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A Friendly Tale

Comedy PG 104 minutes French and English with English Subtitles

A superb all-star quartet in stellar form leads the terrific new comedy of manners from Daniel Cohen, the story of life-long friends whose loyalties to each other are unexpectedly tested.

Life loving 40-something Lea (Oscar nominee Bérénice Bejo, The Artist) works in retail, and is happily married to Marc (Vincent Cassel), a conservative and somewhat insecure salesman. Lea has long been considered a dreamer by her know-it-all best friend Karine (the inimitable Florence Foresti), who seems content enough with her advertising executive job and life with gentle giant Francis (François Damiens) and their two kids. But something is about to upset the intricate balance of this quartet.

Over dinner one evening, Lea unexpectedly announces she is trying her hand at writing a novel, a declaration met with some bemusement; Marc is certainly unconvinced. Lea’s burst of creativity triggers an apparently threatened Karine to pick up her own pen, and even Francis dusts off a long-abandoned artistic side. When Lea’s book is picked up by a major publisher great things seem assured, if only her friends and husband can handle it…

Screenings

Tue 22nd June | 4.00pm Book

Aline

Comedy, Biography M 128 minutes French and English with English Subtitles

Quebec, late 1960s, Sylvette and Anglomard welcome their 14th child: Aline. In the Dieu family, music reigns supreme and when Aline grows up we discover a gift to her, she has a golden voice. When he hears that voice, music producer Guy-Claude has just one thing in mind - to make Aline the greatest singer in the world.

Inspired by the life, loves and legacy of real-life Quebecker singing sensation Céline Dion, Aline is bursting with music, drama and show-stopping performances that will sweep you off your feet.

Screenings

Tue 22nd June | 8.15pm Book

Antoinette in the Cévennes

Comedy M 95 minutes French with English Subtitles

An Official Selection of the 2020 Cannes International Film Festival, writer/director Caroline Vignal’s hilarious and life-affirming romantic comedy stars the wonderful Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!, Sibyl) as a woman who finds herself on a journey of self-discovery in somewhat unexpected circumstances.

40-something primary school teacher Antoinette (Calamy) has been eagerly looking forward to a long-planned weekend escape with married lover Vladimir, the father of one of her pupils. However, their plans are upended by his wife’s booking of a surprise hiking trip in the picturesque Cévennes mountains in the South of France. Completely unversed in the ways of the wilderness, the spurned Antoinette impulsively decides to follow them, and once paired with an unlikely companion – an obstinate but evidently wise grey donkey named Patrick – discovers much, much more than she bargained for...

Carried by the remarkable Calamy and her scene-stealing co-star, Vignal’s wonderfully mischievous film offers both its lead character and audiences an uproarious and poignant reminder of the virtues of independence, and that the journey, not the destination, is often the reward.

Screenings

Tue 22nd June | 3.30pm Book

Appearances

Drama M 108 minutes French with English Subtitles

The wickedly entertaining new film from writer/director Marc Fitoussi (Folies Bergére), Appearances is a sexy, Chabrol-esque marital thriller, featuring the sensational Karin Viard in one of her most vivacious roles.

The setting is Vienna. Ève (Viard), Henri (Benjamin Biolay) and their young son are among the entitled bourgeois community of wealthy French expatriates. They move amongst “la crème de la crème”; she as the CEO of the city’s Institut Français, he as a prestigious conductor who flitters across Europe, always in first class. It’s a seemingly flawless life, until the day Éve begins to suspect Henri of infidelity with her son’s primary school teacher (Laetitia Dosch). Absolutely desperate not to lose face, Éve engineers a dangerous double game, all the while preserving the façade of a happy marriage…

Tailor-made for its indomitable star, thirteen-time César nominee and three-time winner Viard completely inhabits the skin of a woman unafraid of callousness in her quest for affection, financial security and, most of all, status. Expertly stripping away the varnish of privileged social circles, Fitoussi’s darkly comic and playful thriller winks at its genre forbears whilst tightening the screws. It’s an unashamed and cinematically luxe slice of entertainment for adult audiences.

