French Film Festival full schedule

All showings held at the Byrd Theatre.

Thursday, March 24

6:30 p.m. | Nos enfants nous accuseront (Food Beware. Our Children Will Accuse Us), by Jean-Paul Jaud. Special preview screening for master class

Like a French version of Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution,” “Nos enfants nous accuseront” sets out to document the efforts to curtail the 100,000 children who die every year in Europe due to environmentally tainted foods.

According to the film, 70 percent of cancers are linked to the environment, and 40 percent of it can be traced to food. The film reports that in France, cases of cancer in males have increased by 93 percent in 25 years.

The film focuses on a small community at the foot of the Cévennes Mountains, Barjac, whose mayor has decided to make school cafeterias organic. Community members are faced with the issues presented through the use of organic food and the obstacles they must overcome to make sure their children do not accuse them in the future.

8:45 p.m. | Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law), by Rachid Bouchareb. Special screening

French riot police were called in to the 2010 Cannes film festival to hold off a crowd of more than 1,000 angry protesters when “Hors-la-loi” was nominated for a Palme d’Or.  The film tells the story of three brothers who become wrapped up in Algeria’s struggle for independence from France, and has attracted considerable controversy over whether it succeeds in breaking taboos or romanticizing history.

Friday, March 25

1:30 p.m. | Master class: “Partnering with France’s renowned Cinema Schools: Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumière and La Fémis”

La Fémis short:

Coucou-les-Nuages (Anywhere Out of the World), by Vincent Cordona.

Frida is in love with Hans, but he only dreams about one thing: space travel.  And he thinks he’s found a way to do it.

Louis Lumière shorts:
Les Larmes de la luciole (Tears of the Firefly), by Antoine Mocquet.

Lei, an artist whose inspiration has gone missing, regains inspiration after blood from a freshly-recolored tattoo mingles with the black on her canvas.

Son esquisse (Sunflower), by Charlotte Michel.

A portrait of a young nineteenth-century woman falls in love with an art student.

Discussion with Pierre-William Glenn, Cinematography Department at La Fémis; directors Vincent Cardona and Charlotte Michel; director of photography Benoît Mars; Rob Tregenza, VCUarts cinema professor and director; Françoise Ravaux-Kirkpatrick and Peter Kirkpatrick, UR and VCU professors and French Film Festival directors.
3:30 p.m. | Master class: “Spotlight on Biodiversity and Sustainability in Documentary Filmmaking”

Severn, la voix de nos enfants (Severn, the voice of our children), by Jean-Paul Jaud. Followed by presentation by and discussion with director.

Severn was 12 years old when she questioned those responsible for taking care of the planet at the 1992 Rio de Janeiro International Earth Summit.  She demanded that leaders “Stop making children cry at night and make your actions reflect your words.”

Severn, now expecting her first child, has seen little change. The film follows her as she appeals for worldwide change one more time.

7:00 p.m. | Le Nom des gens (The Names of Love), by Michel Leclerc. Presented by cinematographer Vicent Mathias.

Bahia Benmahmoud lives by the saying, “Make love, not war” – a motto she takes very literally.

Benmahmoud usually has good results with her conservative enemies, until she meets the unassuming and cautious Arthur Martin.  Though she pins Martin as just another conservative, their budding romance reveals that he’s not so easily figured out.

9:30 p.m. | Nos enfants nous accuseront (Food Beware. Our Children Will Accuse Us), by Jean-Paul Jaud. Repeat showing followed by discussion with director.

Saturday, March 26

8:30 a.m. | First Short Film Series. Followed by discussion with director of photography Sara Sponga and directors Vincent Mariette, Violaine Lécuyer and Marc-Etienne Schwartz.

Le Concile lunatique (The Whimsical Council), by Christophe Gautry and Arnaud Demuynck.

The hero of this animated short opens a window of his attic to discover a lunar landscape that threatens to imprison him for eternity in a sheet of ice. When he escapes from the landscape, he hears a poem that he calls out to a singing streetlamp outside of his window.

Le Meilleur Ami de l’homme (Man’s Best Friend), by Vincent Mariette.

A canine security guard is told to get rid of his favorite narcoleptic Rottweiler and employs unorthodox means to save him.

Le Sans-Nom (The Nameless), by Violaine Lécuyer.

A nameless boy lives in his own world.  When drawn out of his fantasy to explore reality, he must face the wrath of his abandoned creations.

L’Incroyable Voyage de Margaux (Margaux’s Incredible Voyage), by Marc-Etienne Schwartz.

Margaux’s father Christian doesn’t know how to break the news that her beloved dog Ticky has died, and comes up with a plan to allow Ticky to remain alive in his daughter’s heart.

