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Festivals & events

23 September 2009 à 15:25

10th Festival of French Cinema Today in Russia

For the 10th year running, Unifrance, the French Embassy, and Martell Cognac are hosting the Festival of French Cinema Today in Russia, to be held from September 26 to October 4, 2009.

After opening in Moscow, this year’s event will continue to carve a path across Russia, after extending its reach over the past four years to include provincial cities, which have invariably offered an enthusiastic welcome to the festival and the visiting delegation of French artists representing films selected by Russian distributors. From Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, Novosibirsk to Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don to Nijni-Novgorod, this event has covered thousands of kilometers and delighted as many spectators.

For this year’s anniversary event, the festival returns to the city of Novosibirsk and will close its doors in Moscow. The selection of eight films presented in preview screenings was put together by Russian distributors, with the event serving as a launch pad for these productions in the lead-up to their commercial release, both on a regional and national level. The following films will be showcased at the festival: Bancs publics (Versailles rive droite) aka Park Benches by Bruno Podalydès, L'Emmerdeur (Pain in the Ass) by Francis Veber, Enfin veuve (A Widow At Last) by Isabelle Mergault, La Journée de la jupe (Skirt Day) by Jean-Paul Lilienfeld, Mes stars et moi (My Stars) by Laetitia Colombani, Romaine par moins 30 by Agnès Obadia, Un Prophète (A Prophet) by Jacques Audiard, and OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus (OSS 117 – Lost in Rio) by Michel Hazanavicius (which will open the festival in both cities).

These eight films will be accompanied by a prestigious delegation of French actors and directors: Michel Hazanavicius and Louise Monot (OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus), Jacques Audiard and Reda Kateb (Un Prophète), Bruno Podalydès (Bancs publics), Valérie Mairesse (Enfin veuve), Laetitia Colombani and Mélanie Bernier (Mes stars et moi), Agnès Obadia (Romaine par moins 30), and Jean-Paul Lilienfeld (La Journée de la jupe). This year, Unifrance has decided to extend the film selection to include other titles: two films presented at the latest Cannes Film Festival–L'Armée du crime (The Army of Crime) by Robert Guédiguian and Le Père de mes enfants (The Father of My Children) by Mia Hansen-Love–a genuine Franco-Russian tale, Le Concert (The Concert) by Radu Mihaileanu, screened in the presence of the director and lead actor, Alexei Guskov, as well as a French classic recently restored by the Gan/Groupama and Thomson foundations, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday) by Jacques Tati (with a children’s afternoon tea following the screening).

A Short Film Night will feature four programs of films that reflect thirty years of the French short film production industry. This sidebar event will be held in both cities, and will include Le Mozart des pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets, 2008 Academy Award and Cesar winner), Dialogue de sourds, and La Vis (The Screw). The latter two films star Pierre Richard and Jean Reno respectively, two highly popular actors in Russia.

The French delegation will also include representatives from Unifrance, the French Embassy in Moscow, the Gan Foundation, and the Thomson Foundation, with delegation members traveling to both cities.

Over the ten years since this festival was inaugurated, French cinema has accompanied extraordinary changes in the Russian movie industry. The number of theaters of international standard has risen from 15 to 2,000; annual movie attendance has grown from 37 million spectators to 123 million; and Russian films’ market share has leapt from less than 1% to over 25%, to cite just a few key statistics. During this time, French films have seen their presence intensify from 10 films released in theaters to over 50 titles per year. The number of prints released has risen from 50 to over 4,000, while the number of spectators to French films has grown from 40,000 to over 7 million! 2009 is clearly a year tainted by the current recession, marked by a decline in spectator numbers not only for French films but for films of all nationalities (down 22% between the second and third quarter). Nonetheless, with 24 new French titles released in the past nine months, French cinema is certainly rising to the occasion.

Author : Joël Chapron

Latest update : 20 December 2009 à 15:25 CET

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