Screenings

Wed 23rd June | 4.15pm Book

Breathless

Drama, Romance PG 90 minutes French with English Subtitles

If you’ve never seen Breathless, now is the time. If you have, then you’ve never seen it like this: newly restored in 4K and projected on the big screen in all its ground-breaking brilliance. Sensual, thrilling and effortlessly cool, Breathless changed cinema forever.

After shooting a policeman, petty criminal Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) attempts to lay low with his American girlfriend, aspiring journalist Patricia (Jean Seberg), who is unaware of what he’s done.

Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard from a treatment by François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, Breathless is one of the most iconic films from the revolutionary French New Wave period of the late 1950s and 1960s. Inspired by American crime dramas, but completely rejecting the Hollywood approach to film style and storytelling, Breathless bursts with infectious and defiant energy that is just as subversive and joyful today as it was in 1960.

Not just a masterpiece of French cinema and not just a classic from the French New Wave, Breathless is simply one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, appearing at number 13 on the 2012 Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time poll.

 

Screenings

Sun 20th June | 5.30pm Book

Wed 23rd June | 8.30pm Book

De Gaulle

Biography, Drama M 108 minutes French and English with English Subtitles

Biographical drama is one of French cinema’s most established and beloved genres, and Gabriel Le Bomin’s spectacularly-mounted De Gaulle stirringly depicts a crucial period in the life of one of the most famous (if not infamous) figures in the nation’s modern history, doing it enormous justice in the process.

It is May 1940, where the war between Germany and its neighbours has intensified. Shockingly, the French army collapses, and Hitler seizes Paris. The government is in panic and considers accepting defeat, but recently promoted two-star General Charles de Gaulle (The Translators’ Lambert Wilson, in a career-best performance), wants to change the course of history...

His wife, Yvonne (Isabelle Carré), is his first support, but very quickly events spiral out of control and separate them - she and their children set out on the roads of exodus, as Charles travels to London to meet with Winston Churchill. He wants to make another voice heard: that of resistance.

Matching the impact and scale of recent war dramas The Darkest Hour and The King’s Choice as it depicts crucial incidents in gripping tick-tock fashion, Le Bomin expertly mixes the historic and the Romanesque, charting both a military debacle and the eventual revelation of a destiny. De Gaulle is filmmaking on a grand scale, with an impact to match.

Screenings

Tue 22nd June | 1.45pm Book

Delicious

Comedy, Historical M 112 minutes French with English Subtitles

Éric Besnard’s mouth-watering new film (in the grand tradition of Chocolat and Big Night) is set in 1789, just prior to the Revolution, when gastronomy is strictly the domain of the aristocrats. When the talented but prideful cook Manceron (Grégory Gadebois) serves an unapproved dish of his own creation at a dinner hosted by the self-entitled Duke of Chamfort, the repercussions are brutal, and he is promptly dismissed. Wounded, Manceron retreats with his son to a regional inn visited only infrequently by travellers, and where vegetable soup is the common meal. When a mysterious woman (Isabelle Carré) arrives and offers to pay to become his apprentice, the stage is set for a wildly enjoyable tale of reignited passion, mentorship and revenge... and of the creation of France’s very first restaurant

Screenings

Sun 20th June | 7.30pm Book

Sun 20th June | 7.45pm Book

Wed 23rd June | 2.00pm Book

Eiffel

Biography, Romance M French with English Subtitles

The iconic Eiffel Tower proudly stands on the Champ de Mars in the heart of Paris as a beacon of French artistry and ingenuity. But what do we know of Gustave Eiffel, the engineering genius to whom the wrought-iron lattice tower is named after? This lovingly detailed biopic recreates Paris in the late 19th century to tell his story, as the New Zealand premiere of the biggest French production of 2020.

Having already achieved international recognition for his work – which included the framework for the Statue of Liberty – Eiffel was in high demand. He wanted to design the Paris Subway, but the French government had other ideas: they wanted something special for the 1889 World’s Fair. Initially struggling for inspiration, everything changes when Eiffel encounters a mysterious woman that he once knew many years ago.

