French Film Festibule for Melbourne: with timetable of best films

Here’s another post highlighting a film festival. It derives from my frustration at being able to actually work out what’s worth seeing and when from festival propaganda which is mainly directed at trying to get you to go, not helping you work out what you’d like to see. Regulars know that I’ve been doing this for some time. I get someone in India to identify films that have passed a quality threshold – judged by standard review sites and other reviews and then run them up for me. Then I put them up here for everyone’s benefit.

However I don’t think I’ve ever got any feedback on this, so I’d appreciate it if people could offer some comments on the usefulness of the service. Note because it’s still a hassle to identify a film and then work out where and when a film is on, there’s now a new feature, which is a timetable at the bottom of the list of best films which have been identified. That way if you’re not studiously trying to get to the best films, but want to go out on a particular night or nights and want to know if, where and when there are any good films on that night, you can now do so using the table.

Top Picks

Trailer Icon 03 Gemma Bovery (Opening Night)
Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals Gemma and Charles Bovery, but their behavior also seems to be inspired by Flaubert’s heroes.
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

When Charlie, an attractive but self-doubting 17-year-old meets the charismatic, forthright and unruly Sarah, they immediately form an intense and exhilarating bond. Sarah offers both companionship and support for Charlie at a time when she desperately needs it, while her unstable mother copes badly with impending divorce. But their inseparable, idyllic existence soon steers into dangerous territory…
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

It is August 25th, 1944. The Allies have entered Paris, and shortly before dawn the German military governor of the city is preparing to dynamite the capital’s famous monuments and bridges on Hitler’s orders. Of course we know that he changed his mind-but why? Was it thanks to his meeting with the Swedish Consul-General, Raoul Nordling?
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

The year is 1954, the war is beginning and village schoolteacher Daru, an ex-French Army soldier, is caught in the crossfire. Born in Algeria but Spanish by lineage, he’s a man out of time and place, perceived as alien by both locals and colonizers alike. So when he reluctantly agrees to escort a dissident to a regional police station to face trial for murder, a series of incidents and revelations force the question of where Daru’s loyalties truly lie.
????? Cine-Vue
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

In the Bélier family, everyone is deaf, except dutiful 16-year-old Paula. She acts as an indispensable interpreter for her parents and younger brother, especially in the running of the family dairy farm. Though her salt-of-the-earth father has decided to run for mayor, spurred on by her vivacious but over-involved mother, Paula’s attentions are very much elsewhere. She’s witnessed the handsome new boy at school sign up for the choir, and impulsively joined too. It’s not long before her music teacher discovers her considerable talent, however his encouragement only exacerbates the matter of Paula’s independence.
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German POW camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
????? Cine-Vue
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

Bulgaria near the end of World War I: Conan leads a band of 50 ruthless French fighters who love hand-to-hand combat. At war’s end, the unit goes to Bucharest, where Conan tries to keep them out of trouble, defends them when they behave as warriors, and finds he’s unsuited for peacetime. His friendship with Norbert, a teacher turned lieutenant, is tested when Norbert accepts a job as court-martial prosecutor because he’s learned that Conan will be facing charges and he wants to protect his friend.
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

Born deaf and blind, Marie Heurtin has no way to communicate with those around her. Unable to cope with his daughter’s violent behavior, Marie’s father takes her to the famed Larnay Institute. It is there that Marie meets Sister Marguerite, a young nun who takes Marie under her wing. Armed with her faith, Sister Marguerite works tirelessly to bring Marie out of her solitary darkness.
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

The story concerns three brothers who are all looking for a change. Antoine is in his mid-30s and lives with Adar, although he sleeps on the floor. Louis, the youngest brother, is engaged to his high school sweetheart, but is having an affair. Meanwhile Gérard, the oldest brother, can’t get over his ex-wife and spends his days working at his parents’ unsuccessful clothing store. When Antoine’s friend, Ariel, enters their little world, everything changes. Decisions will have to be made-but can the brothers find an easy way out?
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

The true story behind the Hollywood hit The French Connection is now told from the European perspective in this exciting police drama. Pierre Michel is a relentlessly dedicated magistrate who is reassigned to Marseille in 1975. The port city is ruled not by law, but by the terrifying mafia boss, Gaetan Zampa. Before long Michel realizes that to make a difference he will need to change his methods. This tough, fascinating film tells the little known story of how a ruthless international drug syndicate came undone.
????? IMDB
????? Joblo
Show Timings:

In the early days of the First World War, a young French lieutenant is hit by shellfire, disfiguring his face. Now he must spend the rest of the war in the officer’s ward at the Val de Grâce military hospital in Paris. Five long years, and his life will change forever…
????? BBC
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

