The Alliance Française French Film Festival is underway for its 2018 season. Now in its 29th year, the films on offer vary from romantic dramas to twisted thrillers to the strangest sci-fi you've ever seen. I quizzed the festival’s Artistic Director, Philippe Platel, about his top six picks in this year’s line-up, and why the event seems to keep going from strength to strength.
Philippe believes the festival has run for three decades because it has a little something for everyone. “The French film industry strength is based a big diversity of genres,” he says. “Everyone can find a suitable match, from the comedy and blockbusters lover to the most avid cinema buff. The Alliance Française French Film Festival reflects this diversity every year, and particularly this year.”
Finding a balance between box office successes and film festival darlings is very important to Philippe. “We have to find a balance between genres, period, countryside, art house, dramas, comedies,” he explains. “And of course when there is a UFO, it is always interesting to show it, like [Serge] Bozon’s Mrs Hyde with Isabelle Huppert, which is among the rare French sci-fi films. I attach a great importance to the exposure given to the young generation of artists as well, actors and filmmakers.”
In addition to a great collection of the latest French cinema, this year’s festival also features an LGBTQI+ strand, showcasing the country’s best queer films to celebrate the recent same-sex marriage laws in Australia. “I’m excited by the first LGBTQI strand we could build, with seven films among which the Grand Prix in Cannes ‘BPM (Beats Per Minute)’ which is the flagship of this section,” Philippe told me. “I’m very happy to announce that we launched a $13.50 ticket for students for weekdays screenings before 4:30pm. We want to encourage the young generations to come to cinemas for the Festival.”
So what does the man responsible for the films in this year’s festival recommend for those perhaps unfamiliar with French cinema? His top six films include the previously mentioned ‘BPM’, as well as ‘The Workshop’, ‘Custody’, ‘See You Up There’, ‘Barbara’ and ‘Ava’. “I think these films will give the audiences much more than what they expect,” Philippe reveals. “They have a permanent impact on your emotions, they are thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time. They represent what cinema is for: change your gaze on the world, history, humanity and your life. They make you feel a better person. They are sincere and generous. But there are many other films achieving these missions in the line-up!”
His top six films include the previously mentioned ‘BPM’, as well as ‘The Workshop’, ‘Custody’, ‘See You Up There’, ‘Barbara’ and ‘Ava’.
For your chance to see the full list of films on offer at this year’s Alliance Française French Film Festival, head to www.affrenchfilmfestival.org. You can also find a collection of our reviews for this year’s line-up at the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2018 mini-site.