There is a wonderful online French Film Festival that begins today. From January 13 until February 13, 2023, French cinephiles needn’t leave their armchairs to watch some of the best films emerging from up-and-coming French filmmakers. This year’s line-up features 29 short and feature-length films that have charmed international audiences and critics alike. Most of the films are from France but two (one short and one feature) are from Belgium, and two (one short and one feature) are from Canada. With the exception of two classics, all of the films are remarkably current, having premiered between 2020 and 2022.
The festival, launched in 2011, is sponsored by Unifrance, a state-backed organization that was founded in 1949 to promote French cinema worldwide. Their selection committee takes great care to assure that they’re offering something for everyone: a mix of comedy, romance, drama, documentary, animation, and classics. And, you can’t beat the price. All 17 shorts are free. Feature films are 1.99€ (~$2.15) or you can purchase an unlimited package for 7.99€ (~$8.65).
Don’t worry about having to follow the rapid-fire dialogs of a comedy or the unscripted slang of a documentary. Subtitles are available in many different languages, including English. And, if you really want to get into the festival spirit, you can cast a vote for one feature and one short that you liked best.
Below are trailers for four feature films that caught my eye.
Magnetic Beats (Les Magnétiques)
“The birth of independent radio stations, a left-wing government in power, and the start of the 1980s provide the backdrop for the lives of two brothers who want to change the world.”
“Bootlegger follows the story of Mani, a student from the Algonquin nation who wishes to reintegrate with their society upon her return from college. However, she finds herself caught in a legal battle over the sale of alcohol on the reservation.”
The Crossing (La Traversée)
“The Crossing is an homage from the director to her own mother and grandmother, forced to leave Odessa in 1905 to flee the pogroms. A film comprised of striking, animated paintings with universal qualities that speak of exile and the road from childhood to adolescence.”
Softie (Petite Nature)
“Johnny is 10 years old but is only interested in adult affairs. He is a curious onlooker to his mother’s turbulent love life in their social housing estate in Lorraine. This year at school, he is in Mr. Adamski’s class. The young teacher believes in Johnny and helps him push open the doors to a whole new world.”
Bootlegger covers a very difficult subject. Of course alcohol has had devastating effects on Indian reservations in the US, but we also know how when the US tried Prohibition, all it accomplished was to put the alcohol business into the hands of organized crime, enriching gangsters and leading to increased violence and sleaze. I wonder how the film will resolve this.
Softie intrigued me enough to look up an online review to get a more complete idea of what it’s about. It’s hard to imagine such a film even being made in the US, at least today, though I once saw a Canadian film, Whole New Thing, with a similar theme. At least the film festival isn’t being timid about what to include.
Thanks for letting us know about this.
Thanks for adding to the brief descriptions that I provided. Those two films attracted me since they take place in parts of the world that I have little exposure to and yes, the French have a rich history of ignoring societal no-nos when it comes to art.
This is a fine link that I plan to pursue, Carol. Have you watched any of the full-length films?
I have not yet Annie. Hopefully, I’ll find time soon.
Doing this early each new month. https://opinionoftheday650548878.wordpress.com/2023/02/02/films-watched-in-january-12/
How many of these have you seen of heard of? Interested in communicating with film fans. Loads of other subjects talked in my blog too.
Ps. My crowdfunder page. Details in a nutshell in the link. Trying to raise awareness. https://www.crowdfunder.c.uk/p/help-out-a-struggling-writer
Fun! Looks like a nice selection of films.
I’ve seen 4 of the 12 that you reviewed. I recall enjoying Les Femmes du 6e étage. My guess is that I’d give it 4/5 stars if I could remember it well. Ha!
I saw Tar sometime in December and was underwhelmed. I normally love Blanchette but perhaps my expectations were too high.
I saw The Post a couple years ago and again was disappointed, this time in Streep’s performance. I don’t think she did justice to Graham’s character. I read Graham’s auto-biography several years ago and Streep’s portrayal just didn’t jibe with my impressions of the woman.
I saw The Fablemans last month and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Very entertaining.
I’ve seen most of the Oscar nominees. My favorite by far is All Quiet on the Western Front which I reviewed in a earlier post. Perhaps the two that I disliked the most were Eo and Women Talking.
Thanks for dropping by.