Trailer Icon 03 Paris, je t’aime (Closing Night)
Through the neighborhoods of Paris, love is veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened.
????? BBC
????? IMDB
Show Timings:

Top Picks Melbourne Schedule Table
Date Palace
Cinema Como
Palace
Balwyn
Palace
Westgarth
Palace
Brighton Bay
Kino
Cinemas
Wednesday
4 March
Gemma Bovery
(7.00 PM)
Thursday
5 March
Diplomacy
(1.45 PM)
The Bélier Family
(4.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(4.00 PM)
Breathe
(1.00 PM)

Far From Men
(3.30 PM)

Grand Illusion
(6.00 PM)
Friday
6 March
Captain Conan
(1.30 PM)
Diplomacy
(4.00 PM)

The Easy Way Out
(8.45 PM)
The Bélier Family
(2.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(3.30 PM)

Marie’s Story
(6.30 PM)
Saturday
7 March
Gemma Bovery
(4.15 PM)

Marie’s Story
(2.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(1.45 PM)

The Connection
(4.00 PM)
Diplomacy
(9.15 PM)
The Bélier Family
(6.30 PM)
Sunday
8 March
The Bélier Family
(4.15 PM)

Marie’s Story
(8.30 PM)

The Easy Way Out
(6.45 PM)
Far From Men
(4.30 PM)
Grand Illusion
(11.45 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(6.30 PM)

The Officer’s Ward
(8.45 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(1.30 PM)

The Connection
(6.30 PM)
Monday
9 March
The Connection
(1.45 PM)
Captain Conan
(6.45 PM)
Diplomacy
(2.15 PM)

Marie’s Story
(2.00 PM)
Far From Men
(8.15 PM)

The Bélier Family
(3.45 PM)
Tuesday
10 March
The Officer’s Ward
(9.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(2.00 PM)

Diplomacy
(4.30 PM)
Breathe
(1.30 PM)

The Bélier Family
(4.00 PM)
Grand Illusion
(3.30 PM)
Wednesday
11 March
Gemma Bovery
(4.15 PM)

Breathe
(9.00 PM)
Breathe
(4.00 PM)
Far From Men
(4.30 PM)

The Bélier Family
(7.00 PM)
Diplomacy
(6.30 PM)

The Easy Way Out
(8.30 PM)
The Bélier Family
(1.00 PM)

The Officer’s Ward
(8.15 PM)
Thursday
12 March
Breathe
(4.15 PM)

The Connection
(1.45 PM)
Breathe
(6.45 PM)
Diplomacy
(1.00 PM)
Friday
13 March
Far From Men
(4.15 PM)

The Bélier Family
(1.45 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(1.30 PM)
The Officer’s Ward
(9.15 PM)
The Bélier Family
(4.30 PM)

Grand Illusion
(9.00 PM)
The Easy Way Out
(8.30 PM)
Saturday
14 March
Diplomacy
(6.30 PM)
Diplomacy
(4.30 PM)

The Bélier Family
(6.45 PM)
The Bélier Family
(7.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(6.30 PM)

Breathe
(4.30 PM)

Far From Men
(8.45 PM)

Marie’s Story
(2.30 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(8.00 PM)

Breathe
(6.45 PM)

Diplomacy
(6.00 PM)

Marie’s Story
(4.00 PM)
Sunday
15 March
Breathe
(6.30 PM)

Far From Men
(2.00 PM)

The Bélier Family
(4.00 PM)

Grand Illusion
(12.00 PM)
Far From Men
(4.15 PM)

Marie’s Story
(2.00 PM)
The Connection
(9.15 PM)
Breathe
(8.45 PM)

Diplomacy
(6.45 PM)
The Bélier Family
(3.45 PM)

Captain Conan
(8.15 PM)
Monday
16 March
The Officer’s Ward
(6.45 PM)
Captain Conan
(8.45 PM)
Breathe
(4.30 PM)
Grand Illusion
(1.30 PM)

Captain Conan
(3.45 PM)
Tuesday
17 March
Far From Men
(9.30 PM)

Grand Illusion
(6.45 PM)

The Connection
(1.30 PM)
Grand Illusion
(2.00 PM)

The Easy Way Out
(7.00 PM)
Far From Men
(4.00 PM)

The Connection
(8.45 PM)
Breathe
(8.30 PM)

The Connection
(6.00 PM)
Wednesday
18 March
Grand Illusion
(1.45 PM)
Marie’s Story
(4.00 PM)
Captain Conan
(8.45 PM)

