Francophiles rejoice! The season of enchanting French film is upon us. Indulge yourself in the best of contemporary French cinema at the world’s largest showcase of French film outside of France, The 2023 Alliance Française French Film Festival.
From March 7th to April 25th transport yourself to the buzzing banks of the Seine or to the winding country lanes in the South of France. Stepping into the spotlight of this years program are leading ladies Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Virginie Efira, Léa Seyoux and Laure Calamy.
“We can’t wait for festivalgoers to experience our most eclectic line-up to-date of the best contemporary French cinema. The 2023 programme will offer something for everyone, whether it be the hilarity of a meta-zombie comedy, tragic journeys with gripping consequences or adventures of l’Amour in all its forms,” says the programs Artistic Director, Karine Mauris.
Read our hand-picked recommendations of the must-see films to watch below.
Set in 1974, the film follows Annie (played by Call My Agent! star Laure Calamy) as she joins an illegal abortion network in France. An important and impassioned tale of the historical fight for freedom, the film also serves as a warning of how things could be, following a year threatened by the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US. While the film centres on the discourse around women’s reproductive rights, it also explores female sexual liberation and showcases the power of the sisterhood and community.
It’s been seven years since the abhorrent Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015. As the city rebuilds itself in the aftermath, award-winning director Cédric Jimenez peels back the curtain on the tireless efforts of the investigators working in the French anti-terrorism services. “I spoke with a lot of officers who worked [on the case]. What they described to me was complete chaos, fear and pressure. I tried to translate what they felt to the screen,” says Jimenez of his high-intensity drama. “When they talk about [that day], even seven years later, they are still traumatised.”
Other People’s Children
Inspired by her own experience of raising the children of others, acclaimed director Rebecca Zlotowski explores the delicacy of life as a childless stepmother. “I was a 40-year-old woman who was child free and I was raising other people’s children for a long time.
I could not find a film with this type of protagonist. So I conceived the film,” says Zlotowski. When it came to changing the narrative of the miserable, unfulfilled childless woman, Zlotowski said it was “very important to depict a character who was not bitter but already led a very fulfilled life”.
One Fine Morning
Sandra (played by Léa Seydoux) is everywoman: a mother, a daughter, a friend, a lover and a carer. Balancing the needs of her deteriorating father, her eight-year-old daughter and her unavailable lover, director Mia Hansen-Løve poetically unravels the sublime in the everyday. “I connected with the character’s inner life,” said Seydoux. “I’m trying to play more characters that receive a lot from the outside world, rather than generate an impulse.”
Alliance Française Film Festival 2023 is screening at select cinemas around Australia from March 7 to April 25. Visit affrenchfilmfestival.org