The Alliance Française French Film Festival

The Alliance Française French Film Festival wrapped up in Melbourne last month, but not before Arts Mitten’s Madeline Smedley had a chance to view some of the films on offer. Camille RewindsCamille RedoubleDirected by and starring Noémie Lvovsky, this film and its premise will be familiar to anyone who has seen the 1986 film Peggy Sue Got Married, featuring Kathleen Turner. Despite the almost identical storylines, it is certainly still enjoyable to see a film depicting the possibilities of time travel without getting overly weighed down in the scientific possibilities. Lvovsky plays Camille, a woman separating from her husband and former high-school sweetheart, and resentful at the life she has wasted raising his child, with whom she became pregnant at 16. Sent back to the weeks before she fell pregnant, Camille is determined to wisely choose the best route and avoid the unfaithful husband she fell for. The film shows that, for Camille at least, it is less about avoiding old mistakes as it is learning and adjusting to the new ones. Overall, Camille Redouble has a lot of heart for what could be a maudlin rehashing of a life’s regrets story or an empty fluff piece about the tragic clothes of the 80s.3.5 mittens out of 5 On AirParlez-Moi De VousKarin Viard gives a rich performance as the host of an evening radio show that dispenses advice. Engaged and empathetic towards her callers, Mélina is a recluse in her personal life, battling feelings of rejection and drowning in neuroses. Seeking out her mother, the film follows Mélina’s attempts not at reconciliation, but at understanding the person her mother was, and who she is today. Bafflingly placed under the heading ‘Comedy Drama’, this is an emotional and at times bleak film. The audience may have difficulty rationalising Mélina’s behavior, and often her self-destructive behavior can be frustrating. Even so, this is a well-made and expressive film, with bold camera work and a fantastic performance from Viard as a woman forced out of her comfort zone.2.5 mittens Fly Me To The MoonUn Plan ParfaitStarring the incomparable Diane Kruger as a woman who tries to fight fate and her family’s history of superstition, Fly Me To The Moon also stars Dany Boon, one of the most gifted comic actors in France. Kruger plays Isabelle whose family is plagued with a curse that causes every first marriage to end badly. Desperate to marry her boyfriend, Isabelle must attract, marry, and then ditch a total stranger. It is a refreshing change to see a romantic comedy that is funny and sweet, rather than mawkish, and Kruger balances these two sides perfectly.4 mittens In The House Dans La MaisonThis voyeuristic thriller constantly blurs the line between reality and fiction, as Germain, a high-school literature teacher, begins an obsessive teaching relationship with a student who infiltrates the life of one of his classmates. The pacing of this film is never consistent, which only serves to escalate the tension and make each new development even more unpredictable. Exploring the power of possibility on human behavior, this film has a life and direction of its own.3 mittens Happiness Never Comes AloneUn Bonheur N’arrive Jamais SeulA marvelously warm film that does what few films manage to do: portray middle-aged characters as multi-faceted real people, with lives outside the bubble. Gad Elmaleh returns to the screen in an uncommon role that he takes to with self-confidence, alongside the ever-beguiling Sophie Marceau. It’s impossible to say any more without giving away a genuinely startling and funny plot point that takes the film in a direction not often touched by Hollywood. Big comedy, based in truth, with real characters that you actually like.5 mittens The Alliance Française French Film Festival is an Australia-wide event that runs annually between March and April. by Madeline Smedley

April 8th 2013
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