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Why does the French seaside town Dinard host an annual British film festival?

Sam Bradpiece
Sam Bradpiece - [email protected]
Why does the French seaside town Dinard host an annual British film festival?
The Dinard Festival du Film Britannique is a must-see event in northwestern France. (Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP)

The French town of Dinard, nestled on the northern coast of Brittany, will host its annual edition of its British film festival this week.

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The Dinard Festival du Film Britannique (Dinard British Film Festival) will open for its 43rd edition on September 27th and run until October 1st.

Thousands of cinephiles are expected to descend on the small seaside town Dinard, in Brittany, northwestern France for a big-screen bonanza of British films. 

In the past, classics such as The Full Monty and Billy Elliott have picked up prizes but recently, the emphasis is on independent films and filmmakers hoping to break into the European market. 

Among the 2023 entries are Silent Roar (Johnny Barrington), Girl (Adura Onashile), Silver Haze (Sacha Polak) and Scrapper (Charlotte Regan) - alongside a host of short films. 

The top prize, is known as the Hitchcock d'Or - a nod to the legendary British director, Alfred Hitchcock. 

 

Why is this happening in Dinard? 

In the 19th Century, British aristocrats developed a taste for sea-bathing as a therapeutic practice believing it was good for both mind and body. 

Attracted by its beautiful beaches, cliffs and mild climate, many of them began gravitating towards Dinard for their holidays, constructing large villas and contributing to the expansion of the town. This Victorian-inspired architectural legacy is still clear today and many refer to Dinard as 'one of the most British' of all the French seaside towns. 

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While many wealthy Brits now prefer to head further south to places like the Côte d'Azure for their holidays, Dinard and Brittany more generally, retains a significant British population. 

The Dinard Festival du Film Britannique was first set up in 1989 by a local cinéphile named Thierry de la Fournière who said in a previous interview that the idea came to him as a way to "wake up the town". 

"The British dimension of Dinard made it obvious [what kind of festival to put on]," he said. 

Over the years visits from stars like Hugh Grant, Daniel Craig, Catherine Deneuve and Monica Bellucci have added to the event's prestige. 

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Practical info 

It is possible to travel to Dinard by train from elsewhere in Brittany, as well as from Paris and Lille. The town is served by a small airport but there are no direct flights from the UK - only Ireland (Shannon, Cork and Dublin). It is however possible to fly to Saint-Malo, which is just a half hour car journey from Dinard, from the UK. 

Viewings take place in various venues throughout Dinard and are accompanied by French subtitles. 

A full schedule and tickets (with some viewings for as little as 5 euros) are available here

Visitors can also sign up to free guided visits of the scenic town, beginning at 10h, 14h and 16h each day from the Palais des arts. 

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