A clumsy Canadian frantically searching for her lost 93-year-old aunt in Paris, two sisters’ spellbinding behind-the-scenes journey through pre-war movieland, a hilariously compulsive pennypincher and a story about food and appetite so confronting that it had audiences fainting in the aisles at its premiere.
These are just some of the offerings of Screenwave’s Vive la France! French Film Festival, which returns to Coffs Harbour from 23 to 27 August and goes on sale from today.
After huge success last year, Vive la France!’s eclectic program is increasing to 15 films, screening at the historic Jetty Memorial Theatre.
Genres range from off-beat comedy and family films, to dystopian drama and a “French Extremity” sub-strand, including controversial Cannes film Raw – a movie so visceral in its themes that an ambulance had to be called to its Toronto premiere last year!
“This year we are excited to bring audiences a flurry of flavours from French cinema: with contemporary and provocative fare, to anniversary classic, plus films for the whole family,” festival artistic director Kate Howat said.
The festival will open on a light note, with the critically-acclaimed comedy Lost in Paris – a romp through the French capital in a classic slapstick style reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati.
The opening night, at the Jetty Memorial Theatre, will feature a special introduction by the film’s directors Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel, as well as drinks on arrival and canapes by Screenwave special guest and local purveyor of French cuisine, Chef Loic.
Among the program’s other highlights is Valley of Love, starring French cinema veterans Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu, on screen together for the first time in more than 30 years; Planetarium starring Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp; and the Oscar-nominated stopmotion family animation My Life As A Zucchini.
There will also be wine tasting, French Follies, and a free morning event run by local community group U3A, where film fans can swap stories and learn about French culture.
Tickets and festival passes are on sale today at vivelafrance.swiff.com.au and at the Jetty Theatre Box Office (Tues to Fri 12pm to 4pm, on (02) 6648 4930), with discounts for SWIFF Film Club members.
Last year’s opening night was a sell-out, so fans are advised to get in quick!