The 2017 French Film Festival takes its cue from Cannes as it features some of the films that made waves at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
The chosen films will be shown from June 9 to 17, 2017 at the Ayala Malls Cinemas in Greenbelt 3 and BHS Central Square, as well as the outdoor venue Circuit Makati.
The 22nd French Film Fest is particularly a milestone as it is also part of the festivities for the 70th anniversary of the signing of the treaty of friendship between France and the Philippines, as well as a local celebration of the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
Laurent Legodec, Charge d'affairs of the Embassy of France to the Philippines, emphasized the role of cinema in French and Filipino societies when he spoke at the press conference about the festival.
“Filipino filmmakers are invited to Cannes so that French people can have a better knowledge and understanding of richness and diversity of Filipino society, while the filmmakers who go there can also get a better glimpse of the reality of French society.”
Mr. Legodec also highlighted the opportunities that have opened up for the two countries through film, especially through the Cannes Film Festival and the filmmaking programs that are held in France.
This year, the Philippines was represented by Nakaw, directed by Noel Escondo and Arvin Belarmino for the Short Film Corner, and Jodilerks: Employee of the Month directed by Carlo Manatad and starring Angeli Bayani at the Semaine de la Critique.
Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza was also invited by Institut Français as the “parrain” or godfather of La Fabrique Cinema, a mentorship program for 10 up-and-coming filmmakers and producers from emerging economies.
At the time the press conference was held, Liza Diño, chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, was also in Paris to participate in talks with CNC and Unifrance, with the goal of encouraging French-Philippine co-productions and intensifying cooperation and exchange between the two countries.
In Manila, Filipinos can get a better glimpse of modern French society through 13 films from 2013 to 2016, as well as four local movies that have made it to Cannes since 2000.
Headlining this year's selection is psychological thriller Personal Shopper. Starring Kirsten Stewart, this movie was nominated for Palme d'Or and won Olivier Assayas the Best Director award in 2016.
Selections from last year's crop of French movies include the comedy Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie's Misfortunes), dramas Tour De France, Les Chevaliers Blancs (The White Knight), and action film Bastille Day.
Nocturama, a film about teenagers that decide to blow up Paris, is a particular selection as it was filmed weeks before the November 2015 attacks in the country's capital.
The dramas Je suis un soldat (I am a Soldier), which won the Palm DogManitarian award at Cannes, and L'Ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women), which was selected to open the Director's Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, are the top choices from 2015, as well as the comedy 21 Nuits avec Pattie (21 Nights with Pattie).
The films from 2014 include dramas Geronimo, which premiered in the Special Screenings section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Le Dernier diamant (The Last Diamond), and Jamais de la vie (The Night Watchman).
Un Château en Italie (A Castle in Italy), the lone entry from 2013, tells the story of a family falling apart. The drama comedy was nominated for the Palme d'Or in 2013.
On June 12, Independence Day, the short film Nakaw will be screened, along with Brillante Mendoza's Ma' Rosa, which won Jaclyn Jose the Best Actress award last year, Erik Matti's On The Job, and Raymond Red's Anino, which won the Palme d'Or for Short Film in 2000.
These films will be shown at Greenbelt 3 and BHS Central Square from June 9 to 17, 2017. Tickets will be sold for P100.
On June 17 and 18, there will be free outdoor screenings at Circuit Makati.