Alliance Francaise French Film Festival


French Film Festival 2022

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Lost Illusions (Illusions Perdues) OPENING NIGHT

Thursday 19th May, 7pm

An all-star cast dazzles in the spectacular and exhilarating new film by Xavier Giannoli (Marguerite, AF FFF16; The Singer, AF FFF13), an adaptation of Balzac’s classic novel about a young idealist who learns that anything can be bought and sold.

1821. Handsome poet Lucien (Benjamin Voisin - Moving On and Summer of 85, AF FFF21 - in a star-making turn) is poor, but highly ambitious. Failing to make a name for himself in his provincial hometown, he naively follows his married patroness (a radiant Cécile de France) to the glamorous beau monde of Paris.

But Lucien has entered a society far more dangerous than he realised, and the venomous denizens of the salons (brought to life by a superb ensemble including Jeanne Balibar, Gérard Depardieu and Xavier Dolan) conspire to keep him out of their ranks. Lucien is forced to abandon his principles and find work at a low-brow newspaper, where his scathing critiques soon cause a sensation and arouse the interest of admirers and publishers. But in a society where profit and status rule, what is really left for Lucien?

Epic in scope and impact, Lost Illusions is an eerily prescient fable bracingly attuned to the anxieties of the modern media age. This is grand French cinema at its most lavish, and finest.

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La Traviata, My Bothers and I (Mes Frères et moi)

Firday 20th May, 7pm


In his feature debut, French filmmaker Yohan Manca breaks down the barriers and preconceptions surrounding art and culture with a touching story of hope, chance and overcoming adversity.

La Traviata, My Brothers and I, tells the story of 14-year-old Nour (Maël Rouin-Berrandou), growing up in a housing project in the South of France, with his older brothers, who take turns caring for their ailing mother, who is in a coma.

Nour dreams of becoming the new Luciano Pavarotti, inspired by La Traviata, an opera he knows well because his Italian father wooed his North African mother by singing its arias to her. Between his work in the community and rising tensions at home, Nour dreams of escaping to a faraway place. When he crosses paths with Sarah (Judith Chemla, A Woman’s Life, AF FFF17), an opera singer teaching summer classes, he finally finds the opportunity to come out of his shell and explore new horizons.

Avoiding clichés, the filmmaker – with the help of cinematographer Marco Graziaplena – captures the siblings through a lens influenced by Italian cinema of the 1960s and 70s and adeptly presents an inspiring slice-of-life film filled with tender, touching moments.

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Hear me Out (On est fait pour s'entendre)

Friday 20th May, 9.15pm


“I made a movie about being hard of hearing because I lost some hearing several years ago. I decided to make a comedy on this subject.” - Pascal Elbé.

This romantic comedy is centered around Antoine (Pascal Elbé, Knock, AF FFF18) a history professor in his early 50s, who discovers he is losing his hearing. Unable to own up to his disability and his attempts to disguise it only resulting in those around him finding his behaviour increasingly odd, he resigns himself to living in his bubble. An encounter with Claire, a widow whose daughter is mute, gives him the strength to open up to the world again.

In addition to being behind the camera, Pascal Elbé plays the main character in this very personal film. For his third movie as a director, he surrounds himself with a strong cast: Sandrine Kiberlain (French Tech, AF FFF22), François Berléand (How to Be a Good Wife, AF FFF20), Valérie Donzelli (Notre Dame, AF FFF20), to name a few.

This well-rounded cast of Hear Me Out delivers a touching exploration of the risks and rewards of revealing our vulnerabilities and that shows there’s no shame in asking for help. Dealing with the universal themes of change, difference, and communication, Elbé explores the lighter side of understanding one’s self and in turn being understood.

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Farewall Mr Haffmann (Adieu Monsieur Haffman)

Saturday 21st May, 7pm

The legendary Daniel Auteuil gives one of his most superlative screen performances in the gripping new film from writer/director Fred Cavayé, based on the celebrated, multi–Molière Award-winning play.

Occupied Paris, 1941: Jews are instructed to identify themselves by wearing a yellow star. Jeweller Joseph Haffmann (Auteuil), fearing the worst, arranges for his family to flee the city and offers his employee François Mercier (Lellouche) the chance to take over his store until the conflict subsides. But his own attempts to escape are thwarted, and Haffmann is forced to seek his assistant’s protection.

It’s a risky proposition for both men, and one that Mercier’s wife Blanche (a wonderful Sara Giraudeau) is sceptical of. As the couple move in to the Haffmann home, the agreement turns into a Faustian bargain that will forever change the fate of all…

Cavayé masterfully guides the viewer through the world of Vichy France, where lives are irrevocably shaped by the twin scourges of war and the black market. Rich in moral complexity and empathy, with several twists too good to spoil, this is one of the Festival’s major highlights. It’s a must-see.

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Everything Went Fine (Tout s'est bien passe)

Saturday 21st May, 9.15pm

Adapted from Emmanuèle Bernheim’s memoir, Everything Went Well, Director François Ozon (Summer of 85, AF FFF21) delivers a powerful drama which tackles the sensitive and complex issue of the right to die with dignity.

When André (André Dussolier, Of Love and Lies, AF FFF20), 85, has a stroke, Emmanuelle (Sophie Marceau, Chance Encounter and Sex, Love & Therapy, AF FFF15) hurries to her father’s bedside. Sick and half-paralysed in his hospital bed, he asks Emmanuelle to help him end his life. But can you honour such a request from your own father?

What follows is a deeply human take on a difficult subject. Despite what is still a taboo topic in France, this film treads lightly, offering poignant light-hearted scenes that will make you laugh but also bring tears to your eyes.

This bittersweet, witty drama cleverly reveals the complexities of family dynamics. Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, Everything Went Fine is one of François Ozon’s most beautifully crafted films to date. Sophie Marceau has never been better alongside a simply masterful André Dussollier.

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