The 2017 Programme is Now Online

After months of preparation, viewing and selecting films, liaising with partners and much detailed planning, we are excited to have arrived at the moment when we officially announce the full programme.

This year’s Festival will truly explore one language, and a world of emotions, and there is plenty in store with 36 films presented over 6 weeks in 12 cities across New Zealand.

With award-winning titles, numerous female-directed features, and slapstick comedies, the 11th edition of the Alliance Française French Film Festival will feature some of France’s top stars and shine a light on up-and-coming talent. We’ve highlighted a few must-see films.

WORLD PREMIERE
Just to be Sure (Ôtez-moi d’un doute)
Having presented the International Premieres of some superb French jewels in the past, 2017 is no exception, marking the world debut of writer-director Carine Tardieu’s wonderfully funny Just to be Sure (Ôtez-moi d’un doute), starring François Damiens (The Bélier Family, AF FFF 2015) and Cécile de France (La Belle Saison, AF FFF 2016).

CLASSICS REMIXED
Fans of classic French cinema will enjoy a fresh look at classic film genres with the Classics Remixed section of the programme, which pairs musical comedy The Umbrellas of Cherbourg with Julie and the Shoe Factory, and the film noir Le Doulos with Dark Diamond.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW
From the Land of the Moon (Mal de pierres)
The Festival has the pleasure of presenting From the Land of the Moon (Mal de pierres) as an exclusive preview before the national New Zealand release.
Based on Milena Agus’ novel of the same name, Marion Cotillard gives a luminous performance as Gabrielle, giving a voice to the torments of a repressed life, and Louis Garrel (also in Two Friends and Planetarium) excels his charms as dashing war veteran André.

You can explore the full 2017 programme on the Films page, and get your copy of the print programme from Festival venues and your local Alliance Française following delivery. Tickets will be on sale through Festival screening venues in the coming days. For more information, head to our Ticket Info page.

Festival Patrons Share Their Picks of the Programme

With the full programme reveal only a week away, we want to share one final sneak peek of what’s to come in the 2017 Festival by revealing our Festival Patrons’ picks. Peter Calder and Antonia Prebble took great care in selecting their top two films from the programme, and we hope you’ll be just as enthusiastic about these fantastic titles.

Peter Calder’s Festival Picks

“I fell in love with Catherine Deneuve and the movies on the same day, when, still a teenager, I saw Buñuel’s Belle de jour.

French cinema has been a staple of my moviegoing diet ever since, which seems fair enough, since France is where a movie was first screened, in March 1895 (the men behind it, Auguste and Louis Lumière, later decided it was a fad that would not catch on).”

Standing Tall
“The lustrous Deneuve features in one of my two picks as must-see films in this festival. In La tête haute, she’s fierce and magnificent as a youth court magistrate who becomes something of a foster mum to a troubled teenager. The film, which scrupulously avoids the bland pieties to which the genre is prey, has a steely heart: it does not allow us, as an audience, to remain disengaged from the social problems it depicts. And it is fuelled by an awesome performance by 19-year-old Rod Paradot as the tormented adolescent.”

150 Milligrams
“Fans of the irresistibly effervescent Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen, the central figure in the political drama Borgen, will enjoy her performance in La fille de Brest, which adapts a true story about a doctor in a provincial hospital who took on Big Pharma and the lumbering behemoth that is the French civil service.”

Antonia Prebble’s Festival Picks

“It is my great pleasure to be an ambassador for the Festival once again this year. Having watched a wide selection of films from the programme I can confidently say that French cinema is alive and well.”

The Unknown Girl
La fille inconnue is a simple yet sophisticated film that follows a young doctor who is haunted by the death of a stranger that she feels she could have prevented.
The film is told in an unadorned manner, but what elevates this film is the stunning performance of lead actress Adèle Haenel. She is simultaneously raw and held – and always intelligent. She has a grace and humility to her that is quietly captivating and, as she is in almost every scene of the film, she serves to make the otherwise straightforward plot utterly compelling.”

The Odyssey
“The second film that I would recommend is L’Odyssée, a biopic that charts the life and career of Jacques Cousteau.

