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The Gaul Of It All: The 23rd French Film Festival

For two decades and some years now, June in Manila means the French Film Festival is in town; and it’s always been a godsend for local cinephiles and lovers of world cinema. As French Ambassador Nicolas Galey expounded on, ‘Among the aims of French cultural diplomacy is to promote cultural diversity through cinema. In the Philippines, the French Film Festival has been giving the Filipino public a glimpse of French culture and society for 23 years.



And this year, for its 23rd edition (June 6 -12, 2018), the French Film Festival will be screening 22 films, that embody the diversity and creativity of French filmmakers. This year, the line-up includes Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper which stars Kirsten Stewart (Official Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2016), La Priere (The Prayer) (Silver Bear for Best Actor, Berlin Film Festival 2018), and the Jazz biopic Django (Opening Film, Berlin Film Festival 2017). 


Kirsten Stewart in "Personal Shopper"


Biopic of legendary Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt?


Pierre Niney as Yves Saint Laurent


Historical dramas are represented by such films as Cezanne et Moi—about the volatile friendship between painter Paul Cezanne and writer Emile Zola, and there’s Yves Saint Laurent, with Pierre Niney’s highly regarded interpretation of the troubled fashion genius. And for those who really want an education in French Cinema, there’s Bertrand Tavernier’s enriching documentary, Voyage a Travers le Cinema Francais (A Journey Through French Cinema).


A scene from "Cezanne et Moi"


A comedy to look out for would be the metacinema Rock’n Roll where director/actor Guillaume Canet and real life partner Marion Cotillard play themselves for fun and humour. For those who love ballet, there’s Polina, Danser sa Vie, about a girl who trains with the fabled Bolshoi, but through love with a French male dancer, embarks on a journey to establish a new form of dance. 


Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard in "Rock’n Roll"


The retrospective this year is dedicated to Jean-Pierre Melville, regarded as one of the pioneers of the French film noir and new wave. The careers of such a French film icons as Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo owe much to their films with Melville. 

You can head to the FFF website for the schedule of films —this year, besides Greenbelt 3, and Bonifacio High Street Cinemas, they’ve added UP Town Center Cinemas. And later in the month, June 21 and 22, the Festival travels to Abreeza Mall, Davao, and On June 25 to 27, at Ayala Center Cebu. 


See you at the Cinemas!