Festival News

Kate Rodger Shares her Picks of the Programme

There’s only one more week to wait until the full programme for the 2018 Festival is revealed, so we wanted to share one final sneak preview of what’s in store with the help of our Festival Patron. Kate Rodger has selected her top two films from the programme of more than 35 feature films, and we hope to see you enjoying them very soon at the cinema.

“There are few things greater on this earth than the feeling of being entirely transported by gifted storytellers, and for me, watching those stories unfold in a dark cinema on a big screen is my quiet addiction… So what a thrill to be asked to be Patron of this fabulous Alliance Française French Film Festival, merci merci! And please, don’t hesitate one moment longer, get thee to the cinema!” — Kate Rodger

Her notes on the films appear below.


There is nothing j’adore more than the exciting cinematic aroma of a new, emerging and enormous talent, and in Ava, inhaling the first feature of young female filmmaker Léa Mysius filled me with joy. This is a coming-of-age story told with an oftentimes confrontingly unique voice, intuitively cast and dripping with a brooding intimacy and intensity.

Ismael’s Ghosts (Les Fantômes d’Ismaël)

You’d be INSANE to let this opportunity pass you by, a chance to soak up three of France’s most gifted actors on the big screen. And what an unmitigated pleasure it is to watch Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard and César-winners Charlotte Gainsbourg and Mathieu Amalric face off with each other in a typically twisted and unpredictable love triangle. Fabulously French, this is everything you need in a big screen festival outing, bursting at the seams with passion, life, comedy and a healthy dose of madness (or is it?).


The full 2018 programme will be available online from 7pm on Thursday 8 February. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 18 April 2018 in 13 cities across New Zealand.

Speaking of enjoying many films at the cinema, we are thrilled to announce that due to popular demand we will have a 5 Trip Pass available at select venues this year! Head to here for details.

Introducing our 5 Trip Pass

Due to popular demand, we are thrilled to announce that we will have 5 Trip Passes available for sale at select venues for the 2018 Festival!

You can watch more for less and make the most of the diverse programme as the pass will save you $10 off the price of 5 single Adult admissions. As this is our first year with the 5 Trip Pass, we will be have them available in limited numbers for the following venues:

Auckland – Rialto Cinemas Newmarket
Auckland – Berkeley Cinemas Takapuna
Christchurch – Hoyts Riccarton
Dunedin – Rialto Cinemas Dunedin
Havelock North – Event Cinemas
New Plymouth – Event Cinemas
Palmerston North – Event Cinemas
Wellington – Embassy Theatre

The 5 Trip Pass will be available to purchase from the screening venues above from 14 February and will be valid at the screening venue it is purchased from. For prices, visit the Ticketing Info page for your city.

Terms and conditions: Pass is valid for 5 tickets to 5 different festival films at AFFFF 2018 only. One ticket per session. Pass must be stamped and ticket issued to enter screening. Excludes opening nights, special events. Does not guarantee a seat in sold-out session. Not valid for online or phone bookings. Not transferable, non-refundable.

Opening and Closing Night Films Announced

With the 2018 programme safely in the hands of our printer, the final countdown is on to the launch of the Festival! As a further teaser of what’s in store, we are beyond excited to reveal our electric Opening and Closing Night films.

Launching in Auckland on 1 March, the 2018 Festival will open with the effervescent C’est la vie! (Le Sens de la fête) by Olivier Nakache and Éric Tolédano (The Intouchables, 2010). An entertaining look at a disastrous day in the life of a wedding planner, the lead role was written for and stars the legendary Jean-Pierre Bacri.

A brilliant comedy of errors, C’est la vie! will provide a grand opening night experience for audiences across the country.

Celebrating rich French talent and a diverse programme, the Festival will close with Mrs. Hyde (Madame Hyde) by Serge Bozon, a fantastic and surreal reinterpretation of Robert L. Stevenson’s literary classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Starring the iconic Isabelle Huppert as an eccentric science teacher who is struck by lightning while in the lab, this deadpan comedy blends the inspirational teacher genre, 1980’s science fiction and contemporary social criticism. Huppert was awarded Best Actress at the 2017 Locarno Film Festival for her brilliant performance. Screening exclusively as the closing night film, Mrs. Hyde is undoubtably a must-see.