Cousteau, the man, is revealed to be a complex individual whose unrelenting ambition makes life difficult for those close to him. I came away feeling enriched from learning about the extraordinary life of this extraordinary individual and inspired to watch more of Cousteau’s own films.”

The full programme will be available online from 7pm on Thursday February 2, with print programmes available from screening venues the following day.

We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

Spotlight on a Sponsor: Renault New Zealand

To celebrate our 2017 Festival sponsors, we are continuing our ‘Spotlight on a Sponsor’ special on our blog to introduce the people behind the brand. This week, we are pleased to present our wonderful Sponsor Renault New Zealand.

Sal Marti sat down to answer our short questionnaire and give us some insight into the company.

What is your favourite way to enjoy fine French cinema?
After a lovely dinner of sautéed mushrooms and a garlic butter Eye Fillet, medium rare, so I’m full and ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the movie.

Which French films are you hoping to see in the 2017 programme (contemporary or classic)?
A Journey through French Cinema, Monsieur Chocolat (as I’m a joker myself) and Baden Baden and The Odyssey.

How does your company bring a French touch to New Zealand?
Renault was born in Paris by Louis Renault and his brothers in 1898, and since then we’ve been creating some of the world’s most innovative and ‘runway worthy’ automobiles for the past 100 years.
Renault draws on our rich French heritage to help raise awareness and strengthen the brand in New Zealand.

If you could dine with any French star, who would you choose?
Eva Green.

What are you most looking forward to at the 2017 Alliance Française French Film Festival?
To enjoy the French experience within the festival, and celebrate the culture.

Opening and Closing Night Films Revealed

The programme has gone to print which means the final countdown to the 2017 Festival is underway! As a further teaser of what’s to come, we are excited to reveal our Opening and Closing Night films.

Launching in Wellington on 1 March, the Festival will open with Jérôme Salle’s breathtaking The Odyssey (L’Odyssée), starring Lambert Wilson, Audrey Tautou, and Pierre Niney.

Based on the life of oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, The Odyssey invites the audience to marvel at the magic that lies underwater. Combining elements of biopic and romantic fresco full of family drama, the film will take you on an adventurous journey.

In the spirit of celebrating French cinema, the Festival will close with Bertrand Tavernier’s magnificently epic documentary A Journey Through French Cinema (Voyage à travers le cinéma français).

A lifetime in the making, Tavernier explores the French films from the 30s through to the 70s that inspired him to start out as a director. From giants like Renoir, Godard, and Melville (for whom he worked as an assistant) to now overlooked figures like Edmond T. Gréville and Guy Gilles, he rediscovers and reassesses filmmakers, films, and composers, taking us on a voyage through time and stories.

The 2017 Alliance Française French Film Festival programme will showcase over 30 French-language feature films, offering audiences a chance to immerse themselves in one language, and a world of emotions.

The full AF FFF 2017 programme will be available online and in print from Thursday 2 February 2017. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

Education Outreach Films Announced for 2017

Continuing our goal to fascinate, inspire, and educate, we are delighted to announce the line-up for the 2017 Education Outreach programme.

The Education Outreach programme is designed to engage student audiences by exposing them to French language in context, and encourage discussion in the classroom through comprehensive French-language study guides, which are provided free of charge.

The 2017 Education Outreach films are:

  • My Mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill (Ma maman est en Amérique, elle a rencontré Buffalo Bill) by Marc Boreal and Thibaut Chatel, recommended for ages 6+
  • Adama by Simon Rouby, recommended for ages 8+
  • Fanny’s Journey (Le voyage de Fanny) by Lola Doillon, recommended for ages 10+
  • Standing Tall (La tête haute) by Emmanuelle Bercot, in cross section with the main programme, is recommended for ages 16+

French-language study guides will be available to download free of charge from the Festival website following the full programme launch on Thursday 2 February. The study guides have been conceived by French teachers of the Alliance Française network in New Zealand, supported by ILEP. For more information on the Education Outreach programme, visit our Education Outreach page.

The full AF FFF 2017 programme will be available online and in print from Thursday 2 February 2017. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

Get a Taste of the Festival with Our 2017 Trailer

Bonne année et bonne santé! We hope you have had a lovely holiday season and a happy start to the New Year.

