Monday, April 18, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Alliance Française Special Festival de Cannes, April 20-May 25, 2011

The Alliance Française Bangkok offers a warm up to next month’s Cannes Film Festival by showing six French highlights of the fest from the past 10 years or so in a "Special Festival de Cannes".

The screening series starts tomorrow (April 20) and runs at 7.30 every Wednesday until May 25 in the auditorium at the Alliance Française. Unless otherwise noted, the films are in French with English subtitles. Admission is free.

Here's the line-up:

Au cœur du Festival (Heart of the Festival) – Released in 2004, this three-part documentary anthology offers a look back at the greatest moments at Cannes by festival president Gilles Jacob, who lifts the curtain on historical backstage secrets and events over the course of 160 minutes. Screens on April 20.

Cyrano de Bergerac – Gérard Depardieu won the best actor award at Cannes in 1990 (as well as an Academy Award and tons of other prizes) for his portrayal as the storied swashbuckling romantic poet with a big nose. I'm not sure he even needed to use makeup. Jean-Paul Rappeneau directs. Anne Brochet and Vincent Perez also star. Critical reception is overwhelmingly positive. Screens on April 27.

Flandres – Bruno Dumont’s romance and war drama won the Grand Prix du Jury in 2006. It’s about young guy enjoys countryside walks and sex in the hedgerows with his girlfriend. He loves her, but can't quite bring himself to say they are a couple. That leads to problems later. And then the guy is shipped out to fight in some unnamed near-future European war. Critical reception is generally positive, with praise for the beautiful cinematography and convincing portrayals. Screens on May 4.

Van Gogh – The final 67 days of artist Vincent Van Gogh's life are depicted in this 1991 biographical drama by Maurice Pialat. Jacques Dutronc portrays the talented but tormented painter. Screens on May 11.

Clean – Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung won the best actress prize at Cannes in 2004 for her portrayal of the drug-addicted widow of a rock star. Directed by her ex-husband Olivier Assayas, she has her hair all frizzed out and is chain-smoking. She's a woman determined to change her ways and get clean in order to take custody of her son from her in-laws. Nick Nolte appears as her father-in-law. Clean was also a nominee of the Bangkok International Film Festival's Golden Kinaree in 2005, as well as loads of other prizes. Critical reception is mostly positive. Screens on May 18.

Ridicule – Director Patrice Leconte’s sumptuously costumed 1996 period comedy is a satiric view of the court of Louis XVI in the 18th century, where a poor lord learns to play the delicate games of palace intrigue as he tries to get royal backing for a drainage project. Charles Berling, Jean Rochefort and Fanny Ardant star. Screens on May 25.

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