“We feel honoured once again to present you with a diverse selection of some of the best contemporary French and Francophone cinema. Our Opening and Closing night films perfectly sum up what the Festival has to offer: innovative, exciting, moving and surprising cinéma français. Come along and enjoy!” says Festival director Dorothée Basel.


The full 2018 programme will be available online from Thursday 8 February and in print at screening venues from Friday 9 February. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 18 April 2018 in 13 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

Education Outreach Selection Revealed

Continuing our goal to fascinate, inspire, and educate, we are delighted to announce the line-up for the 2018 Education Outreach programme.

Learning a language is a way to understand our globalised world and expand cultural horizons. Cinema and film offer the perfect medium for an enjoyable language learning experience.
The Festival puts an emphasis on the importance of learning languages through its Education Outreach programme. The films selected are suitable for different ages and can be booked by schools for individual screenings during the Festival.

The 2018 Education Outreach films are:

French-language study guides for Belle & Sebastian: Friends for Life (Belle et Sébastien 3, le dernier chapitre) and Orchestra Class (La Mélodie) will be available to download free of charge from the Festival website following the full programme launch on Thursday 8 February. The study guides have been conceived by French teachers of the Alliance Française network in New Zealand, supported by ILEP.

For more information visit our Education Outreach page.

Presenting our 2018 Festival Poster

The holiday season has arrived and we would like to wish you all Joyeux Noël et une 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 bold and bright 2018 poster.

Celebrating the legacy of cinéma français, our 2018 poster features Louis Garrel and Stacy Martin in a still from Michel Hazanavicius’ Redoubtable (Le redoutable), a biographical drama about revolutionary director Jean-Luc Godard.


“Innovation, diversity, fresh talent, modernity and a rich film history – our 2018 Festival poster conveys what makes up France’s outstanding cinématographie.
Une femme et un homme invite for a dialogue – come along and enjoy the special experience the Festival offers!” says Festival director Dorothée Basel.

You can read more about Redoubtable (Le redoutable) and watch the trailer on the film page.

The full AF FFF 2018 programme will be available online from Thursday 8 February 2018. We look forward to sharing the joy of French cinema with you from 1 March – 18 April 2018 in 13 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for details.

We have a few more special announcements in the works, so keep an eye on our official online channels and register for our e-newsletter for your chance to win a double pass to the 2018 Festival.

First Films for 2018 Revealed

Festival HQ is buzzing with excitement as we finalise the 2018 poster and print programme ahead of the holiday break. As a sneak peek of what’s to come, we are thrilled to reveal our first three titles of the Festival.

Featuring a mix of comedy, drama and coming of age stories, these first feature films highlight a fresh generation of filmmakers on the rise.


France 2017
Director: Léa Mysius
Cast: Noée Abita, Laure Calamy, Juan Cano
Thirteen-year-old Ava is on vacation when she learns that she will lose her sight earlier than predicted. Her mother decides to behave as though nothing has changed so that they can spend the loveliest summer of their lives by the seaside. Ava however deals with the problem in her own way. Exploring her identity, she questions her surroundings and steals a large black dog that belongs to a young man on the run…
Energetic, sensual and sensitive, this coming of age story moves by its creative form and overflowing imagination.

Bloody Milk (Petit Paysan)

France 2017
Director: Hubert Charuel
Cast: Swann Arlaud, Sara Giraudeau
Pierre, thirty-something, is a dairy farmer. His life revolves around his farm, his veterinarian sister, and his parents, whose farm he has taken over. Just as the first indications of an epidemic are announced in France, Pierre discovers that one of his cows is infected. He refuses to accept the idea of losing his cows. They are all he has, and he will fight to the bitter end to save them.
An unusual subject choice for a thriller, Bloody Milk demonstrates a narrative simplicity which creates a chilling tension that is skilfully maintained until the film’s final moments.

Montparnasse Bienvenüe (Jeune Femme)

France/Belgium 2017
Director: Léonor Serraille
Cast: Laetitia Dosch, Grégoire Monsaingeon, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Nathalie Richard
With a cat under her arm, no money and no work, facing closed doors and broken relationships, Paula returns to Paris after a long time overseas. Landing in Montparnasse, Paula is set on starting over. Even if she has no idea which direction she is heading or how to get there, she’ll do it with panache.
A delightful debut feature that was awarded the Caméra d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.


The Alliance Française French Film Festival will run from 1 March – 18 April 2018 in 13 cities across New Zealand. Visit our Dates and Venues page for more information.