04In Back To Burgundy, the characters spend a lot of time making wine, drinking wine, and arguing over making and drinking wine.
But this family drama also finds space to ponder on the redeeming power of forgiveness and reconciliation. It tells its story without much fanfare, with the exception of a rather feisty female lead.
So if it is theatrics you are after, there might be other options to consider. After all, there are a total of 16 French movies to choose from, almost all new releases from the past two years.
The film festival segment of the highly-anticipated annual Le French Festival offers an eclectic selection of comedy, drama, horror, historical fiction and animation titles this year.
It will kick off in three Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) in Klang Valley (GSC Pavilion KL, Mid Valley and 1Utama) from April 12 to 29, before touring Penang (GSC Gurney Plaza; May 3 to 13), Johor Baru (GSC Paradigm JB; May 10 to 13) for the first time ever, and Kota Kinabalu (GSC Suria Sabah; May 17 to 20).
“Most of the movies will be shown for the first time in Malaysia. We have selected the best, or the most popular, of French cinema in recent years for this festival. The Return Of The Hero, for instance, was just released in France (in Feb),” says Jacques Bounin, director of Alliance Francaise Kuala Lumpur.
Frederic Laplanche, the ambassador of France to Malaysia, waxes lyrical about this year’s festival, drawing parallels to the country and culture it draws inspiration from.
“Through Le French Festival, we have been sharing the diversity of French culture with an ever-growing number of Malaysians. The story of this festival is like the story of France, a country with a long and rich history which also wants to create, innovate and hopefully surprise you,” he says.
Le French Festival, now in its 17th edition, is organised by Alliance Francaise and the Embassy of France in Malaysia, and presented by Martell.
Its programme includes music and theatre, photography, workshops, as well as food and drinks tasting sessions. The film festival segment, however, remains its main draw.
Alliance Francaise and Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) are giving Star2 readers in Klang Valley and Penang 400 complimentary passes to redeem movie tickets to selected French Film Festival films. Coupon to redeem free passes is available in Star2 today (April 4).
Here’s a look at this year’s French Film Festival:
Dans La Foret (Into The Forest)
Two boys visit their father in his house deep in the woods where something terrifying lurks.
Le Fils De Jean (A Kid)
Mathieu has a father he does not know, and now he finds out that he is not welcomed at the funeral.
Patients (Step By Step)
Based on French slam poet Grand Corps Malade’s autobiographical novel, this is the story of Ben, who is newly-disabled and struggling to cope.
How dare they say he’s out of touch? Forty-something-year-old actor Guillaume Canet is determined to do whatever it takes to be cool again.
L’Atelier (The Workshop)
An unemployed young man finds himself through a writing workshop in unexpectedly violent ways.
Rich teenager Suzanne wants in on the dangerous cliff diving activity she sees the other kids do.
A former soldier of WWI tries to escape his past… but in vain.
Demain Tout Commence (Two Is A Family)
Swinging bachelor Samuel meets the daughter he never knew he had.
Le Sens De La Fête (C’est La Vie!)
From the folks behind The Intouchables (2011) comes this tale of Max, head of a catering company, handling a wedding event that is spiralling out of control.
Ce Qui Nous Lie (Back To Burgundy)
A family emergency brings Jean back to his hometown and family vineyard.
Le Retour Du Heros (Return Of The Hero)
The great seducer, Captain Neuville, asks for the hand of young Pauline, who has a sister impervious to his charms.
Brilliant jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt’s life takes a turn for the worse during the war.
Polina, Danser Sa Vie (Polina)
A young Russian ballerina is torn between her classical art and a more upbeat, contemporary option.
Le Grand Mechant Renard Et Autres Contes (Big Bad Fox And Other Tales)
A few short and fun stories here, one being about a fox who steals eggs to eat, but ends up getting attached to the newborn chicks.
Otez-Moi D’un Doute (Just To Be Sure)
A man sets out to find his biological father and ends up with a lot more.
Les Tuche 3 (The Magic Tuche)
With the American Dream firmly in their past, the Tuche family returns to France, and Jeff decides to run for president.
Visit lefrenchfestival.com.my for details on Le French Festival (April 12 to May 20). The film festival segment runs from April 12-29 in Klang Valley, May 3-13 in Penang, May 10-13 in Johor Baru and May 17-20 in Kota Kinabalu. Tickets can be purchased at the prevailing GSC box office price starting April 5. All film festival movies are screened in French with English subtitles. Go to www.gsc.com.my for screening times and ticket purchase.