By Roy Mabasa
World-renowned French director and actor Nils Tavernier will lead the red carpet opening of the 24thFrench Film Festival in Manila, bringing into the spotlight 15 contemporary French films that explore the depths of human relationships and the importance of family.
This year’s edition of the French Film Festival will expand its audience nationwide by organizing screenings in Metro Manila (June 12 to 18, 2019 –Bonifacio High Street cinemas & Greenbelt 3 cinemas); Cebu City (June 20 to 22, 2019 – Ayala Center Cebu); Davao City (June 28 to 30, 2019 – Abreeza Mall Davao); and for the first time in Bacolod City (July 10 to 12, 2019 –Ayala Capitol Central Mall).
The festival will feature Tavernier’s latest film, “L’Incroyable histoire du Facteur Cheval” (“The Ideal Palace”). Set in Southern France in 1879, the film recounts the true story of an ordinary mailman who devotes 33 years of his life to build a castle for his daughter. This “Ideal Palace” located in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region was named a Historical Monument by the French government in 1969.
In honor of the Philippine Independence Day on June 12, the French Film Festival will screen Filipino films that have either been co-produced with France or have been screened in prestigious festivals in France.
“For nearly a quarter of a century, the French Film Festival has been attracting audiences to discover and rediscover films that offer a particular French aesthetic – those that tell stories that make you laugh, cry, or reflect on the human condition in our society,” French Ambassador to the Philippines Nicolas Galey said in a statement on Friday.
These are Pepe Diokno’s “Above the Clouds,” which was co-produced with funding from the Aide aux Cinémas du Monde program of Institut Français; “Waiting for Sunset” by Carlo Catu, a short film which received the Audience Award at the 2019 Vesoul Festival of Asian Cinema; and Carlo Manatad’s “Jodilerks de la Cruz” which was featured in last year’s Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival.
The festival will also honor National Artist for Film and Mass Communications Kidlat Tahimik by screening his “Perfumed Nightmare” shot in Paris when he was working as an economist in the OECD in the 1970s.
The French embassy said it is working closely with the Film Development Council of the Philippines to bring French expertise to the country, not only in filmmaking but also in providing support to the industry.
Experts from the French National Center for Cinema and the Annecy International Animation Festival and Market are already sharing their knowledge and best practices with Filipino professionals in the field.
Other films to be shown in the festival are contemporary French films released between 2014 and 2018, many of which focus on the relationship between parents and their children, such as “De Toutes nos forces” (“The Finishers”), “Jusqu’à la garde” (“Custody”), “Dans la brume” (“Just a breath away”), and “La Villa” (“The House by the Sea”).
On June 14, the French Embassy and SPARK! will jointly organize a special screening of “Bande de filles” (“Girlhood”) and a forum to explore and encourage dialogue on issues faced by young girls in France and in the Philippines.