An all-star cast that includes Romain Duris (The Spanish Apartment) as Eiffel and Emma Mackey (Netflix’s Sex Education) as Adrienne Bourgès, the woman from his past, lead this gorgeous historical film, inviting audiences to be swept away by the passion and brilliance behind the creation of France’s greatest cultural icon.

Screenings

Wed 23rd June | 11.45am Book

Sat 26th June | 6.00pm Book

How to Be a Good Wife

Comedy, Drama M 110 minutes French with English Subtitles

The sparkling new comedy from César-winner Martin Provost (The Midwife, Seraphine).

It’s 1967. The immaculate and morally upright Paulette Van Der Beck (the ever-exquisite Binoche) and her husband Robert have been running Van der Beck’s School of Housekeeping and Good Manners in the lush regions of Alsace for over two decades, with the help of Paulette’s eccentric stepsister Gilberte (Moreau) and the school’s communist-fearing, ex-Resistance nun Marie-Therese (a scene-stealing Lvovsky). Their mission: to train teenagers to become perfect housewives, in times when women were expected to be largely subservient.

After an accident turns clockwork order into chaos, Paulette discovers that the school is on the verge of financial ruin. Forced to assume executive responsibilities, she is flustered even more by an encounter with her long-lost first love, André (Edouard Baer), who becomes relentless in his desire to rekindle their romance. Meanwhile, a sweeping nationwide protest movement is transforming society around them, encouraging the school’s pupils to challenge authority and question their own desires and beliefs… Before long the entire group undertakes a journey of liberation, one that will transform all their lives.

Striking a near-magical tone that’s both satirical and tender, this tale of solidarity looks set to become one of the year’s biggest comedic hits.

Screenings

Wed 23rd June | 3.30pm Book

Wed 23rd June | 8.30pm Book

Love Affair(s)

Drama, Romance M 122 minutes French with English Subtitles

Direct from the Cannes Film Festival, Love Affair(s) embodies many classic tropes of French cinema, by combining witty dialogue with emotionally resonate truths thatwill have you laughing, crying, yearning for romance and swearing off love forever. As its name would suggest, Love Affair(s) follows a series of interlocking tales of relationships and affairs, which have been described as ‘a more serious Love Actually’.

At the centre of it all is Daphné (Camélia Jordana), a pregnant woman whose boyfriend has left her alone in the French countryside with his cousin Maxime (Niels Schneider, Sibyl), who is nursing a broken heart. As Daphné and Maxime share stories of love gained and love lost, they become increasingly intimate with each other in the seclusion of the country house.

The tales range from the sensual to the frivolous, the profound to the ridiculous, and the comedic to the thoughtful. Throughout all the twists, emotional detours and unexpected connections, Love Affair(s) is an entertaining and surprising exploration of the complexities of modern love that will satisfy romantics, cynics and anybody in between who has ever experienced the messiness of love and desire.

Screenings

Mon 21st June | 6.00pm Book

Miss

Comedy, Drama M 107 minutes French with English Subtitles

Twenty years ago, Billy Elliot showed us that boys can dance and now Miss will win hearts as it proves that boys can compete in beauty pageants. The new film by Ruben Alves (The Gilded Cage) is a feel-good story about overcoming hardship and prejudice, with a fun and light-hearted commentary on how attitudes towards gender are shaped. It is the best kind of thought-provoking film: one that is celebratory and joyful.

Ever since childhood Alex (Alexandre Wetter) had wanted to enter the annual Miss France beauty pageant, despite being a boy. However, adolescence was not kind and Alex suffered huge blows to his self-esteem. When an unexpected encounter allows Alex to once more pursue his dreams, he does everything he can to transcend the traditional binary gender definitions that threaten to hold him back.

Miss is the first major acting role for Wetter, a model who has made a career out of defying gender norms. Wetter’s personal journey makes them the perfect person to play Alex in this inspirational film that inspires us to rethink the status quo.

