Over 50 French films from the last 12 months will screen in Brisbane for the upcoming 2018 Alliance Française French Film Festival.
French stars such as Juliette Binoche, Vincent Cassel, Vanessa Paradis, Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu will be showcased in the festival’s lineup from this Thursday (March 8) at Palace Cinemas in Brisbane.
“The 2018 50-film lineup is sprinkled with humour ‘à la Française’, as well as compelling and multi-award winning films,” the festival’s artistic director Philippe Platel said.
“Courage, generosity, equality and team spirit are all strong recurring themes that show the unyielding spirit of unity in France today.
“Keep curious and open-minded when watching these films –they will both delight and surprise you with great cinematography and unexpected storylines.”
See five of the festival’s highlights for queer filmgoers below:
4 Days In France
In an unexpectedly tender fashion, 4 Days in France follows Pierre (Pascal Cervo) on a sentimental journey that lasts less than a week, starting on the day he wakes up and leaves his partner Paul (Arthur Igual), jumping behind the wheel of his Alfa Romeo to travel through France.
With no particular destination in mind, Pierre relies on Grindr to arrange his ‘liaisons’ along the way but, unbeknownst to him, Paul is also using the app to keep track of Pierre’s movements. After four days and nights of random hookups– sexual and otherwise – will the two find each other again? With the undulating mountains of provincial France as aromantic backdrop, this film offers an insight into how gay men living outside urban centres navigate their sexuality. An eclectic cast – including Nathalie Richard and Lætitia Dosch, add colour to Pierre’s travails.
QNews Magazine’s film critic Peter Gray said, “The friend and foe to gay men the world over aka Grindr, that sex-fuelled app that acts as the community’s easiest and harshest commodity, plays a large role in 4 Days in France.
“At over 2 and a half hours, Jérôme Reybaud’s queer road movie is ultimately a far deeper product than one may expect given its premise. The familiar ring tone of Grindr’s incoming message acts acts as a running joke throughout, but the greatest strength of this film lies in its refusal to be a “message movie” even though it offers subtle responses to issues addressed throughout.”
Seen through the prism of the ACT UP movement in 1990s Paris, this film passionately illuminates the fight for social acceptance by people living with HIV in the face of drug manufacturers reluctant to expedite treatment breakthroughs. Nathan (Arnaud Valois) joins ACT UP and is drawn to the radical and somewhat militant Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), a 20-something man living with HIV. As their relationship develops, and Sean’s condition deteriorates, BPM evolves from documentary-style to intimate drama in a way that has captured the hearts of audiences across France. Writer-director Robin Campillo draws on his own ACT UP experiences to imbue BPM with a sensuous depiction of the compromised–but still active–sex lives of the group.
Debut feature documentarian Christian Sonderegger travelled from France to America’s midwest with precise ideas as to how he would record his half-brother’s gender change. What he didn’t expect was the story that would emerge around family, and how something that was vital to one family member could lead the others into soul searching. Coby–as was Jacob’s transitioning name–was 23 and partnered with Sara when he decided to take testosterone pills in his first step to becoming male. Surgery came next, as did cutting his hair short. With a world of YouTube viewers watching Coby emerge from his gender chrysalis, those closest to him arguably underwent the more radical change–a change of perspective.
Visually confronting and indisputably provocative, Double Lover is the latest addition to the sexually charged oeuvre of the polarising and prolific François Ozon. Former model Chloé (Marine Vacth) falls in love with her psychoanalyst, Paul (Jérémie Renier,) while seeking counselling for sexual dysfunction. As their relationship develops, Chloé discovers her lover is hiding an insidious part of his identity that forces her to confront not only her most deeply buried secrets but also her darkest, most compelling desires. Reality and fantasy distort as their entanglement tightens and threatens to send them both over the edge. Calling to mind world cinema’s more divisive psychosexual thrillers–such as Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (1988) and Louis Malle’s Damage (1992)–Double Lover oozes with a distinctly Ozon ‘je ne sais quoi’. Right from its attention grabbing opening sequence, this film delivers abundantly in its promise of being an electrifyingly twisted, erotic thriller.
Diane Has The Right Shape
Can you separate your mind from your belly? That’s the question Diane (Clotilde Hesme) must ask herself when she agrees– a little too quickly – to be the surrogate mother for her best friends, Jacques (Grégory Monte) and Thomas (Thomas Suire). There is a flippancy to Diane that is put to the test when she falls for a visiting electrician, Fabrizio (Fabrizio Rongione). It is only then she realises her body is as much the property of Thomas and Jacques as it is her own. What starts here as a quirky dramedy gets increasingly tense as the moral stakes are raised. However, rather than take a stance on the rights or wrongs of surrogacy, Gorgeart uses his allegory to explore how a seemingly ‘ideal’ situation can become confrontational with new and unanticipated emotional states.
The Alliance Française French Film Festival will run from March 8 until April 4 at Palace Cinemas in Brisbane. For the full lineup and tickets, visit the website here.