The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2021 is on at Palace Cinema again. Dubbed a ‘Festival of the Renaissance’, this year’s selection sees 37 extraordinary films featuring a colourful tapestry of characters, all telling larger-than-life stories.
The festival makes way for the women, having more female directors than ever before, and the female characters are talented (‘Aline’), fierce (‘The Rose Maker’), free-minded (‘The Godmother’) elegant (‘Appearances’), and as bubbly as champagne (‘Antoinette in the Cévennes’).
The festival will launch with the inspiring biopic, Eiffel, which dramatises the professional and personal life of Georges Eiffel (played by Romaine Duris) during the design and construction of the tower that bears his name for the 1889 World’s Fair. This thrilling tale is as much about one of the world’s most iconic landmarks as it is about the thrill of love between Georges and his mysterious love Adrienne (played by Emma Mackey of Sex Education).
Like all things French, l’amore is a recurrent theme in this year’s festival; its complexities explored with sensitivity in Love Affair, humour and finesse in The Wedding Speech, fragility in Summer of 8, and through food in the glorious but simply titled Delicious.
Fans of French cinema will also appreciate the sheer folly of Perfumes and #Iamhere, bizarre themes in Mandibles, magnificent losers in Delete History, and angry rebels against global insanity in Bye Bye Morons.
An absolute highlight in this year’s festival is ‘The Godmother’ which blends comedy and noir while also managing to celebrate female empowerment.
Director Jean-Paul Salome skilfully crafts realistic gang warfare with French elegance in The Godmother. His main character is Patience – a femme fatale dressed in Hermes and carrying a loaded gun. The Godmother’s fantastic cast bring to life empathetic characters that leave you enthralled by their constant ‘cat and mouse’ chase.
And finally there’s Madame Weed, starring Isabell Huppert as an unassuming police interpreter who switches sides to become and overnight drug lord, trafficking stolen narcotics. Huppert is joyous as the swindling self-appointed “Madame Weed” conflicted with a sudden opportunity to make big bucks illegally. Placing her at the centre of a massive investigation, she is teetering dangerously close to being recognised while masterfully deflecting detection from her police colleagues and the vengeful cartels she has helped put away.
We are truly lucky to be able to attend cinema festivals during the impact of Covid-19 and the Palace Cinema provides a luxe venue with comfortable recliner seats for us to escape. Make the most of this comfort while squeezing in a bit of culture.
The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival is on from March 10 – April 7 at Palace Cinema, Raine Square, Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, and Windsor Cinema. Check out the full festival program at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org.