Now in its 14th year in Malaysia, the annual French Art and Film Festival (FAFF) returns from May 14 to June 16 with a colourful line-up of events, including a photography exhibition, dance and music performances by visiting French artistes, and gastronomical delights.
The film festival, a cornerstone of the FAFF, offers 15 recent releases in French cinema – including comedies, dramas, two documentaries and an animated film – many of which have swept awards at various festivals.
Last year’s FAFF attracted some 8,000 spectators, including 6,000 viewers for the film festival alone.
“Every year we strive to compile a selection of films that offer an insight into French cinema, as well as French culture and society. The selection this year comprises 15 films, many of them comedies, which are highly appreciated by Malaysian audiences,” says Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur director Jean-Pierre Dumont at a press conference ahead of the FAFF opening ceremony.
The annual festival is organised by Alliance Française and the Embassy of France in Malaysia, and supported by the Institut Français.
Martell, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year, is returning as the presenting sponsor.
Here’s a quick look at the films featured in this year’s French film festival.
> Attila Marcel (comedy, 104 min): Paul is amnesiac and mute, and leads a calm and tedious life with his two aunts. He has an eccentric neighbour who is in possession of an herbal tea recipe capable of triggering one’s deepest memories. With her help, Paul will discover the mysteries of his childhood.
> Age of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kohlhaas (drama, 122 min): A morally upright horse dealer gone rogue because of an injustice served by a lord. He raises an army, and uses fire and sword, in an attempt to restore his rights.
> Bright Days Ahead (drama/romance, 94 min): Caroline finds retirement … boring? Then, she reluctantly checks out her neighbourhood’s senior club, where other people check her out – like that young computer science teacher.
> Playing Dead (comedy, 105 min): A burlesque comedy revolving around a bad-tempered actor who takes on a strange task: to play the role of the dead person in re-enactments of crime scenes.
> The French Minister (comedy, 113 min): Arthur, a young graduate, is hired to write the speeches of the minister of foreign affairs.
> Nine Months Stretch (comedy, 82 min): Oscillating between dark humour and absurdity, this is the story of a 40-year-old judge, a single woman, who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. The father of the child? A man who is prosecuted for assault.
> 2 Autumns, 3 Winters (comedy, 93 min): A love story in Paris spanning five seasons. Arman decides to start running and he crosses paths with the cynical Amélie.
> My Mommy Is In America And She Met Buffalo Bill (animation, 75 min): Jean’s mother tells him travel stories via postcards, creating wonderful images in his head. A cartoon based on a comic book, with voices by Julie Depardieu and Marc Lavoine.
> Playground Chronicles (comedy/drama, 85 min): The story of the hopes and dreams of a boy growing up in the early 1980s.
> Lulu In The Nude (drama, 87 min): Following a failed job interview, Lulu leaves for the seaside town of Vendée in her quest for change and freedom.
> The Finishers (drama, 86 min): What unfolds when a handicapped young man invites his father to compete with him in the Iron Man Of Nice?
> Serial (Bad) Weddings (comedy, 98 min): Their three daughters have gotten married, in succession, to a Muslim, a Jew, and a Chinese man. And now they pin their hopes and dreams on their fourth daughter, who has announced that she is tying the knot soon.
> Oceans (documentary, 105 min): What goes on under the sea? Come on a journey with Jacques Perrin as his voice accompanies you in your discovery of some amazing sea creatures.
> Beauty & The Beast (fantasy, 114 min): An old merchant unwittingly plucks a rose belonging to a mysterious beast who lives secluded in his great castle. He is condemned to death, but then his daughter, Belle, makes the ultimate sacrifice.
> Amazonia (adventure, 83 min): After a plane crash, a small monkey born in captivity finds himself alone and lost in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. He will have to protect himself from the merciless ferocity of the natural world, one that is strange and wonderful, but also hostile.
Visit www.faff.com.my for more information on the French Art and Film Festival that runs from today till June 16. Note that the film festival portion runs from today till May 31 in Klang Valley, and from June 4 till June 14 in Penang. All movies in French will be screened with English subtitles. Check out www.gsc.com.my for screening times.