10:15 a.m. | Deux de la vague (Two in the Wave), by Emmanuel Laurent. Followed by discussion with the director.

A love of cinema sparks the long friendship between Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, which survives through the 50’s and 60’s and eventual success in filmmaking.  Godard’s involvement in French social upheaval in the late 60’s, however, is at odds with Truffaut’s own creatie path.

12:30 p.m. | L’Âge de raison (The Age of Reason), by Yann Samuell. Followed by discussion with actress Juliette Chappey.

“L’Âge de raison” follows Margaret, who discovers a letter on her fortieth birthday: “Dear Me, Today I’m seven years old and I am writing you this letter to help you remember the promises that I’ve made during the Age of Reason and to also remind you what I want to become…”

3:00 p.m. | Prunelle et Mélodie, by Mathieu Simonet.  Followed by a discussion with director Matthieu Simonet, producer Marc-Etienne Schwartz, actresses Julie Voisin and Maud Forget, actor Olli Barbe, and still photographer Matthiew Normand.

Two young friends, Prunelle (who is blind) and Mélodie (who is deaf and mute) hope to branch out of their specialized school after developing their own communication method – somewhere where their handicaps aren’t seen as such – and must tap into their creativity to do so.

Océans, by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud.  Followed by a discussion with director Jacques Perrin, production manager Olli Barbé and still photogapher Mathieu Simonet.

A showcase of marine environments and unrecognized or unknown water-swelling creatures, “Océans” is two hours of discovering what lies near the ocean floor.

7:00 p.m. | Official Reception at VCU Scott House.

9:30 p.m. | Demain dès l’aube (Tomorrow at Dawn), by Denis Dercourt. Followed by discussion with actor Aurélien Recoing.

A feature length film about two brothers “Demain dès l’aube” focuses on Matthieu’s struggle to pull Paul away from his fantasy world of recreating historic battles.

Sunday, March 27

8:15 a.m. | Second Short Film Series. Followed by discussion with directors Samuel Tilman, Julien Dexant, Olivier Treiner and Yzabel Dzisky.

Nuit blanche (White Night), by Samuel Tilman.

A young woman, Ariane, must lead a group of mountain climbers stuck on a mountaintop during a storm. Assisted only by a state policeman, Serge, the group must survive through the night and the freezing cold.

Ego Sum Petrus, by Julien Dexant.

Petrus, an aged poet, lives in the “poetry shop” he closed when his business fell on hard times. He stays in the shop with his typewriter, but his bitterness has left him with no inspiration.

L’Accordeur (The Tuner), by Olivier Treiner.

Young piano prodigy Adrien suffers a mental breakdown after failing in an international competition. Now a piano tuner, he fakes blindness to attract more customers – which causes him to witness more than he ever wanted to see.

Un jour sans (A Day Without), by Yzabel Dzisky.

The Fine Arts Academy in Vienna in 1908 spend a lunch break indulging in alcohol and poke fun of their first candidate, whose entire future depends on the next few minutes.

9:50 a.m. | Hitler à Hollywood, by Frédéric Sojcher.  Followed by discussion with director.

“Pulp Fiction” actress Maria de Medeiros is the director of a documentary that focuses on the 1930’s actress Micheline Presle. Presle tips Medeiros off about Luis Aramcheck, who has disappeared since World War II, and leads her to a trail of forbidden work that could have changed the history of international filmmaking.

12:05 p.m. | Pieds nus sur les limaces (Barefoot on Slugs), by Fabienne Berthaud.  Followed by discussion with director.

When Lily and Clara’s mother dies, city slicker Clara must leave the hustle and bustle of her life to try to take care of the free-spirited Lily, and ends up discovering a new sense of freedom.  (The film is based off the book by the director, which will be available for sale and signing at the festival.)

2:40 p.m. | L’Empire du Milieu du Sud (The Mid-South Empire), by Jacques Perrin and Eric Deroo.  Followed by a discussion with director Jacques Perrin and production manager Olli Barbe.

Telling the story of Vietnam from the time of French colonization to the fall of Saigon, “L’Empire du Milieu du Sud” uses images of unreleased archives from all around the world, paired with literary texts from French, Vietnamese and American authors to recreate the story of Vietnam.

5:00 p.m. | Mon pote (My buddy), by Marc Esposito.

Based on a true story that happened to director Marc Esposito, “Mon pote” focuses on the unlikely friendship of Victor, an editor of an automobile magazine, and Bruno, an incarcerated robber. Bruno requests to work with Victor during the day and return to jail at night.

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