Never has this annual festival been held on a scale so grand, with the addition of gastronomy celebrations and education-related events on top of music, dance, photography and cinema.
Organised by the Alliance Francaise and the Embassy of France in Malaysia, and supported by the Institut Francais, Le French Festival – formerly known as the French Art And Film Festival – will also be extending its presence to first-time participating cities such as Johor Baru, Johor and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in its 15th edition.
The French film festival, as in previous editions, remains the cornerstone of Le French Festival, stresses Alliance Francaise de Kuala Lumpur director Jean-Pierre Dumont at a recent press conference in KL.
And what a treat is in store for film enthusiasts, with 14 movies offering comedy, drama, adventure and romance in spades.
The film segment of Le French Festival runs from May 12 to 29 in the Klang Valley (GSC Pavilion, Mid Valley, Nu Sentral and 1Utama) and June 2 to 12 in Penang (GSC Gurney Plaza).
This year’s film selection is very much inclined towards movies adapted from books. Of the 14 films on the list, eight are adapted from novels (of which two are based on real events).
Fans of French actress Melanie Thierry take note: She will be in KL to present the May 19 screening of The Princess Of Montpensier (La Princesse de Montpensier) at GSC Pavilion and will be hosting a Q&A session after the movie.
The 34-year-old actress started acting in her late teens.
“She has become a very important film and stage actress in France, and her coming to Kuala Lumpur is a very nice occasion for us to bring ‘live cinema’ to the city,” Dumont said.
Here is a look at the lineup for the French film festival:
The Bélier Family (La Famille Bélier), comedy
Everyone in this family is deaf, except 16-year-old Paula who serves as their interpreter. When her love for singing clashes with her parents’ expectations, will she flee, fight – or will her dreams finally take flight? Louane Emera, who plays Paula, is a semi-finalist in the second season of The Voice.
Wolf Totem (Le Dernier Loup), adventure
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Chinese author Jiang Rong, this movie transports us into the sweeping plains of inner Mongolia where Chen, a bright student tasked with educating a nomadic tribe of shepherds, raises a wolf cub against all odds.
The Princess Of Montpensier (La Princesse de Montpensier), drama/romance/history
Madame de La Fayette’s 1662 novella revolving around the intrigues of love, marriage and politics is brought to life in this film adaptation. Catch actress Melanie Thierry, who plays the protagonist, at the movie screening at GSC Pavilion on May 19.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), animation
From the director of Kung Fu Panda comes a story that expands on the well-loved universe created by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A little girl meets an eccentric neighbour who introduces her to the world of The Little Prince.
OSS 117, Lost In Rio (OSS 117, Rio Ne Repond Plus), comedy
Inspired by the 1950s novels by French writer Jean Bruce, this parody of the spy film genre follows the adventures of OSS 117 on a mission to deliver a blackmail payment.
Memories (Les Souvenirs), comedy drama
When Romain’s 85-year-old grandmother escapes from her nursing home, he sets out to find her and discovers more than he bargains for. Based on a novel by David Foenkinos.
Next Time I’ll Aim For The Heart (La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai Le Coeur), thriller
Adapted from the novel Un assassin au-dessus de tout soupcon by Yvan Stefanovitch, this story of an unassuming serial killer operating in the Oise region of France is based on real events.
In The Name Of My Daughter (L’homme Qu’on Aimait Trop), drama
After a failed marriage, Agnes returns to Nice to start anew and meets an older lawyer whom she falls head over heels in love with.
Caprice (Caprice), romantic comedy
Primary school teacher Clement is happily in love with actress Alicia when Caprice pops into the picture and a near-disastrous romantic entanglement ensues.
Not My Type (Pas Son Genre), comedy/drama/romance
A philosophy teacher who hates the provincial life is transferred to a small town where he meets a hairstylist whose idea of a fun night out is singing karaoke with her friends. Adapted from a novel by Philippe Vilain.
Eden, Lost In Music (Eden), musical
Plunge into the recklessness of youth and the never-ending music of the Paris underground scene in the 1990s.
Hippocrates: Diary Of A French Doctor (Hippocrates), comedy/drama
A young intern making his first rounds in a hospital in Paris quickly realises that the medical world is not what it seems.
In The Courtyard (Dans La Cour), comedy/drama
Antoine befriends a neurotic retiree who is worried to death about the building collapsing when she discovers a crack in the wall.
3 Hearts (3 Coeurs), drama
Does everything really happen for a reason? At what cost? Plenty, when Marc finds out that his wife is the sister of a woman he met one night at the train station.
Visit lefrenchfestival.com.my for more information on Le French Festival.