The 30th Cork French Film Festival has launched its 2019 programme, which includes themes of unity, triumph over adversity, and love. Twenty films will be shown over the week with a total of 40 nominations for the 2019 Cesar Awards Ceremony.

French beatmaker, producer, turntablist and DJ – Jean du Voyage will be flying into Cork for one night only for the festival to play at the Opening Night Gala at St Peter’s.

This year the Cork French Film Festival is celebrating 30 years and it will run from Sunday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 10th. The opening night film is Sink Or Swim (Le Grand Bain), which was one of this year’s box-office hits in France. It tells the humorous account of the adventures of an all male synchronised swimming team in existential crisis. The closing film is Cyrano de Bergerac which stars Gérard Depardieu, a romantic poet cursed by an impossibly large nose. This version is a newly restored print of the original classic film.

Famous French actors, directors and DJs have been invited to Cork to take part in the festival. There will also be a number of food events during this year’s festival as well as a focus on environmental issues in partnership with the Cork Environmental Forum.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Ensemble” (Together) and organisers say having this theme aims to explore the various ways in which we are interconnected, in which we try to address life’s challenges and make sense of life together in this era of uncertainty.

France and Ireland have vibrant and historic ties. Culture is an important part of maintaining and strengthening our links so it is particularly appropriate that the theme of this year’s festival is Ensemble (Together), exploring how we are all interconnected. Now that Ireland has become an Observer at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie our sense of togetherness is greater than ever. I would like to congratulate the Cork French Film Festival on its 30th anniversary and wish it every success.
An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD

The Lumière Brothers marked the beginning of a joint cinematic history between France and Ireland when they recorded the first ever images from Ireland as early as 1897. Cork is home to the second-largest community of French citizens in Ireland and the 30th edition of the French Film Festival organised by Alliance Française is a vibrant illustration of this special relationship. Ireland’s recent entry in the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie is a symbol of the successful influence culture and arts can have in developing friendly relations between our two countries.
H. E. Stéphane Crouzat, Ambassador of France in Ireland

This festival has become a huge part of the diverse local cultural scene and has brought the best of French Cinema to the city for the past 30 years. I would like to acknowledge the work of Alliance Française de Cork which strives to bring the very best of French Cinema to Cork each year and which has contributed to the development of Franco-Irish relations since 1946.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn

The shadow of Brexit looming over us is making us feel more acutely than ever this sense of interdependence and reinforces even more the strong ties between Ireland and France. We are hoping this year’s festival will appeal to people of all ages. Some of the films might be difficult, with themes such as unemployment and social struggles, because these films give us a glimpse in other people’s life, their hopes and their challenges. There will be comedies of course, as well as family movies and classics. I am very proud of this year’s program, as it is a very sensitive account of what it means to be human.
Directeur of Alliance Française de Cork, Jean-Christophe Trentinella

The movies will be shown at The Gate Cinema and the programme for the 30th Cork French Film Festival has been curated by Guest Festival Programmer, Marie-Pierre Richard.

Festival sponsors include: Amarenco, Dassault Systèmes, Cork City Council, CIT (Cork Institute of Technology), Cork Airport, The River Lee Hotel, Irish Distillers, Stonewell Cider, Frank Hederman, Ballymaloe, On the Pig’s Back, The Parlour Cafe, La Ville de la Rochelle, La Fondation Alliance Française. Festival partners include: The Gate Cinemas Cork, Brittany Ferries, The Friary, L’Ambassade de France en Irlande, L’Institut Français, IFI, Unifrance, Cork Environmental Forum,  UCC and UCC Department of French.

Some of the highlights of the 30th Cork French Film Festival

OPENING FILM: Sink Or Swim (Le Grand Bain)

One of this year’s box-office hit in France, Sink or Swim is a warm and humorous account of the adventures of an all male synchronised swimming team in existential crisis. Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric) an unemployed family man in midlife crisis, enrolls at the local pool with a team of male amateur synchronized swimmers. Bertrand is not the only man in crisis, and a bond forms among them.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Official Selection, Out of Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2018

CLOSING FILM: Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano (Gérard Depardieu), a popular officer and romantic poet, loves his beautiful cousin Roxane (Anne Brochet) since childhood but has never dared tell her. Cursed by an impossibly large nose, Cyrano despairs of any hope of winning Roxane’s heart. As a consolation, he offers to help Christian (Vincent Perez), a fellow officer who also has feelings for Roxane and is beloved by Roxane, but lacks wit and eloquence. Veteran director Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s film adaptation is skillful, vivid, a celebration of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play, with elaborate sets and costumes enhanced by the photography of Pierre Lhomme. The film went on to win 10 Césars, and Depardieu’s magical performance, both subtle and larger-than-life, earned him an Oscar nomination and won Best Actor César award and Best Actor at the Cannes Film festival.

A 4K restored version of Cyrano de Bergerac, with the support of Lagardère Studios Distribution. Special thanks to Agnès Kieft and Emmanuel Bornet.

