French film festival goes high-tech for Hollywood

The world's largest festival of French film hits Hollywood this month with an innovative line-up embracing the latest technology to showcase the best of the country's filmmaking talent.

French film festival goes high-tech for Hollywood
A scene from 'The Paris Opera'. Photo: Colcoa
COLCOA is offering a record 82 films, television series and shorts, many never seen before in the United States, as well as a handful of international premieres and, for the first time, a web series segment.
There will also be a new “virtual reality corner,” said executive producer Francois Truffart, offering an ever more diverse array of formats for enjoying French production.
“While entertainment is still the key word for the program, with a balanced mix of comedies and dramas, several topical issues will cut across all the programs this year, including the environment, discrimination and racism, terrorism, as well as the role of artists and women in society,” said Truffart.
COLCOA is nothing if not glamorous and big international names once again sprinkle stardust on the festival in contemporary movies and special screenings of some golden oldies.
The nine-day festival at the Directors Guild of America theater complex in Los Angeles opens on April 24 with the North American premiere of Oscar-winning winning filmmaker Claude Lelouch's “Everyone's Life.”
Celebrating a half-decade of cinema, the movie features a high-profile cast of 50 French actors, including Johnny Hallyday — often described as “France's Elvis” — Christophe Lambert, Beatrice Dalle and Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin.
Ecstatic ode 
Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient,” “Ghost in the Shell”) stars in “Polina,” a love-letter to the world of ballet, and “Slack Bay,” Bruno Dumont's savage comedy of manners about France's class divide.
Fans will also be able to see her iconic turn in Leos Carax's ecstatic ode to doomed romance, “The Lovers on the Bridge” (1991).
Elsewhere, Omar Sy (“Jurassic World,” “Inferno”) tackles the ups and downs of fatherhood in the North American premiere of “Two is a Family,” a remake of the 2013 Mexican smash “Instructions Not Included.”
The line-up features new work from established filmmakers including Marco Bellocchio (“Sweet Dreams”), Nicolas Boukhrief (“The Confession”), Philippe Lachaud (“”) and Dany Boon (“R.A.I.D. Special Unit”).
There are also newcomers like Nicolas Bedos (“Mr and Mrs Adelman”), Morgan Simon (“Taste the Ink)” and Emmanuel Courcol (“Ceasefire”), and appearances of French stars such as Patrick Bruel and Lambert Wilson.
With the French presidential election entering the final stretch and the US still reeling from the rise of Donald Trump, the political flavor of many entrants should resonate on both sides of the Atlantic.
These include the three-part documentary “Why Do They Hate Us?,” which takes an unflinching look at racism in France from the perspective of Arab, black and Jewish filmmakers.
In “Nadia,” Swiss filmmaker Lea Fazier departs from her comedy wheelhouse to look at the growing problem of personal indebtedness through the fictional portrayal of a compulsive shopaholic.
New generation
Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar's “Heaven Will Wait” tells the disturbing stories of two middle-class teenage girls who fall prey to recruiters from the Islamic State group.
Meanwhile, actress Benedicte Delmas' directing debut “Plessis' Girls” sheds light on a little-known chapter of the struggle for women's rights in France and is one of a number of entries dealing with gender politics.
Alongside the movies, a bigger-than-ever television competition features 11 international and domestic premieres.    
Among the highlights is the premiere outside France of the second season of “Call My Agent,” a comedy about the madcap world of talent agents which proved to be the country's most popular series of 2015.
“Baron Noir,” about an ambitious political operator with eyes on becoming the next head of the Socialist Party, gets its North American bow.    
“Midnight Sun,” from Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, the creative duo behind “The Bridge” and co-directors of “Underworld: Awakening,” brings some welcome Nordic noir to the proceedings.
Some 70 films and television shows are competing for a slew of honors, including the audience award, best documentary, best TV movie, critics award and critics special prize.
The work of Oscar-winning “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle, whose father is French, will be highlighted and there will be an homage to the legendary filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville.
Reflecting the rise of a new generation of indie and studio producers and filmmakers who have made the internet a format in its own right, COLCOA's web series section offers six productions ranging from documentaries to fantasy, drama and comedy.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.