Screenings

Tue 22nd June | 11.30am Book

My Journey Through French Cinema

Documentary E 191 minutes French with English Subtitles

Writer-director Bertrand Tavernier is truly one of the grand auteurs of the movies. His experience is vast, his knowledge is voluminous, his love is inexhaustible and his perspective is matched only by that of Martin Scorsese. This magnificent, epic documentary has been a lifetime in the making. Tavernier knows his native cinema inside and out, from the giants like Renoir, Godard, and Melville (for whom he worked as an assistant) to now overlooked and forgotten figures like Edmund T. Gréville and Guy Gilles, and his observations and reminiscences are never less than penetrating and always deeply personal.

Please note: all screenings will have a 15 minute intermission.

Screenings

Sun 20th June | 11.30am Book

Only the Animals

Comedy, Drama, Mystery M 117 minutes French with English Subtitles

Evelyne Ducat (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) has gone missing. Following a snowstorm, her car is found on the road to a rural French plateau where a few isolated farms struggle to survive.

While the local gendarmes look for answers, five people, each of them somehow linked to the woman’s disappearance, try desperately to protect their secrets. But none of them suspect that the whole story began far from the windswept French highlands, on another continent where the sun beats down and where poverty can drive people to extremes.

Dominik Moll’s sophisticated French thriller Only the Animals watches quietly as an all-star cast are connected by desire, fear, ambition, poverty and murder.

Screenings

Mon 21st June | 1.45pm Book

Perfumes

Comedy M 100 minutes French with English Subtitles

Emmanuelle Devos (Read My Lips) and Gregory Montel (Call My Agent) shine in this fragrant French drama.

Anne Walberg (Devos) was once the star of her industry – a perfumer whose ability to produce enticing new fragrances was second to none and which saw her rise through a competitive landscape. She remains in demand, but her intemperate behaviour has made her difficult. However, striking up an unlikely friendship with her equally troubled new driver, Anne sees a way to return to the top, which might offer a solution to both their problems.

Grégory Magne’s intelligent drama is a visual and sophisticated treat.

★★★★ “A quietly delightful French comedy” - The Times

★★★★ “Enchanting” - The Irish Times

★★★★ “Admirably refreshing” - The Guardian

Screenings

Wed 23rd June | 6.30pm Book

Skies of Lebanon

Drama PG 91 minutes French and Arabic with English Subtitles

A poetic blending of the personal and political, Skies of Lebanon combines live action with animation to create a vivid picture of Lebanon, inspired by the family history of filmmaker Chloé Mazlo. Using stories told to her by her grandmother of life during the Lebanese Civil War, Mazlo crafts a touching and heart-breaking story of love during wartime.

Alba Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazzaro) plays Alice, a Swiss woman who moved to Beirut in the 1950s and falls in love with a Lebanese man. Wajdi Mouawad (author of the play Incendies, which was the source material for Denis Villeneuve’s 2010 film) plays Joseph, an astrophysicist with dreams of sending his fellow citizens into space, and the object of Alice’s affection. Joseph and Alice appear to lead the perfect life until their bliss is ripped apart by the civil war and nothing will be the same again.

An official selection for the 2020 Cannes International Critics’ Week, Skies of Lebanon stunningly gives shape to the emotional undercurrents felt by the characters through the use of animation. This rewarding and quietly devastating cinematic experience announces Mazlo’s arrival as an important new talent.

Screenings

Mon 21st June | 4.00pm Book

The Godmother

Comedy, Drama M 104 minutes French, Arabic and Yiddish with English Subtitles

The effervescent Isabelle Huppert returns to the Festival (Mrs Hyde, Things to Come) in The Godmother, where the gritty realism of Breaking Bad meets the stoner comedy of a Cheech & Chong movie.

Huppert will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear in her performance as Patience Portefeux, a middle-aged police interpreter who switches sides to become a wholesale narcotics trafficker. Armed with her insider knowledge of the law and a striking wardrobe of Hermès scarves, Patience reinvents herself as a drug lord.