Memoir of War (La Douleur)

Set in Nazi-occupied France in 1944, Marguerite (Mélanie Thierry) is an active Resistance member alongside husband writer Robert Antelme. When Antelme is deported to Dachau by the Gestapo, Marguerite befriends French collaborator Rabier (Benoît Magimel) to gain information on her husbands whereabouts.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: France’s official entry for the 2019 Oscars

CFF will welcome director Emmanuel Finkiel as our special guest to introduce his film, and host a Q&A post-screening

The Quest of Alain Ducasse  

Director Gilles de Maistre (also featuring at the festival with Mia and the White Lion) embarks on a journey to discover the world of 18 Michelin star Alain Ducasse, a chef with an incomparable talent for taste; and a businessman with 23 restaurants across the globe, now busy preparing new restaurant ‘Ore’ in the Château de Versailles, where he will recreate the luxurious of meals served to the court in the 17th century. De Maistre follows him everywhere over a two year period, allowing us to experience, with privileged access, his incessant travelling schedule, his endless food-sampling and his tireless quest for perfection.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Culinary Cinema Section, Berlin International Film Festival 2018

The Time Of The Forests (LE TEMPS DES FORÊTS)  

Dedicated to the ‘foresters who resist’, François-Xavier Drouet’s insightful documentary looks at how France’s once diversified, complex forestry has been whittled down to only a few tree species as forestry undergoes an unprecedented phase of industrialization resultant of excessive consumer demand.

Lola And Her Brothers  

Set in Angoulême, this is a delicate, and infectious comedy of a French provincial upper-middle class siblings. Lola (Ludivine Sagnier), a lawyer in her thirties, feeling stifled by life, has just met Zoher (Ramzy Bedia). Benoît (Jean-Paul Rouve), an optician in his forties and with a compulsive temper, is just about to marry for the third time and with it, is about to become a father, something he’s not quite ready for.

Amin

Amin (Moustapha Mbengue) has been living in Paris for nine years working on construction sites. He lives in a hostel far from his wife Aïsha (Marème N’Diaye) and their three children, only getting to visit them in homeland Senegal once or twice a year. While doing work at the house of French divorcée Gabrielle (Emmanuelle Devos), Amin begins a loving relationship with her. Philippe Faucon (Fatima, 2015) exactingly revolves the story around Amin, depicting the life of a migrant in France, his traumatic uprooting for economic reasons and the loneliness he faces as a result. Shot both in France and Senegal, the film is authentic in its depiction of a life scarred by emotional and geographic distance. A nuanced portrait of Amin served by a radiant photography.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2018

At War (En Guerre)

When Perrin Industries decides to shut down an automotive parts manufacturing plan in southwest France, their 1100 workers refuse to roll over.  Having already made financial sacrifices for the promise of job security, and despite the company’s continuing profitability, the workers, led by spokesman and union representative Laurent Amédéo (an exceptional Vincent Lindon), fight back loudly against this brutal decision. In their fourth collaboration, director Stéphane Brizé (A Woman’s Life; The Measure of a Man) and actor Vincent Lindon deliver an intense, precise film, somewhere between raw documentary and reportage. Shot in only 23 days, the camera closely follows the action as it happens, plunging us with intense realism into the heart of the conflict. Bertrand Blessing’s score beautifully echoes and amplifies the intensifying rage of the workers on the protest battlefield.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2018

An Impossible Love (Un Amour Impossible)

Catherine Corsini’s subtle yet gripping, heart-wrenching chronicle set in late 1950s rural France masterfully recounts the story of Rachel, a provincial working class woman from Châteauroux (played by a wonderful Virginie Efira) over the course of forty years. Meeting Philippe (Niels Schneider) who is from a privileged background, at a ballroom dance, they soon see each other every day, as an intense but short-lived and ill-fated love story develops. When Philippe leaves for Paris, Rachel discovers she is pregnant and will have to face alone the challenges of raising their daughter Chantal. Rachel will never give up her efforts to ensure that Chantal knows and has a relationship with her father. A faithful adaptation of Christine Angot’s novel An Impossible Love, the story, told in voice-over speaks of mother-daughter relationships, the gender and class divisions, and how together they must overcome and reconcile the dramatic and devastating consequences of a toxic love affair.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Rotterdam International Film Festival 2019; BFI London Film Festival 2018

A Faithful Man (L’Homme Fidèle)

Putting himself front and centre, actor-director Louis Garrel directs, co-writes with Jean-Claude Carrière, and stars in this alluring tale of a love triangle, mixed with a twist of murder mystery and coming-of-age story! Abel (Louis Garrel) has been living with Marianne (Laetitia Casta, Garrel’s real life wife) in her apartment. All seems to be well until Marianne announces that she is pregnant but of her lover Paul. Abel and Marianne then separate. Eight years have elapsed and now Abel learns that Paul has died. At the funeral he reunites with Marianne and is introduced to her son Joseph. He also meets Paul’s sister Eve (Lily-Rose Depp), whom he knew when she was a child. Garrel explains that he tried to build this film ‘like a short story: offbeat, surprising and fresh, the antithesis of a heavy psychological drama… In essence, a contemporary comedy of manners.’ Filmed in dark tones and using voice-overs, Garrel gives fresh impetus to the French New Wave style.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Toronto International Film Festival 2018; San Sebastian International Film Festival 2018.

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