The Connection
(4.00 PM)
Thursday
19 March
The Easy Way Out
(6.45 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(6.50 PM)

The Connection
(4.15 PM)
Friday
20 March
Diplomacy
(9.00 PM)

The Bélier Family
(6.45 PM)

Marie’s Story
(4.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(6.30 PM)

Grand Illusion
(1.30 PM)
Far From Men
(9.15 PM)
Diplomacy
(6.45 PM)

Marie’s Story
(4.00 PM)

Marie’s Story
(9.00 PM)
The Connection
(3.30 PM)
Saturday
21 March
Gemma Bovery
(9.15 PM)
Breathe
(9.00 PM)

Diplomacy
(6.45 PM)

The Bélier Family
(8.45 PM)
Far From Men
(4.30 PM)

The Bélier Family
(6.30 PM)
Diplomacy
(8.45 PM)
Sunday
22 March
Paris, je t’aime
(8.45 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(4.15 PM)

Diplomacy
(2.15 PM)

Far From Men
(7.00 PM)
Gemma Bovery
(2.45 PM)

Breathe
(5.00 PM)
Diplomacy
(6.45 PM)

Grand Illusion
(4.30 PM)
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NKG
NKG
6 years ago

Hi Nicholas,

I always find this post useful to help me choose what to see, so thank you for doing it. The table is a great idea, but I live in Sydney, so I guess I will have to do my own.

NKG

Rob Bray
Rob Bray
6 years ago

Saw two films in the festival last night:

Une Nouvelle Amie (The New Girl Friend)
Mixed feelings – I really could not get into the movie – the motivations and behaviours of the characters generally never felt plausibly real – except for an odd scene – especially in the gay nightclub. Also the use of very upmarket suburbia as a setting was a bit odd. The two lead actors are though both very good.

Diplomatie (Diplomacy)
The screenplay was based on a play – and to be honest while I think it would make a superb piece of theatre it doesn’t quite work as a film. A film which pretends to be ‘real’ in this case cannot convey what an ‘artificial’ world of theatre can in focussing on the interaction between the two central players – on top of that we all know how it ends – as Bogie said “we will always have Paris” – so the tension has to come from the dialogue. Again though the two actors are very good.

Finally for those with struggling french who want to see how much they still understand both of these movies are very accessible.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
6 years ago

Seen three films so far – all excellent.

“Far From Men” (based on an Albert Camus short-story “The Guest), Francois Ozon’s “The New Girlfriend” and the adaptation of Francois Bizot’s book “The Gate” based on his time as a captive of the Khmer Rouge. I’ll try to write more on them if I have the time.

Rob Bray
Rob Bray
6 years ago

Saw The Bélier family tonight – a nice feel good movie. Take lots of tissues if you are a mother whose daughter has grown up and left home. Has some nice comic turns. Will also resonate with lots of teens.

Rob Bray
Rob Bray
6 years ago

Just in case someone is still looking at the thread, two more.

The last diamond/Le Dernier diamant – a reasonable heist movie with solid acting and the occassional bit of implausability and not too much action.

Elle l’adore. This I really enjoyed – a police/psychological drama with nice plot twists and left me entirely uncertain about who I sympathised with and how I ‘wanted’ it to end. All the characters have some nice flaws. Not one for those addicted to action movies – since there is virtually none. Very good acting – especially from Sandrine Kiberlain. One to sit back and enjoy.

Rob Bray
Rob Bray
6 years ago

Saw my last two tonight.

Far from men/Loin des hommes
I agree with Nick – well worth seeing, but this film is bleak, the landscape is bleak the choices are bleak, the lives are bleak and there are just so many things that are wrong with the world they are living in. Don’t expect to walk away feeling good

The Blue room/La chambre bleue
A well presented story of an affair which moved (or perhaps even started in obsession) – and then slowly spins into a loss of everything (except if you are the obsessive partner and see things differently.)

Rob Bray
Rob Bray
6 years ago

Mohamed is not at war – he is young man desparately trying to save his family from the perpetuation of mad cycles of vengance in the only way he can. To my mind he leaves with uncertaintly wondering at the cost that might have to be borne by his ‘saviour’ to give him freedom.

Daru is seeing the army he seved in lose all honour – and his old comrades (except for one) slaughtered – he has tried the peaceful path and recognises the futility of this – and on top of this is he always going to be an outsider – never French never Arab – yet Algeria is his only coutry.

And we know that Algeria is about to face another 8 years of this

For some reason this did not leave me with a spring in my step.