#CINÉFRANCO: 2020 CINÉFRANCO FESTIVAL PREVIEW
Cinéfranco is back in its 23rd edition later this month! The Festival celebrating French Cinema on a Canadian and international scale runs November 20-November 28, 2020.
For the first time ever, fans across Canada can access the Festival which is available on a digital platform. It is comprised of 17 features, 2 shorts programs, post-screening Conversations, and Panels.
Among the Films to premiere at the Festival this year are:
BELLE FILLE (OPENING NIGHT) – When Louise (Alexandra Lamy) escapes her cheating husband in Corsica for a wild night of passion with a man who ends up dead, she’s mistaken for his secret long-time girlfriend by his fearsome and loving mother played by Miou-Miou.
MONT FOSTER (OPENING NIGHT) – Chloe (Laurence Leboeuf) and Matthieu (Patrick Hivon) retreat to their country house to reconnect as Chloe’s fragile mental state deteriorates
QUEBEXIT – When the construction of an interprovincial pipeline results in a successful third Québec sovereignty referendum, a small road at the Québec-New Brunswick border becomes a lightning of conflict between the new Québec military, the Canadian Armed Forces and two indigenous women who cross the border frequently.
VACARME – Thirteen-year old Émilie placed in a group home is subjected to the bad influence of her roommate and chafes against the strict rules. Choosing to escape she learns the art of resilience and confidence in this social drama that breaths fresh air to the theme of children under youth protection.
NADINE BUTTERFLY (CLOSING NIGHT) – Olympian Katerine Savard stars as Nadia, who decides to retire from pro swimming after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to escape a rigid life of sacrifice.
Our George Kozera had the pleasure of previewing some of the Festival’s key titles. Some of his favourites below.
What does a woman do when not only does she finds out that her husband is having an affair, she also has a hugs fight with her rebellious teenaged daughter who want to play house with an older guy? In Cinéfranco’s opening night film, BELLE FILLE, Louise (a luminous Alexandra Lamy) leaves her home and flies to Corsica, where she meets hunk-du-jour, Florent (Thomas Dutronc who also composed this Movie’s Score). Their initial meeting and shared dinner turns into an alcohol and drug-fuelled, sexually-uninhibited raucous and rambunctious night. In the morning, Louise is very hungover and Florent is very, very dead. Not only is the detective assigned to the case Florent’s brother Anto (a wonderful low-key performance from Jonathan Zaccai), the boys’ mother Andrea (French megastar Miou-Miou) is convinced that Louise is Florent’s fiancée.
Director Meliane Marcaggi skillfully keeps this comedy of errors moving briskly and believably while incorporating the stunning vistas of Corsica and its countryside and keeping maudlin sentimentality to a bare minimum. BELLE FILLE is a joyous romp. Bravo!
LA BELLE EPOQUE
If you missed this critically-acclaimed and audience favourite at TIFF ’19, here’s your chance to bask in the glory that is LA BELLE EPOQUE. It is a high-concept Comedy about revisiting one’s glory days. Time Travellers is a service that immerses clients in whatever moment they wish to to relive, whether it be historical, fantasy or personal. Long-time married couple Victor and Marianne (the legendary Daniel Auteuil and Fanny Ardant) have reached the end of the rope and separate. Victor decides to use Time Travellers, run with dictatorial fervour by Antoine (an excellent Guillaume Canet) to return to Lyons 1974 when he first met Marianne, who will be played by actress for hire Margo (Doria Tllier).
LA BELLE EPOQUE is fiercely original and tackles a myriad of themes and topics with insight, humour and intelligence. Does love prevail? Do daily technological advances help or hinder or overwhelm us and stifle our innate creativities? I enjoyed LA BEEL EPOQUE equally, if not more, the second time around.
LA BELLE EPOUSE
Set in the late ’60s when Paris was rocked by students uprising and revolution was thick in the air, there were still schools in smaller towns that focused singularly on turning young teenaged girls into the perfect, subservient wife. One such institution is run by Paulette Van De Beck (Juliette Binoche), her sister-in-law Gilberte (Yolande Moreau) and Marie-Therese (Noemie Lvovsky) who happens to a nun. LA BELLE EPOUSE (HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE) is a Comedy rife with Sapphic alliances, death by asphyxiation, re-establishing bygone love affairs, some fun recipe ideas, tips on how to be the perfect wife if you lived the decade of “Leave it to Beaver”, rifle-toting nuns and even a choreographed song and dance routine. One rarely sees Binoche’s fun freak flag fly and watching her immerse herself into this outlandish character is enjoyable.
In ENORME, Claire (Marina Fors) is a world class concert pianist whose career is managed by her husband Fred (Jonathan Cohen). Claire is even more self-absorbed than she is talented to the point that Fred offers to take her debit card to buy himself a birthday present from her as she forgot his 40th birthday. Happily childless, Fred’s paternal instincts furiously ignite after participating in an emergency childbirth on a plane. After substituting Claire’s birth control pills and sweeteners until the day his dream and her nightmare come through…she’s pregnant!
Unlike the French, I have never been a fan of the Jerry Lewis style of Slapstick Comedy, but I was completely invested in this zany and madcap film. Fors and (especially) Cohen’s comedic timing are sheer gold.
The Closing Night film, NADIA, BUTTERFLY is Quebec director Pascal Plante’s unique rendition of the lives of Olympic athletes. Starring real-life Olympian Katherine Savard as Nadia is a detailed account of her last days swimming at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as she plans to retire from competitive swimming immediately afterwards. The swim meets are thrilling to watch and it must be ingrained in us to rot for the Canadian teams even if the competition is fictitious! Plante’s strength is that he doesn’t paint these young athletes as boring with only one goal in mind. They are also young party people who swig from tequila bottles, take drugs and have indiscriminate sex. Though a few scenes go on way too long (did we realize have to watch two characters lip synch to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” in its entirety?), when his camera concentrates of the faces of these young people as they face their future with doubt and uncertainties, NADIA, BUTTERFLY succeeds.
More on the Festival including tickets here.
(Photo credit: Cinéfranco)