Cinéfranco 2015, English Canada’s largest celebration of international Francophone cinema, finds a new home at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto from Friday, April 10, 2015 to Sunday, April 19, 2015.
In its 18th year, Cinéfranco once again explores the diverse cinemas of the Francophone diaspora, the riches of Francophone cultures and showcases the talents of established as well as rising Francophone filmmakers and artists. With 22 feature films and 7 shorts, including many award-winning and highly acclaimed films from festivals around the world, there is something for all lovers of cinema, from comedy fans to thriller aficionados. Films from Belgium, Canada, France, Tunisia, The United Arab Emirates and Morocco will grace the big screen, including 7 North American Premieres, 9 English Canadian Premieres, 1 Canadian Premiere and 1 Ontario Premiere.
Women are at the forefront of this year’s festival, standing out both behind and in front of the camera. Female filmmakers shine as they tell their stories with undeniable dramatic intensity. A powerful presence in Quebec cinema for decades, Micheline Lanctôt’s Autrui goes straight to the heart of homelessness. Kaouther Ben Hania daring mockumentary (The Slasher of Tunis/ Le Challat de Tunis) denounces the machismo of Tunisian society with skill and humour. Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar (Once In A Lifetime /Les Héritiers) takes us to a multicultural and multiethnic grade 10 class of unruly pupils, who connect with Jewish teenagers of the Holocaust generation, in a film full of surprises and optimism.
Based on a true story, the remarkable Party Girl features Angélique Litzenburger, who plays herself, as the aging nightclub hostess who has to face the prospects of leaving behind her friends and the only life she’s known. Angélique’s real life son, Samuel Theis, one of the three co-directors and writers of the film, has also cast his siblings Mario, Severine and Cynthia in the film which opened Un Certain Regard at Cannes.
Female talent heats up the screen with strong, heroic performances: they fight tooth and nail to save a daughter (In the Name of My Daughter/L’homme qu’on aimait trop), they struggle to keep their dreams alive (Now or Never /Maintenant ou jamais), they defeat adversity (Marie’s Story/Marie Heurtin). Played by Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Carré, Agnès Jaoui, Brigitte Pogonat and so many more, the talent of these women comes through loud and clear.
Marcelle Lean, Founder-Artistic Director of Cinéfranco says of this year’s line-up, “I love this year’s film selection as it features strong characters mostly inspired by true stories or acclaimed novels. The directing and acting are amazing!”
Isn’t it Romantic?
Opening night gets underway with romantic comedy, Tokyo Fiancée, where we find 20 year Amélie (Pauline Étienne) returning to her native country, Japan. She pulls us into the heart of her adventures, her daydreams and her love life (with Rinri to whom she teaches French). Director Liberski’s dynamic pace energizes the protagonist’s exciting quest for her dreams.
In the closing night film The Easy Way Out/L’Art de la fugue, which just opened in France March 4, three brothers face the music of their own drama, worsened by meddling parents. Will Antoine accept his lover’s proposal to buy a house and settle? Will Gérard stop loving his ex-wife? Will Louis be able to tell his father he can’t marry Julie? Adapted from Stephen McCauley’s novel, the clever and witty script is played out on screen by a cast of unforgettable characters. Director Brice Cauvet will attend Cinéfranco for the film.
Romance continues throughout the festival to move and uplift us.
Patchwork Family/Du Goudron et des Plumes is an endearing love story about the humanity and sincerity of ordinary people, told with humor and originality. Actress Émilie Dequenne charms with her glowing energy in Not My Type/Pas son genre, Lucas Belvaux’s fable of a philosopher who falls in love with a simple hairdresser. Tony Gatlif’s film Geronimo is an explosive musical in the style of a gipsy West Side Story where two opposing families are ready to kill each other for honour’s sake.
In Almost Friends/On a failli être amies, Carole attempts to break free from her husband’s shadow, leading to the formation of a complex relationship with Marithé whose help she seeks at an adult training centre. From the beloved children’s books “Le petit Nicolas” comes a family comedy with old-school charm. Nicholas on Holidays/Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas takes us on vacation with little Nicholas who suspects his romantic future is being arranged by his parents. In Eric Lavain’s Barbecue/BBQ, Antoine has a heart attack at nearly 50 despite his healthy lifestyle. He decides to live life to the fullest and invites his buddies to stay with him at a stunning house in the Cévennes, where eventually old beefs get served on a platter. Xavier Diskeuve serves up hilarious misunderstandings in his clever comedy Jacques a Vu, featuring the François Maniquet’s incredible silent acting and comedic misdemeanor. In Memories/ Les Souvenirs, two unusual characters, separated by over 6 decades, unexpectedly end up on a journey together. Annie Cordy is unforgettable! Three men battle more than their inner demons in Masters of Suspense/Les Maîtres du suspense, as they travel to Louisiana in an attempt to cure a bad case of writers block.
Who am I?
In Summer Nights/Les Nuits d’été, Michel, who loves his wife, also loves dressing likea woman. He must face his right to his own identity in the context of a 60’s prejudiced society. The Golden Calf /Le Veau d’or, Hassan Legzouli’ s road movie about a young Franco Moroccan’s quest for identity after being sent to Morocco by his father. Torn between two cultures, he will do anything to return to France.
Cinéfranco 2015 includes selected thrillers. In Next Time I’ll Aim For The Heart/La Prochaine fois je viserai le cœur inspired by the criminal Lamare affair is awe-inspiring by the dead-on acting of Guillaume Canet as the crime perpetrator/ investigator of murders. Stranger in a Cab/ Ceci n’est pas un polar marries a love affair with an inquiry with the charismatic, Roy Dupuis well matched with Christine Beaulieu. Seduction, money and betrayal among the French Riviera’s rich and famous propel André Téschiné’s In The Name of My Daughter/L’Homme qu’on aimait trop. In his second Cinéfranco film, Guillaume Canet stars alongside the magnificent Catherine Deneuve and remarkable Adéle Haenel in this gripping drama based on the infamous 1977 Le Roux Affair.
Short Films and Round-Table Program:
Saturday, April 18 @11:00am at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor St. W.) will showcase the riches and beauty of Quebec cinema at this year’s Short Films and Roundtable program. With Cinéfranco’s theme, “What is the use of a short film?” The program of Francophone Canadian shorts includes a Q+A with various Quebecois and French filmmakers in attendance. In partnership with of La Tournée du cinéma québécois.
Ticket information and the full list of titles screening at the festival can be found at the Cinéfranco website