Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: French Film Festival, March 18-27, 2011

As part of the annual La Fête French culture and arts festival, the French Film Festival is back for a seventh edition, with a line-up of 11 recent French box-office hits and critically acclaimed film-fest favorites that include comedies, dramas, romance and suspense.

After an invite-only opening on Thursday, the fest runs from March 18 to 27j at SF World Cinemas at CentralWorld. Tickets are 120 baht, and SF Cinemas has a package deal of 500 baht for five movies.

Here's the line-up:

GainsbourgJoann Sfar adapts his graphic novel for this biographical comedy-drama about Serge Gainsbourg, tracking the singer-songwriter's life from his childhood in Nazi-occupied Paris, the swinging songwriting years of the 1960s to his death in 1991. Eric Elmosnino stars as Gainsbourg with Lucy Gordon as Jane Birkin (Gordon's last filmed appearance) and Laetitia Casta as Brigitte Bardot. Friday, March 18, 8pm and Saturday, March 27, 2.30pm.

Baby Love (Comme les autres) – Lambert Wilson stars as Manu, a gay paediatrician who wants to adopt a child and bring him or her up with his partner, Philippe (Pascal Elbé). Problem is, the lawyer Philippe isn't interested in such entanglements. Manu persists though, and goes about searching for a surrogate mother. He finds an Argentine beauty (Pilar López de Ayala) who's willing, if he'll grant her a marriage of convenience. This romantic comedy is the debut feature by director Vincent Garenq. Saturday, March 19, 12:30pm and Tuesday, March 22, 8pm.

What Love May Bring (Ces amours-là) – A woman named Ilva (Audrey Dana) looks back on her love life with the bulk of the story taking place during the German occupation of Paris. Directed by Claude Lelouch, the veteran filmmaker describes it as a "a remake of my 41 films". Musician Laurent Couson, who also composed the score, makes his acting debut as one of Ilva's many lovers, Simone the piano player. He'll be present for a Q&A session after the screening. Saturday, March 19, 2.30pm.

Restless (L'insurgée a.k.a. Le Bel âge) – 17-year-old Claire (Pauline Etienne) struggles between her commitment to swimming and her first love. She lives with her 80-year-old grandfather Maurice (Michel Piccoli) Reverdy, a composer who spends much of alone with his memories of World War II. The debut feature by Laurent Perreau, this drama is a sensitive study of contrasting characters – one facing her impending adulthood and the other the inevitability of his death. Saturday, March 19, 5.30pm and Thursday, March 24, 8pm.

Lights Out (Simon Werner a disparu...) – During a drinking party in the woods, a group of teenagers discover a corpse hidden in the undergrowth. Who is it? How did it get there? Fabrice Gobert directs. Saturday, March 19, 7.45pm and Sunday, March 27, 5pm.

Memory Lane – One summer, seven 25-year-old friends get together in their old hometown to spend a few days together. Some still live there, others have returned for family reasons or to find the traces of lingering adolescence, while others think that they'll perhaps find love. The debut feature by Mikhaël Hers, it's a study of characters caught "in between" – between city and country, friendship and love, life and death and youthful dreams and the impending realities of growing up. Sunday, March 20, 12.30pm and Wednesday, March 23, 8pm.

The Refuge (Le refuge a.k.a Hideaway) – For a long time director François Ozon wished he could make a movie with an actual pregnant actress. He did it with his 2009 drama, starring Isabelle Carré. She portrays Mousse, a young woman, who with her lover has everything going for her, but drugs invade their lives. Louis dies of an overdose, leaving Mousse alone and pregnant. Not having anywhere else to go, she seeks refuge in a house far away from Paris. Sunday, March 20, 2.30pm and Saturday, March 26, 12.30pm.

LOL (Laughing Out Loud) – High-school girl Lola (Christa Theret) navigates the pressures of romance, friendship, the Internet and social-networking websites. Meanwhile, Lola's mother (Sophie Marceau) tries to cope with the generational differences with her daughter while navigating odd relationships of her own. Directed by Lisa Azuelos, this French hit romantic comedy has been picked up by actress Demi Moore for a Hollywood remake that stars her and Miley Cyrus. Sunday, March 20, 4.30pm and Saturday, March 26, 7.30pm.

Welcome – Bilal is a 17-year-old Kurdish boy from Iraq who sets off on an adventure-filled journey across Europe, following his dream of making it to England to become a professional football player and meet his girlfriend. He gets as far as Calais, France, where he decides he wants to cross the Channel but first must learn how to swim. He makes friends with a Frenchman (Vincent Lindon) who will teach him. Philippe Lioret directs. Sunday, March 20, 6.45pm and Saturday, March 26, 5.10pm.

Mademoiselle Chambon – Jean (Vincent Lindon), a hard-working, dedicated husband and family man, is asked by his son's homeroom teacher Mademoiselle Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) to be a substitute teacher and finds himself falling for her elegant charm. Stéphane Brizé directs. Monday, March 21, 8pm and Sunday, March 27, 12.30pm

Heartbreaker (L'arnacoeur) – Alex (Romain Duris) has a speciality in breaking up relationships. His aim is to charm the pants off a bride-to-be, wife or girlfriend and make her intended mate an ex. He runs into trouble with this latest target, a woman named Juliette (Vanessa Paradis), a young free-spirited heiress. Pascal Chaumeil directs. Friday, March 25, 8pm and Sunday, March 27, 2:45pm.

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