The Alliance Française French Film Festival (AF FFF), in collaboration with the French Embassy, has unveiled its 2024 programme of ground-breaking French cinema.
The emblematic 35th edition of the largest celebration of French film outside of France, arrives across Australia from 5 March – 21 April. The 2024 edition spotlights contemporary creation, focusing on the emerging talents and innovative voices shaping the French cinematic landscape.
The whirlwind programme of 41 films features some of the greatest directors (Catherine Breillat, Michel Gondry, Albert Dupontel…) and biggest stars (Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, Daniel Auteuil, Laure Calamy, Camille Cottin…) of the French silver screen.
Established by the Alliance Française, the French culture and language institution offering online and in-person language courses and events nationwide, the AF FFF is a celebration of cultural exchange, fostering deeper connections and understanding between France and Australia.
This year’s Opening Night choice is a unique adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s thrilling and beloved classic novel The Three Musketeers. In a double blockbuster film production nominated for six César awards, from director Martin Bourboulon, the opening instalment, D’Artagnan, will open the festival.
Closing the festival, from director Albert Dupontel, a renowned troublemaker in French cinema, comes Second Round – an audacious and at times hilariously savage portrayal of modern politics and media.
Avid fans of the festival were this year invited to vote to screen a film they felt most encapsulated the joy and wonder of French cinema. Topping the poll was The Intouchables – a film that stole hearts worldwide and remains an unparalleled box office sensation in France.
Discussing the upcoming festival, and notable 35th anniversary, Karine Mauris, Festival Artistic Director and Cultural Attachée to the French Embassy in Australia said “For over three decades, we’ve showcased the finest in French cinema, known for its profound simplicity and relatable humanity. Our stories reflect struggles, triumphs, passion, and possess an extraordinary ability to touch hearts,” said Mauris.
“Embracing The Three Musketeers’ motto, “All for one and one for all,” our festival dives into a diverse array of 41 movies from heart-warming comedies to gripping dramas, each offering its unique charm and allure,” said Mauris.
Palace Cinemas CEO, Benjamin Zeccola echoes Mauris’ sentiment regarding the monumental anniversary, which also signifies a three-decade long relationship as Exhibition Partner.
“Our journey together has been très extraordinaire, and we’ve enjoyed the privilege of contributing to the festival’s remarkable evolution to where it is now; a cornerstone of the cinema calendar. We look forward to celebrating with the Alliance Française and festival goers. Vive le cinéma!” said Zeccola.
Packed with Cannes highlights, unexpected tales of love, uplifting true stories, family fun and swashbuckling adventures, the AF FFF24 offers opportunities for all to experience the magic of French language and cinema.
Highlights of the Alliance Française French Film Festival include:
Mr. Blake at Your Service!
Starring the dynamic duo of John Malkovich and Fanny Ardant, this sweet and humorous romantic comedy explores culture clashes, unexpected friendships, and second chances at happiness. The film marks Gilles Legardinier’s debut, directing and adapting from his own novel. The book has taken the literary world by storm, being translated into 17 languages and selling over a million copies across 22 countries. Australian premiere!
The President’s Wife (Bernadette)
Legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve plays Bernadette Chirac in this uproarious comedy based on actual events. In her debut film which has earned her a César nomination for Best First Feature Film, documentarian Léa Domenach skilfully blurs the lines between fact and fiction, presenting a captivating portrait of an unexpected feminist icon. A delightful tapestry of satire, whimsical musical numbers, and vibrant visuals, offering a heart-warming celebration of Bernadette Chirac’s resilience and wit. Australian premiere!
Jeanne du Barry
The lavish new drama from and starring Maïwenn is freely inspired by the life of the rags-to-riches social climber who became the mistress of King Louis XV, played with taciturn command by Johnny Depp in his first French-language speaking role. Shot on location at Versailles and featuring majestic costumes and production design, that earned the film two César nominations, Jeanne Du Barry is a visual feast for the senses. Australian premiere!
The Taste of Things
This deliciously sensual adaptation of Marcel Rouff’s classic 1924 novel The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet, blends cooking with romantic love, and won director Tran Anh Hung the Best Director prize at Cannes 2023. Juliette Binoche plays Eugénie, a renowned cook with no equal. Benoît Magimel is Dodin, a brilliant epicure whose ideas for recipes when combined with Eugénie’s talents, create culinary magic. The talented duo forms a partnership that extends beyond the kitchen.
Iris and the Men
Caroline Vignal and the fabulous Laure Calamy reunite for an hilarious and provocative comedy about reignited desire in the modern age. Destined to be one of the biggest hits of this year’s Festival. Australian premiere!
Bonnard, Pierre & Marthe
Vincent Macaigne and a radiant Cécile de France enrapture the beautiful new historical drama from multi award-winning director Martin Provost about the turbulent love story between the famous post-Impressionist painter and his lesser-known, but highly influential, wife. Australian premiere!
The Alliance Française French Film Festival runs 5 March – 21 April 2024. For more information, including screening locations and full program, visit: www.affrenchfilmfestival.org for details.
Image: Catherine Deneuve plays Bernadette Chirac in The President’s Wife (Bernadette)