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).”
“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.”
“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 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.