A second rendezvous

9 11 2012

Having been treated to a host of some wonderful French films at a first rendezvous with French Cinema last December, including the opening movie, the fabulous Michel Hazanavicius silent movie The Artist, which made waves at the Oscars, more treats await French cinema fans this year at a second rendezvous. The festival is back as the Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous With French Cinema which will run from 5 to 9 December 2012. A total of 12 films will be screened at two venues – The Cathay as well as the Alliance Française de Singapour.

Ms Linda Black opening the Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous with French Cinema’s press conference yesterday.

This year’s festival hopes to reach to a wider audience with something for people of all ages including a hand-drawn animated film aimed at younger audiences, Day of the Crows (Le jour des corneilles). The film, based on a novel, tells a tale of a boy who lives in the the forest, raised by a tyrannical giant of a father who prevents the son from exploring beyond limited boundaries. The film also features the voice of Jean Reno of Nikita (1990) fame. Other films that will be screened include the opening film, Happiness Never Comes Alone (Un bonheur n’arrive jamais seul), which makes a Southeast Asian debut. Directed by James Huth, Happiness Never Comes Alone stars the gorgeous Sophie Marceau in a love story between two people who as the trailer that was shown and the synopsis does suggest are made for each other because they have nothing in common. Sophie plays Charlotte, a twice divorced mother of three with a professional career who meets Sacha, played by Gad Elmaleh, a happy-go-lucky jazz pianist.

Sacha (Gad Elmaleh) meets Charlotte (Sophie Marceau) in Happiness Never Comes Alone.

Sophie who is well known for her roles in the movie Braveheart (1995) and the James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough (1999), will make her appearance in Singapore as part of this year’s cast of celebrities who will grace the event. The cinematic delegation which will be here to promote French cinema to local and regional audiences will include actors Christopher Lambert (of Highlander fame), Sophie’s better half; as well as Charles Berling, Fleur-Lise Heuet, Anne le Ny, Dimitri Storoge; directors Lorraine Lévy, Carine Tardieu and Jean-Christophe Dessaint; and producers Jérôme Seydoux and Marc-Antoine Robert. The delegation will also be accompanied by Unifrance Chairman, Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre as well as Sophie Seydoux of Fondation Pathé-Jérôme Seydoux.

Ms Black; His Excellency Olivier Caron, the French Ambassador to Singapore; Mr Olivier Gougeon, Regional Chief Executive Officer – Asia Pacific; and Ms Michelle Lim, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions at the press conference.

Other films of note that will be screened are Untouchable (Intouchables) which does seem like one that should not be missed. France’s official selection for the foreign language film category at next year’s Oscars, Untouchable examines a friendship that develops between Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy quadraplegic and Driss (Omar Sy), a poor man hired as his live-in caregiver. The film which has been a hit grossing $355 million worldwide so far is directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Another one that does seem to be worth watching is The Other Son (Le Fils de l’Autre), which has recently won an award at the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the 25th Tokyo Film Festival. The Other Son, directed by Lorraine Lévy, looks at two families, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, who find out that the sons they have raised had been exchanged at birth.

In Intouchables, Philippe played by François Cluzet, a wealthy quadraplegic develops a friendship with his caregiver Driss, played by Omar Sy.

The movie poster for Le Fils de L’Autre (The Other Son).

Other films that will be shown during the festival include Armed Hands (Mains Armées) directed by Pierre Jolivet; My Lucky Star (Ma bonne étoile) which stars Christopher Lambert and Fleur-Lise Heuet; Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os), directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Marion Cotillard; and What’s In A Name (Le Prénom), directed by Matthieu Delaporte and starring Charles Berling. In addition to the 12 films, a special screening of The Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis) will also take place at the National Museum of Singapore Cinematheque. The Children of Paradise is a French film classic from 1945, which has been preserved and digitally remastered by the Pathé-Jérôme Seydoux Foundation.

Christopher Lambert in My Lucky Star (Ma bonne étoile).

For a second year, the visiting delegation will also participate in Asia TV Forum & Market, Asia’s largest content market and a partner trade event of the festival. A feature this year will be a schools’ outreach programme during which masterclasses will be conducted for students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic School of Film & Media Studies and Tisch School of the Arts Asia. The masterclasses will be conducted by directors Lorraine Lévy, Carine Tardieu and Jean-Christophe Dessaint and will facilitate an exchange of knowledge and skills specific to French cinema. The festival will also offer members of the public hoping for a chance to meet some of the actors and directors that opportunity. Post screening sessions at the festival venues will be held which will allow audiences to interact with the actors and directors.

About Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous With French Cinema:

Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous With French Cinema is organised by Institut Français, Unifrance and Alliance Française de Singapour and sponsored by Societe Generale Private Banking. Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous With French Cinema also has the strong support of several other French businesses including luxury champagne house Perrier-Jouet as the Official Champagne, Air France as Official Airline, Angénieux as Official Film Industry Support, and Renault as Official Festival Car. Other sponsors include Raffles Hotel as Official Hotel and The Wall Street Journal as Official International Newspaper. The festival is organised with the support of the Embassy of France and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), together with partners Asia TV Forum & Market, ScreenSingapore, MDA, TV5Monde and France 24. Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous With French Cinema is a part of Encore the European Season and Voilah! 2012.

Societe Generale Private Banking 2nd Rendezvous With French Cinema will run from 5 to 9 December 2012. Tickets will be priced at $12 and $11 for members of the Alliance Française de Singapour. The festival’s film schedule and advance online booking will be made available to the public from 14 November 2012. More ticketing and film programme details can be found at the festival’s website (which will go live on 14 November 2012).