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Israel’s French Film Festival celebrates 18th anniversary

CM 12/05/2021 3

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 The French Film Festival will march on – to borrow an expression from “La Marseillaise” – at cinematheques around the country, starting on May 20 and continuing until June 6.

It’s the 18th anniversary of this festival, and during this lucky year audiences at the cinematheques in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Herzliya, Holon, Sderot and Rosh Pina, and at the culture hall in Savyon, can see over 20 of the best contemporary French movies at in-person screenings. Most of the films have English subtitles as well as Hebrew.
The opening night movie will be Bye Bye Morons (Adieu les Cons), a rare comedy that won the César Award (the French equivalent of the Oscars), as well as the awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
It stars Virginie Efira, one of the most popular actresses in French cinema, as a woman who is seriously ill and who searches for her long-lost child with the help of two appealing misfits.
It was directed by, and also costars, Albert Dupontel, who made the offbeat dramedy about con artists in the 1920s See You Up There.
Efira also stars in Anne Fontaine’s Night Shift, a drama about three police officers, one of whom is played by Omar Sy, who was in Les Intouchables and the Netflix drama Lupin. They are tasked with escorting an illegal migrant to the airport and learn something shocking from him along the way.
The French Film Festival always features some classics, and this year it is showing Luis Bunuel’s masterpiece Belle de Jour.

This 1967 film, which has been much imitated over the years, stars Catherine Deneuve as a bored housewife who is a call girl in the afternoons. Many think it is the actress’s greatest role, and she certainly looks amazing in clothes designed by Yves Saint-Laurent. The dream sequences are especially riveting and should be seen on the big screen.
There will also be two films by Bertrand Tavernier, who died recently, The Clockmaker of St. Paul and The Judge and The Assassin.
L’Enchanteur is a documentary about the late Jean-Claude Carriere, an acclaimed screenwriter and actor who collaborated with Bunuel and Jean-Luc Godard, among others.
There will be a conversation with Israeli director Keren Ben Rafael at the Jerusalem Cinematheque following the screening of her new, French-language film, The End of Love, about a couple struggling with a long-distance relationship, which was released and well reviewed in France this year in between lockdowns.
The End of Love was meant to be part of last year’s French Film Festival, which was canceled due to the pandemic, as was Nicolas Bedos’s crowd-pleasing fantasy comedy La Belle Epoque. The latter film is about a man in a troubled marriage who gets the chance to travel back in time to a moment when he met a woman he loved. It features some of France’s best-loved actors, including Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tillier and Fanny Ardant.
As is common at film festivals these days, episodes of new television series will be included.
The French version of the Israeli series BeTipul, which is called En Therapie, will be shown. It was created by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, who have made some of the best-loved films in French history, and stars Frederic Pierrot.
Another dramatic series, No Man’s Land, created by Israelis Amit Cohen, Maria Feldman, Ron Leshem and Eitan Mansuri, will also be screened. It tells the story of a Frenchman who believes his sister (Melanie Thierry) was killed in a suicide bombing, but goes to search for her when he discovers evidence that she may still be alive.
The closing film will be Laurent Tirard’s The Speech, about a man who hopes to reconcile with his ex during an interminable family wedding.
The festival is a collaboration among Eden Cinema Ltd., the Institut Francais in Israel and the French Embassy, and was put together by artistic director Caroline Boneh of Eden Cinema and Stephanie Rabourdin of the Institut Francais.
For the full program, check the individual cinematheque websites.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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