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  • Talma Gotteiner

The 16th French Film Festival in Israel: Oh là là!

Hi there,

The 16th edition of the French Film Festival is produced by Eden Cinema Ltd., headed by Caroline Boneh and the French Institute in Israel and sponsored by Univerz Films, the French Institute in Paris and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. In honor of the occasion Director Gilles Lellouche and producers Alain Attal and Hugo Selignac came to the opening nights at the Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv Cinematheques. Most of the films have been translated into English and all of them into Hebrew so get ready to enjoy!

WHEN: 14 Mar 2019 - 30 Mar 2019

The 16th French Film Festival in Israel 2019

Above: With Gilles Lellouche

This year, festival director Caroline Boneh and the audiovisual attache of the French Institute in Israel, Stéphanie Rabourdin, also prepared a diverse program that combines successful films from the past year, along with some exciting classics and a special tribute to composer Michel Legrand, who passed away a short time ago. Many of the festival's films are nominated for many prizes in various competitions and festivals worldwide. A quarter of the festival's films were staged and written by women.

The festival will open one of the best and most successful films of the year in France "Sink or Swim". More than four million Frenchmen came to see this dramatic comedy. The film is nominated for 10 Cesar Awards, including best picture, best director, best screenplay and several acting awards.

The 16th French Film Festival in Israel 2019

Above: The crowd put on swim caps as a surprise for Alain Attal's birthday

The story is about a group of men at the beginning of their midlife crisis who establishe a team of men's synchronized swimming. During their training for a competition we accompany them through their crises, joys, zeal. The film is alternately touching and funny and will make you excited and happy for the heroes of the film. The excellent performance of the group of French film stars who expose themselves physically and emotionally is most impressive. Gilles Lellouche collected some of the most prominent actors in the French cinema, Mathieu Amalric, Guillaume Canet, Benoit Poelvoorde, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Virginie Efira, Leila Bekhti and Marina Fois. The film will be released immediately after the festival ends around April 4th.

The 16th French Film Festival in Israel 2019

Above: Posing in the film poster

Gilles Lellouche is a member of a Jewish family, known mainly for his work as an actor and is considered one of the greatest stars in France. In honor of his visit, two additional films of his will be screened at the festival. One has already entered the classic of contemporary French cinema "Little White Lies" directed by a close friend of Lellouche, Guillaume Canet, another actor who also gained experience in directing. Canet also plays in Lellouche's new film. The film is an ensemble drama featuring some of France's greatest film actors, including Jean Dujardin, Marion Cottier and Francois Cluse. They are currently working on the sequel to the film that is due to be released in France in a few months.

For his role in the second film, "In Safe Hands", Lellouche was nominated for the Cesar Award for best lead actor. Jeanne Herry's film, which has six more Cesar Award nominations, is an exciting drama. Theo, the newborn baby, was abandoned by his mother and until he finds a solution he goes to the foster family of Jean (Lellouche) and his family. At the same time Alice who dreams of being a mother gets a message from social services to prepare for the important role in her life. Jeanne Herry belongs to the aristocracy of French film and culture. Her mother is actress Miou-Miou (appearing in one of the festival films this year) and her father is the musician Julien Clerc. Alain Attal is one of the most prominent producers in France today whose films have won 17 nominations at the last Cesar Award ceremony.

The 16th French Film Festival in Israel 2019

Left to Right: Translator Gisele Abazon, Moderator Dr. Avner Shavit, Gilles Lellouch, Alain Attal and Hugo Selignac

These are not the only films focusing on the family, this year is the main theme in the festival films. "Claire Darling" by Julie Bertuccelli, starring Catherine Deneuve and her daughter Chiara Mastroianni, tells of a woman who is certain that her last day has come and deals with the complex relationship with her daughter. "Amanda," a film by Mikhaël Hers, tells the story of 24-year-old David, who is forced to face the responsibility for his seven-year-old niece. "Lola and her Brothers" by Jean-Paul Rouve. According to a script by writer David Foenkinos, Benoit and Pierre are three brothers who once again discover that there is nothing more important than a family. "Photo de Famille", Cecilia Rouaud's film, starring Vanessa Paradi deals with three other siblings, Gabriella, Elsa and Mao, who do not communicate, and because of their grandfather's funeral they have to be together and try to decide what to do with the grandmother. "The Passage to Love" is the first film by two actors, Roman Berenja and Philippe Robot, and is nominated for the Cesar Award for debut films. The two bring the story of their lives, two actors, with two children who decide on a separation, but in order to avoid hurting the children, they move to a specially constructed apartment so that the children's room is located at its center and on either side are separate units for the parents who try to live their new lives and maintain a kind of alternative family. "The Guardians" brings together two stars, mother and daughter, Natalie Baye and Laura Smet who recently played together in an episode of French TV series "Ten Percent". Xavier Bouvois's film deals with the First World War, in the eyes of the women who remained to take care of the farm. "Through the Fire", one of France's greatest successes in recent months, Pierre Niney and Anais Demoustier are moving as partners trying to cope with the injury of the firefighter husband, a heart-warming film, and other exciting films.

A few weeks ago composer Michel Legrand, who composed the music for dozens of films in France and Hollywood, passed away. His outstanding cinematic collaboration was with the director Jacques Demy, from the film "Lola" starring Anouk Aimee and continued in the musical films "Sisters of Rochefort" and "Donkey Skin," but there is no doubt that the climax was in the movie "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" that will be screened during the festival as a tribute to Legrand. It too like the two previous ones stars Catherine Deneuve. It is a cinematic opera in which all the text is sung, with wonderful music and an exciting love story. The film will be screened from a new digital copy.

The other three classics are Jacques Rivette's "Paris belongs to us," a film by Julien Duvivier, "Papa Le Moko", the crime film with Jean Gabin, and the cherry on the cake "May Feast," by Louis Malle, starring Michele Piccoli and Miou-Miou.

This year's closing film will be "In Your Hands" starring Jules Benchetrit and Lambert Wilson. The film tells about a gifted young pianist who gets caught up in the crime scene and prepares for a prestigious competition that can change his life.

FULL DETAILS: The Festival's French-Hebrew Website

Happy Purim! Talma

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