Your guide to this year’s Alliance Française French Film Festival

MyFrenchLife™ - french film festival - 2015The Alliance Française French Film Festival 2015 has finally arrived and we here at MyFrenchLife™ cannot contain our excitement – comme d’habitude !

Reeling in movie buffs and Francophiles alike (pun intended), the annual festival is all set for a jam-packed 26th year at Palace Cinemas across the country.

With 49 films showing in eight cities across a busy eight weeks’ schedule, it is the largest French film festival outside of la France.

No matter if you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart or Byron Bay, you’ll get your dose of Francophilia in no time!

But it’s not just the movies that’ll keep you entertained…

From the beginning of March, Australians will be spoilt for choice with opening and closing gala premières – such as a single screening of cherished portmanteau film ‘Paris, Je T’Aime’ – as well as live Q&As, fashion shows, apéros, chansons, competitions, presentations, wine and cheese tastings, and much, much more.

And, this year, ‘At the Movies’ royalty Margaret and David will take to the red carpet as the 2015 patrons, proving that there truly is something for every taste.

So, in light of the excitement of the festival, we’ve gathered our top picks for what not to miss this time around.

‘Gemma Bovery’

The opening night feature tells the story of Martin Joubert, a small Normandy town baker and resident Flaubert fan. Upon the arrival of an English couple in town by the names of Gemma and Charles Bovery, Joubert watches in awe as their lives become a re-enactment of his favourite fictional fairytale.

Directed by Anne Fontaine (‘Coco avant Chanel’) and based on Posy Simmond’s graphic novel by the same title, this period piece will enchant and entertain.

‘Chance Encounter’ – ‘Une Rencontre’

Don’t let the corny title, nor the clichéd premise of Lisa Azuelos’ (LOL) Une Rencontre’ deceive you. The concept may be simple: a married man encounters an attractive woman and this poses the conflict of interest – will they or won’t they break ethical bounds? While the allure of adultery seems overworked in French romantic dramas, Sophie Marceau and François Cluzet fail to disappoint.

‘The Grand Illusion’ – ‘La Grande Illusion’

A classic Renoir from the collections, this story captures the enduring and thrilling spirit of World War I. Two French civilians are captured and imprisoned, wherein unfolds a tale of unbelievable strength and faith amongst a German war zone. Some cities will also provide presentations and Q&A discussions to contextualise the 1937 film.

‘The List of My Desires’ – ‘La Liste de Mes Envies’

Ever considered what would happen if you won the lottery? Well, that’s exactly what happens to Jocelyne, a humble seamstress turned conflicted when she finds herself with an €18 million win. Based on the bestseller by Grégoire Delacourt, the remarkable film explores how Jocelyne decides to keep her secret to herself, and dabbles in the idea that money can’t buy happiness.

‘3 Hearts’ – ‘3 Coeurs’

With a lineup as impressive as Benoît Poelvoorde, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, ‘3 Hearts’ portrays a typical dramatic love story exceptionally well. We watch on as Frenchman Marc encounters two different women on two separate occasions, and, not knowing they are sisters, we enjoy the suspenseful tale of a love triangle at its finest.


Samba welcomes back ‘The Untouchables’ star Omar Sy, and writing-directing duo Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache to the big screen. Sy portrays a Senegalese dishwasher hoping to remain in France as a chef, who works with his immigration caseworker to build him a future. The complexity and hardships we witness on screen leave us moved.

‘The Blue Room’ – ‘La Chambre Bleue’

Directed by and starring Mathieu Amalric, adapted from crime writer Georges Simenon’s novel, ‘The Blue Room’ will keep you on edge. After an adulterous rendez-vous and a question left unanswered, Julien discovers his small-town love affair has turned into a public investigation. Mesmerising and saucy, his world is turned upside-down for our viewing pleasure.

‘Nicholas on Holiday’ – ‘Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas’

One for les enfants, Nicholas on Holiday is the follow-up to the Little Nicholas blockbuster (‘Le Petit Nicholas’, 2009). This time around, Nicholas is spending his summer holidays calmly with the family. That is, until little Isabelle appears, and Nicholas panics, convinced his parents are scheming to make her his future bride. Expect belly laughs from all ages and a wildly entertaining visit.

‘The Yellow Eyes of the Crocodiles’ – ‘Les Yeux Jaunes des Crocodiles’

This quirky film depicts the lives of two completely opposite sisters. One is a historian struggling with the financial crumbling of a marriage; the other a wealthy yet bored socialite.

When the second sister is accused of wasting her life away, she fibs that she is penning the novel of an 18th century romance, then turns to her sister to make a deal: one will write it and take the money, while the other handles its fame. What ensues is an enjoyable ride of drama and comedic bliss.

‘Diplomacy’ – ‘Diplomatie’

A Franco-German production, we watch on as the allies march towards Paris in the summer of 1944, and prepare to demolish the city’s most prestigious monuments on Hitler’s orders. Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling steps up to the plate and attempts to persuade General Choltitz against demolition. The story may be well documented, but the account unfolds in an honourable and powerful series of events.   

For the full list of films, view the Alliance Française French Film Festival’s line-up here.

Don’t forget to head to the Alliance Française French Film Festival official website to find out when your favourites are showing and to book tickets online.

Will you be heading to the Alliance Française French Film Festival this year? What are you most wanting to see?

Catch up on everything the French Film Festival has to offer…
SBS French’s Christophe Mallet
5 minutes with Emmanuelle Denavit-Feller

Film reviews:
Saint Laurent
La Famille Bélier
‘La Liste de mes envies’

Image courtesy of Alliance Française French Film Festival.

Proud partner of the Alliance Française de Melbourne.

About the Contributor

Julia Greenhalf

I'm a Melbourne based intern, editor, blogger and language lover. I indulge in too much social networking, often finding myself behind a camera lens. During my studies I have been lucky enough to combine my craving for all things French with a desire to let it all unfold out into the online world. Find me on Twitter and Google+!

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