French Film Festival

C’est magnifique!

The Alliance Française French Film Festival is back on Norton Street. Now one of Palace Cinema’s most popular events, it’s no secret why… With 45 formidable films, some of the best cinema anywhere and the world’s hottest stars, what’s not to like?

With over 165,000 admissions last year, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has almost gotten too big, pretty well taking over some of the hosting cinemas. But that’s hardly a problem for movie lovers, it just means there are plenty of sessions to choose from, all day and evening, and multiple opportunities all month to check out some of what festival artistic director Philippe Platel calls “the crème de la crème” of French cinema.

He’s the man with the enviable job of choosing what we’ll see, and this year, the festival’s 28th, he begins it with a splash. The opening night’s The Odyssey is a biopic about oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, starring everyone’s favourite French actress Audrey Tautou as Cousteau’s wife. Plenty of big names follow, with Marion Cotillard starring in both It’s Only the End of the World and the romantic From the Land of the Moon, while Oscar nominated Isabelle Hubert also turns up twice (Things to Come and Souvenir). Natalie Portman gets into the bath with Lily-Rose Depp (above) in the exotic and haunting Planetarium, and inevitably the great Gerard Depardieu is back – this year in the genial road trip Saint Amour.

A bonus this year is a retrospective focussing on the Palace of Versailles – 2011’s sexy and lush tale about Marie Antoinette Farewell My Queen, starring Léa Seydoux, and the sumptuous costume drama, Mozart’s Sister.

Inna Modja, a musician, songwriter, and visual artist from Mali will be giving a special guest performance at Palace Norton St with the screening of Wùlu on March 8. With her unique style, mixing Desert Blues and Hip-hop, she’s now one of the most important Malian contemporary artists on the world scene. She also stars in Wùlu, a “gut-wrenching crime-filled drama” that’s been likened to Scarface.

Sydney dates: Mar 7 – 30. More info here

Thanks to the Alliance Française French Film Festival, we have 10 double in season tickets to festival films to give away.

To enter, just email us at and let us know you’re reading online. Please include your name and address so your prize can reach you!

Five must-sees for film buffs at this year’s French Film festival

The Dancer

The lovely Lily-Rose Depp (yep, you know who her dad is) plays a young Isadora Duncan alongside French singer actress Soko (left) in this spectacular and lushily staged bio-drama about rival pioneers of modern dance and theatrical performance in late 19th century Paris. It’s directed by Stephanie Di Giusto.

It’s Only the End of the World

Expect fireworks in French Canadian bad boy Xavier Dolan’s explosive family melodrama, about an estranged gay writer returning home to announce he is dying. The fantastic cast includes Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel.

The Unknown Girl

The acclaimed Belgian social realist masters the Dardenne Brothers (Two Days, One Night) return to AFFF with a compelling Palme d’Or nominated murder mystery. As always it’s as tough-going as it is totally mesmerizing.

The Innocents

Fresh from high praise at Sundance, Anne Fontaine’s (Coco Avant Chanel, Gemma Bovery) new profoundly moving and morally complex drama is about a convent of nuns in post WW2 Poland, many of whom are all, quite mysteriously, pregnant…

Things To Come

The great Isabelle Huppert (Elle) gives yet another one of her dynamite performances in Mia Hansen-Løve’s eagerly-awaited new film. She plays a philosophy teacher whose life is dramatically upended when her husband walks out. Thankfully this will be getting a wider release in April.

Russell Edwards