C’est la Vie

Mainly, but not only, a film festival, Le French Festival returns to Penang this year with sixteen of the best contemporary French films showing at the GSC Cinema in Gurney Plaza. Pretty much every film genre is represented, with romantic comedies, historical tales, social films, a biopic, an animated children’s film and a fantasy film. All the films have English subtitles, and tickets can be purchased at the GSC box office, or from their website gsc.com.my for RM 14.50 for adults, RM 7.50 for children and RM 8.50 for other concessions.

Just to be Sure

If a good laugh is what you are after, check out “Le sens de la fête / C’est la vie!” (2017 – 1h57, P13), a French comedy by the screenwriters and directors of the hugely successful film, “The Intouchables”.  The film concerns a wedding planner, Max, and his eccentric crew battling to prevent a wedding set in a 17th century castle from becoming a disaster. It screens on Saturday 12th May at 7pm. You can see the trailer here:  https://youtu.be/ErV26mIdEvU

Also in the comedy category, “Ôtez-moi d’un doute / Just to be sure”(2017 – 1h40, 18) has more of an arthouse feel. It tells the story of a mine-clearing expert, Erwan, who, on learning that his father is not his father, discreetly sets out to  find his real one, and meets the elusive Anna, who he undertakes to seduce, but then discovers she is in fact his half-sister. It screens on Sunday 6th May at 5.30pm, and the trailer is here: https://youtu.be/khBP4neQZl4

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales

“Django” (2017 – 1h55, P13) is a biopic of the life of the brilliant jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, who in 1943, is at the peak of his art in German-occupied Paris. While his fellow gypsies are being persecuted throughout Europe, his life takes a turn for the worse when the Nazi propaganda machine wants to send him on tour to Berlin. It screens on Saturday 5th May 2018 at 5.30pm, and the trailer is here: https://youtu.be/Lw5DvTAVomA

Kids will love “Le Grand Méchant Renard et autres contes/ The Big Bad Fox & other tales!” (2017 – 1h20, U), an award-winning animated film set in a farm  and featuring a fox who steals eggs to eat them but gets attached to the new-born chicks, rabbits who believe they killed Santa Claus, a wise pig and others. It will be shown on Saturday 12th May at 5pm, and the trailer is here: https://youtu.be/x3QkSzpNGW8

Back to Burgundy

A visual treat “Ce qui nous lie / Back to Burgundy!” (2017 – 1h53, 18), is a tribute to the picturesque countryside  and traditional wine-making practices of that region. Learning his father is on his deathbed, Jean returns to his hometown -a small village in Burgundy he left 10 years before. Reuniting with his sister Juliette and his brother Jérémie, they have to rebuild their relationship while running the family business, a large vineyard. The screening is on Saturday 5th May at 3pm and the trailer is here:  https://youtu.be/JAUSiV7aa6s

These are just a few of the highlights. The full listing of the films shown is below, and descriptions of all of them can be found on the festival’s website: lefrenchfestival.com.myLe French Festival also incorporates a meal at the Alliance Francaise (Le Troquet) on Friday May 4th, a French pastry class on Saturday 5th May, and a talk by a pastry chef (So Sweet So French) the following Saturday 12th. Full details are on the festival’s website or on the Alliance Francaise’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AllianceFrancaisePenang.