French Film Festival UK Reveals 29th Line-up in Cinemas and Online

The crème de la crème of French and Francophone cinema comes to the fore from 3rd November to 15th December in over 30 leading independent cinemas nationwide as well as in a different online offer. The Festival opens with a UK premiere in his presence of Bruno Dumont’s On a Half Clear Morning, which features Léa Seydoux, France’s breakout international star of such blockbusters as Duneand No Time to Die. It will screen at London Ciné Lumière on 3rd November and also show in Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lewes, and Stirling.

Presenting an all-embracing range of films, from highly anticipated award-winners to new talents, from animation and classics to documentaries and award-winning shorts, the Festival welcomes all to a diverse celebration of French and Francophone cinema.

Audiences will get a chance to discover some of the year’s hottest titles from many international festivals including Cannes and London. Watch out for special previews of Julia Ducournan’s Palme d’Or winner Titane and Constance Meyer’s Robust, starring Festival favourite Gérard Depardieu as an ageing actor. Also screening is powerful animation Josep, winner of the best animated film César, and part of the Cannes official selection last year. 

Others to look out for are Noémie Merlant (from Portrait of a Lady on Fire) who takes on the joint role as actor and director in My Love; and Hafsia Herzi, noted on screen in her acting debut in The Secret of the Grain who makes her directing debut filming a portrait of a family in turmoil in Marseille in Good Motherand Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman.

For the second year running, the Festival will present an online offering, with a selection of specially curated feature films available to watch from the comfort of home. Young cinemagoers too will benefit from their own unique programme, with titles being screened both in-cinema and in their own classrooms.

Other big name stars comprise Isabelle Huppert who stars in Thomas Kruithof’s first film Promises, and Juliette Binoche who goes undercover in Emmanuel Carrere’s Between Two Worlds.

There are stand-out performances aplenty, notably Kad Merad leading a bunch of inmates in a behind bars version of Waiting for Godot in The Big Hit, a huge hit in France.

No Festival would be complete without a couple of cult hits in the mix: Kaamelott First Chapter is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur while Bond spoof OSS 117: From Africa with Love finds Jean Dujardin in suave demeanour.

On the short film front, the 2021 selection comprises six films plus a bonus title. It includes one César nominee and winners from such festivals as Clermont-Ferrand, Angers Premiers-Plans and covers a wide range of genres, from documentary and animation to a slice-of-life realism, with showings in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.

Thousands of pupils will learn to appreciate French-speaking cinema with their own specially curated Learning programme, which will take place in schools and in cinemas.

Funders and sponsors – among them Screen Scotland, Institut français, Alliance Française, as well as TotalEnergies, TV5Monde, Unifrance, agnès b, and Côte – have committed their support to this year’s edition despite difficult circumstances.

Richard Mowe commented: “We’re overjoyed to welcome back our faithful audiences, both in cinemas and online, to one of the strongest and most diverse line-ups of any edition of the 29-year-old Festival. To whet appetites there is everything from award-winners to new talents. Thanks to all our partner cinemas for showing enthusiasm and ingenuity in their choices from the official selection and to our sponsors and partners for their unwavering support in what have been and will continue to be challenging times. Vive le cinéma! and bon Festival.”

For the full programme, please visit our website www.frenchfilmfestival.org.uk

Jim Welsh

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