French Film Festival will run from June 9 until the 17th in GreenBelt 3 and Bonifacio High Street cinemas. Admission per film will be at P100 only.