The French Film Festival opens on Oct 3 at the Grand Cathay with the comedy Bienvenue chez les Ch’Tis (Welcome to the Land of Shtis) by director Dany Boon, starring Kad Merad, Dany Boon and Zoé Félix. The film has broken nearly every box office record in France so it’s time to see if it will be as popular in Singapore.
Running from Oct 3-12, this year the festival pays tribute to French filmmaker Alain Resnais, whose political documentaries about the Holocaust and the Hiroshima bomb achieved international accolades. Hiroshima mon amour (Hiroshima my Love) will be shown during the festival. It is about a relationship between a French actress and a Japanese architect during a very fragile time – the World War II.
Here are some of this year’s featured films:
Bienvenue chez les Ch’Tis (Welcome to the Land of Shtis)
Director: Dany Boon
Cast: Kad Merad, Dany Boon and Zoé Félix
Comedy in French with English subtitles
Showing at: The Grand Cathay, Friday, Oct 3, 7:30pm (Invite Only) and Alliance Francaise Theatre, Saturday, Oct 4, 9:15pm.
Synopsis: Philippe (Merad) is the manager of the postal service in southern France, married to Julie (Zoé Félix) who finds life miserable. He promises to do whatever he can to make her happy so he tries to get a new job at a seaside town. He cheats the management who banishes him to far off town known as “the sticks”. Is the town really as barbaric as depicted? Will Julie and their son join him there?
Our take: If you have problems reading a compass, then this show is not for you. Sorry! In this movie, Philippe lives in the south then moves to the north while Julie moves to the north then south then north. Yes it does get confusing but sit tight because a surprise wedding is in store for you and there are some very interesting townspeople you’ll get to meet. It’s a major cultureshock for poor Philippe! This laugh-out-loud comedy is largely based on the local “ch’ti” dialect that is well timed, bringing humour to the table. Spoken in the north of France, the dialect tends to muddle c’s and ch’s. Director Dany Boon himself is a “ch’ti”!
La Reine Soleil (Princess of the Sun)
Director: Philippe Leclerc
Cast: Philippe Allard, Catherine Conet, Alexandra Corréa, Jean-Marc Delhausse
Animation in French with English subtitles
Showing at: Alliance Francaise Theatre, Sunday, Oct 5, 4:30pm and The Cathay, Sunday, Oct 12, 2:30pm.
Synopsis: Set in ancient Egypt, 14 year old Princess Akhesa, is an adventurous rebel. She wants to explore life outside the palace and even rebels against her father, Pharaoh Akhenaton because she refuses to be confined within the palace. Wanting to discover why her mother, Queen Nefertiti was been exiled to Elephantine Island, she enlists assistance from Prince Tut. Both run away, braving sandstorms and mercenaries in the desert. Will they find the Queen?
Our Take: Who knew the Egyptians spoke French? This is not to be missed. Beautiful animation by Neil Ross with strong tonal contrasts to convey the blinding light of Egypt makes this film a hot favourite. I’m getting flashbacks of The Prince of Egypt but do keep in mind that we’re going to be watching a young rebel Akhesa instead of an obedient Moses. With Akhesa and Tut on the run together and alone in the desert, they’re bound to fall in love.
Updates will be posted on ArtZine throughout the festival. Get your copy of the French Film Festival Programme Booklet here. Tickets are priced at $9/$10, available at all Sistic counters.