We are only three weeks away from announcing our 2017 line-up, and we cannot wait to share this year’s selection of films with you.

We have a few more surprises in store ahead of our programme launch, but for now, treat yourself to a taste of what the 2017 programme has to offer with our new Festival trailer.

The full AF FFF 2017 programme will be available online and in print from Thursday 2 February 2017. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

A très bientôt au cinéma,
The Festival Team

Presenting our 2017 Festival Poster

The holiday season has arrived and we would like to wish you all Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année.

The French Film Festival elves are busy finalising the print programme and preparing for a fantastic celebration of French cinema, but before we ring in the holidays, we are delighted to reveal our 2017 poster.

Featuring Marion Cotillard in a still from Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la Fin du Monde), our poster reflects the dramatic selection of films that will screen across New Zealand starting on 1 March, 2017.

 

During the design process, Festival director Dorothée Basel found the striking still to be the perfect fit.

“A strong female lead, a great depth of storytelling, exploring all the possibilities of narrative cinematic space. Our 2017 Festival poster invites you to experience a wide range of emotions through the engaging films presented: ‘One language, but a world of emotions’.”

You can read more about It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la Fin du Monde) and watch the trailer on the film page.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway on Facebook. We have a few unclaimed prizes, so be sure to check our Facebook page to see if you’re a winner. Stay tuned to all of our official channels to win even more prizes in the new year.

The full AF FFF 2017 programme will be available online and in print from Thursday 2 February 2017. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

A très bientôt au cinéma,
The Festival Team

Meet our 2017 Festival Patrons

With the holidays (and the 2017 Festival) just around the corner, we have plenty to celebrate with the return of New Zealand actress Antonia Prebble as a 2017 Festival Patron. Antonia gained a passion for all things French while living for a time in Paris, and following sterling patronage of the 2016 Festival, she returns to her role as a much-valued patron this year. A stalwart of stage and screen, Antonia is known for starring in New Zealand favourites such as Outrageous Fortune, and Westside.

The Festival Team is also thrilled to welcome Peter Calder as a 2017 Festival Patron. Peter’s reputation as an esteemed film, theatre and restaurant critic speaks to his talent and expertise in dissection, comprehension and appreciation of art in all its mediums. Known for judicious, eloquent reviews and articles, Peter has had an illustrious career including a strong influence within the New Zealand Herald.

“We feel very honoured to have two high profile Festival Patrons supporting the 2017 Alliance Française French Film Festival: Francophile New Zealand actress Antonia Prebble will be our Festival Patron again this year and will be joined by renowned film critic Peter Calder.

Their view on the films of the programme, their exchange, will reflect the joy that is experiencing cinema: discussing and reflecting on film, living stories through others and with others.” says Festival director Dorothée Basel.

The full AF FFF 2017 programme will be available online and in print from Thursday 2 February 2017. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

A très bientôt au cinéma,
The Festival Team

First Films Announced for AF FFF 2017

As the holiday season approaches, The Alliance Française French Film Festival is preparing to return to New Zealand screens, to once again share one language, and a world of emotions. Following the success of the 2016 Festival, which marked 10 years of celebrating the best of French cinema, the coming year will showcase a collection of over 30 of the finest films from France and French-speaking regions.

We are thrilled to reveal four titles from the 2017 line-up, before the full programme launch in February: keep these gems in mind when tickets become available!

Baden Baden
France/Belgium 2016
Director: Rachel Lang
Starring: Salomé Richard, Claude Gensac, Zabour Breitman, Swann Arlaud
26-year-old Ana (Salomé Richard), leaves a job she detests, and upon returning to her hometown of Strasbourg, engages herself in a DIY reconstruction of the bathroom of her indisposed Grandmother. From this simple concept, laugh and cry as director Rachel Lang’s sparklingly humorous debut explores complex ideas of love lost, and the pursuit of personal transformation. Baden Baden is sure to be a highlight of the 2017 season.

