Juliette Binoche, Gérard Depardieu, Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou star in this year's selection
'After the previous box office highs of The Artist and The Intouchables,' says French Film Festival UK director Richard Mowe, 'le cinéma français shows no signs of resting on its laurels and as usual we have been spoiled for choice.’
The lineup for the 21st edition of the FFF bears out Mowe's grand claim. A quarter of the way through the month-long festival and there are still plenty of cinematic delights to come.
France's hardest-working actor, Daniel Auteuil, turns director with the first two of three adaptations of Marcel Pagnol's Marseille-set trilogy Marius-Fanny-César. Bruno Dumont casts Juliette Binoche as the ageing sculptress in his biopic Camille Claudel 1915. Cédric Klapisch reunites gorgeous Pot Luck stars Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou in Chinese Puzzle. Costa Gavras directs Gabriel Byrne in boardroom thriller Le Capital. And Jean-Pierre Améris (Romantics Anonymous) calls the shots on Gérard Depardieu in the Victor Hugo adaptation The Man Who Laughs.
'Gallic fare has a better showing on these shores than most foreign language cinema,' Mowe says. 'But the festival still has a significant role to play in offering a snapshot of French cinema that is not always apparent from the titles that come out on general release.'
FFF21 also premieres features and shorts from debuting filmmakers. And the festival looks backwards with a tribute to maverick filmmaker Maurice Pialat with Loulou, a restored version of Jacques Demy's Lola and a celebration of the elastic-faced comic superstar Louis de Funès.
'We hope,' concludes Mowe, 'that our contemporary choices are informed by an appreciation of French cinema history.'
GFT, Glasgow, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, and Dominion Cinema, Edinburgh, until Sun 1 Dec.