Now that we have the Oscars out of the way, on to the important business of preparing for the VCU French Film Festival! Here is the breakdown from our resident French film expert, Robert of Westover Hills:
It’s time once again for my favorite Richmond weekend of the year! After last year’s week-long 25th anniversary celebration, Drs. Peter & Françoise Kirkpatrick have outdone themselves yet again with a stellar roster of films and visiting filmmakers. Additionally, they have handpicked several films currently nominated for the French César award, which is France’s equivalent of the Oscar. As the ceremonies will have just taken place on March 2nd, it will be exciting to see if there are any winners: one highly-anticipated film, Au revoir là-haut (See You up There), is tied for the most nominations (13).
It’s but one of many I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to see—please remember, many of these will never get a U.S. release (they are subtitled ONLY for our benefit!) so this will be your only local means of viewing. Other nominated films include Django, a biopic about jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (nominated for Best Actor Reda Kateb, from last year’s L’Astragale and 2014’s Far from Men, owned by the West End Branch), Les Gardiennes, Monsieur & Madame Adelman, La Danseuse (actually a 2016 nominee) and Rock’n Roll (featuring Best Actor nominee Guillaume Canet playing a variation of himself and featuring his partner, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, among others). Unfortunately, this, the other I am most excited about, is the latest showing of the entire Festival (Friday 3/23 at 11:00 p.m.)!! (Canet is also the César-winning director of the magnificent French thriller Tell No One, currently owned by Belmont and Westover Hills).
Still more highlights: Belle et Sébastien 3, le dernier chapitre (Belle and Sebastian: The Last Chapter–RPL owns the self-titled first in the film trilogy), A Man Named Jean Marais (a documentary about the great French actor, star of the “essential viewing” classics Beauty & the Beast and Orpheus, owned by Main and Westover Hills) and the documentary A Voix Haute (High Voice), which highlights the inspiring annual Eloquentia contest. Spoiler Alert: the winner is presenting it!
Lastly, if you read my earlier blog post, you’ll know (as I hopefully predicted) that the first French film shown on Thursday I have already seen and EMPHATICALLY recommend. The “second and third” parts of the 2013 Oscar nominated short Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything), Jusqu’à la garde (U.S. title: Custody, but better translated as “To the Hilt”) is indeed being shown to follow up from the shorts screening here in 2014. Even if you didn’t see it (unfortunately, I cannot find a current way of viewing it online), a better acted film you may not see here. The nice bonus is seeing several of the main cast members continuing to develop their roles.