Monsieur Chocolat
France 2015
Director: Roschdy Zem
Starring: Omar Sy, James Thiérrée, Noémie Lvovsky, Clothilde Hesme
Based on a true story, Omar Sy excels as Chocolat the clown, the first black performer in French circus. Joined by James Thiérrée (grandson of Charlie Chaplin) as the white clown George Footit, the two form an unforgettable performance partnership, and journey through the challenges of gaining success in the 1890s. You will marvel at the incredible feats and uplifting moments, while being exposed to thought provoking themes of racism and the corrupting power of fame. One not to miss!

It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la Fin du Monde)
France/Canada 2015
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard
Derived from the play Juste la fin du monde, by Jean-Luc Lagarce, It’s Only the End of the World introduces Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), a writer suffering from a fatal illness, who returns to his family to inform them of his inevitable demise. Familial divisions, personal conflict, and past grievances are capably treated by director Xavier Dolan, as we follow Louis’s poignant story. A hugely personal and emotional experience, this title is a must-see for the French film lover.

Dark Diamond (Diamant Noir)
France/Belgium 2015
Director: Arthur Harari
Starring: Niels Schneider, August Diehl, Hans Peter Cloos, Abdel-Hafed Benotman
Arthur Harari’s film opens with the death of Pier Ulmann’s father; poverty stricken and ousted by his family after a fatal accident. Pier’s (Niels Schneider) desire to avenge his father leads him to infiltrate the ranks of his affluent diamond-dealing extended family. Considering the family culpable for his father’s loss, Pier plans a heist under the guise of carrying out construction work on the diamond firm. This polished film noir challenges the distinction between right and wrong, and is a master class in the effective building of tension. You will be on the edge of your seat!

The full AF FFF 2017 programme will be available online and in print from Thursday 2 February 2017. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 12 April 2017 in 12 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

For further information, keep an eye on your inbox, and our official online channels.

A très bientôt au cinéma,
The Festival Team

Slice of Heaven

Following the 2016 Festival, Julie Hill hit the jackpot when she won a trip to New Caledonia in our Website Competition. Thanks to New Caledonia Tourism and Aircalin, Julie experienced a fantastic taste of what the Pacific Heart had to offer.

“Before leaving I had plenty of time to bring back memories of 1968 when I was last in New Caledonia. How could all those years go by without returning to this tropical paradise so French but only three hours from Auckland?

… The highlights for me included visiting the Tjibaou cultural centre …This building, an architectural wonder by Renzo Piano, with material on display that reveals his inspiration from the great houses and traditional villages of the Kanak and from the majestic natural environment. We were lucky enough to be involved in a performance of the Waan Dance festival set in the grounds. The Yumi Danis (“We Dance”) is a performance by Melanesian musicians and dancers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

…This holiday included visits to two destinations that might be called “next best thing to Paradise”. First: two days on Ile des Pins gave a taste of luxury seldom enjoyed (since I am not a globe-trotting billionaire). Le Mériden Ile des Pins, at Oro Bay, is a tropical resort with bungalows fringing a white sand beach and backed by forest in which is located the Natural (coral) Pool bordered by the Column Pines that Captain Cook saw and so assigned the name.

…Second highlight: our trip to Ouvéa of the Loyalty Islands. Paradis D’Ouvéa was set on a stretch of magnificent Mouli Beach. This was the premium 4-star island resort. Most other accommodation here is “Tribal Accommodation” and as this early part of September seems to be “off season” there were few tourist around. In the hotel dining room in the evening there were 10 guests and during the day we basked in the sun under a coconut umbrella and swam with barely a person around.

…I also cannot believe my luck to have had this fabulous holiday and I do indeed plan a return visit in 2017. Thank you to the Alliance Française French Film Festival, Aircalin, Air Calédonie, Arc En Ciel Services, Sheraton Deva Spa and Resort, Le Meriden Ile Des Pins and Le Meriden Noumea, The Ramada Hotel and Suites and a special thanks to Sally Pepermans of New Caledonia Tourism New Zealand, for making all the arrangements run smoothly.” — Julie Hill, Auckland, New Zealand

Stay tuned for your chance to enter our 2017 Website Competition by filling out our Festival Survey.