Monday, February 11, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Clap! French Film Festival, February 13-20, 2013

The annual French Film Festival gets new name this year, Clap!, evoking the applause-worthy lineup of some of the best French films from the past year or so. It runs from February 13 to 20.

Screenings will be at SFX the Emporium, except for the annual Valentine's Day outdoor screening at the Museum Siam, which this year features a double bill of The Artist and Intouchables.

Other highlights include the Palme d'Or-winning Oscar-nominated Amour, the crime drama Polisse and the animated feature The Rabbi's Cat.

While the open-air Valentine's Day screening is free, tickets at the Emporium will be 120 baht (100 baht for students). This is different (and more civilized in my opinion) from other "national" film fests that show their movies for free but require you to queue up for up to two hours beforehand to get a decent seat.

Here's the line-up:

Beloved (Les bien-aimés) – This romantic drama spans 30 years as it tracks the relationships of a mother and then her daughter, starting with the backdrop of the 1960s in Paris, Prague, London and back to Paris. Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve and Milos Forman star. Christophe Honoré writes and directs. February 13, 7pm, and February 16, 4.10pm.

The Artist – Last year's sensational Oscar-winning silent comedy-drama is about a Hollywood silent film star (Jean Dujardin) whose life turns rocky with the advent of sound. As his fame fades, a young plucky young actress he encounters (Bérénice Bejo) rises to superstardom. Also stars Uggie, the scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier. February 14, 7pm, Museum Siam.

The Intouchables – A wealthy man is left paralyzed and wheelchair-bound after a para-gliding accident. He hires a streetwise young man from a housing project to be his caretaker, and the two form an unlikely bond. François Cluzet and Omar Sy star. France's submission to the Oscars made it as far as the January shortlist. It's been a nominee and winner of many awards, including the Golden Globes. It won the César for best actor for Omar Sy. February 14, 9pm, Museum Siam.

Polisse – Maïwenn directs and stars in this gritty drama about a tight-knit team of the Child Protection Unit of the Paris police. Won the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for 13 César Awards. February 15, 7pm and February 17, 7.10pm.

The Rabbi's Cat (Le chat du rabbin) – Joann Sfar adapts his comic-book series for the big screen. Set in Algeria in the 1920s, the story is about a cat who starts to speak after swallowing a parrot, and his owner is a rabbi. It won last year's César Award for Best Animated Film. February 16, 2pm and February 17, 5pm.

Happiness Never Comes Alone (Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seu) – Sophie Marceau and Gad Elmaleh star in this romantic comedy a womanizing young jazz musician who, against all odds, becomes involved with divorced mother of three. February 16, 7pm.

The Chef (Comme un chef) – Jean Reno stars as a veteran chef who finds himself in a pickle when the financial group that owns his restaurant wants it to lose a coveted Michelin star so it can bring in a hot young chef (Michaël Youn) who specializes in molecular gastronomy. February 17, 2pm.

Big is Beautiful (Mince alors!) – This comedy is about the issues big women face. Among them is a pretty plus-sized young wife is given a "gift" by her husband to spend time in a weight-loss spa. There, she befriends a thin lawyer who is obsessed with controlling her body image. And they befriend an older plus-sized woman who declares "big is beautiful" even as she copes with health problems. February 18, 7pm.'

A Gang Story (Les Lyonnais) – Based on true events, Gang Story (Les Lyonnais) is the epic tale of Edmond Vidal (Lanvin) - This fact based drama charts the rise of Vidal (Gérard Lanvin) from the gypsy camps to leader of the Gang des Lyonnais, which pulled off a spate of successful armed robberies in the 1970s. With his friend (Tchéky Karyo) in trouble, Vidal gets drawn into one last job. February 19, 7pm.

Amour – Michael Haneke's bleak drama is about an elderly couple (Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) and the husband's efforts to care for his wife after she has a stroke. Amour won the top-prize Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year and is nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Emmanuelle Riva. This is scheduled for a wider release in Thailand on February 28. February 20, 7pm.

For more details, check the festival website.

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