As well as delivering laughs, The Godmother is a moving and heartfelt drama about female empowerment. The audience is encouraged to vicariously take delight in Patience’s transformation and gleefully relish the scenes where she dominates her competition in the drug trade and thwarts detection from her colleagues in the police.

Based on the award-winning novel by Hannelore Cayre – who also co-wrote the script – The Godmother is a beautifully crafted blend of French noir, drama and comedy with a triumphant performance by Huppert as a defiantly independent woman making her mark on the world with a bang rather than a whimper.

Screenings

Mon 21st June | 8.30pm Book

The Man in the Hat

Comedy PG 96 minutes English and French with English Subtitles

The Man In The Hat sets off from Marseilles in a small Fiat 500. On the seat beside him is a framed photograph of an unknown woman. Behind him is a 2CV into which is squeezed Five Bald Men. Why are they chasing him? And how can he shake them off?

As he travels North through France, he encounters razeteurs, women with stories to tell, bullfights, plenty of delicious food, a damp man, mechanics, nuns, a convention of Chrystallographers and much more. And always, on his tail, the Five Bald Men.

As the Fiat 500 wends its way across the mountains, gorges and bridges of France, the 2CV hard behind him, the Thin Man (Ciaran Hinds) comes face to face with the vivid eccentricities of an old country on an old continent.

★★★★ "It's quirky and touching, and if you want to travel but don't want to travel, then off-the-beaten-track France will do your heart good." - RTÉ

"...
a picturesque odyssey across the French countryside, the best Provençal driving holiday you’ve never had." - The Guardian

"
Beautifully made, sumptuously shot and a definite change of pace from the hectic bustle of blockbuster cinema." - HeyUGuys

Screenings

Mon 21st June | 11.45am Book

Tue 22nd June | 6.15pm Book

The Rose Maker

Comedy, Drama M 95 minutes French with English Subtitles

The magnificent Catherine Frot (Marguerite) takes centre stage as Eve, a world-renowned rose farmer dealing with hard times. In this easy-going and good-natured comedy, Eve allows herself to reluctantly accept help from an unlikely source and by doing so, discovers new aspects of life that are worth nurturing.

Eve used to be content living almost in complete isolation to focus on her passion of growing roses. When financial ruin threatens her business and livelihood, desperate measures are required. The solution comes in the form of three new workers, who are recruited cheaply from a back-to-work program. There’s just one small problem: they know absolutely nothing about growing roses, or really anything at all. Eve is going to have to tend to a lot more than just her rose bushes to keep her head above water.

Funny and kind-hearted, The Rose Maker makes full use of casting veteran actor Frot alongside a diverse ensemble of emerging actors to play the hapless farmhands; emphasising how underneath all the obvious differences, there is a shared humanity and the potential for friendship.

Screenings

Mon 21st June | 3.30pm Book

The Wedding Speech

Comedy M 87 minutes French with English Subtitles

Imagine being stuck at an excruciating never-ending family dinner. You and your girlfriend are on a break and now she’s not answering your messages. And to top it off, you’re asked to give a wedding speech even though you are neurotic and hate public speaking. This is the situation Adrien (Benjamin Lavernhe, C’est la vie) is facing and the results will have you in stitches.

In this smart and sophisticated arthouse comedy, we are taken deep into Adrien’s mind, to experience his paranoid thoughts and anxiety-fuelled memories about his family. Based on the book by acclaimed comic artist Fabrice Caro, The Wedding Speech skilfully adapts the novel’s stream of consciousness style of writing through inventive cinematic techniques used to break the fourth wall.

This film from director Laurent Tirard, whose previous crowd-pleasing films include Astérix and ObélixGod Save Britannia and Little Nicholas, hits all the funny bones as it charts Adrien’s unravelling. Officially selected for Cannes and co-starring Sara Giraudeau (The Bureau, The Translators) and Kyan Khojandi (Rosalie Blum), it is not to be missed.

Screenings

Sun 20th June | 3.45pm Book

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  • Dorothy Browns
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