Luminaries from the world of French cinema have long graced the Cork French Film Festival (March 1-8) and now in it’s 26th year it remains an exciting cinematic prospect as ever. French actor and director Mathieu Amalric, best known for his star roles in Oscar nominated The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Steven Spielberg’s Munich, and as the villain in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, will open the festival with his latest film The Blue Room (La Chambre Bleue) on Sunday 1st March.

Organised by the Alliance Française de Cork, the 26th Cork French Film Festival showcases the best in current French cinema and explores the vast work of dynamic festival guest Mathieu Amalric in a special retrospective. Amalric is becoming increasingly renowned as a filmmaking talent, winning the best director award in Cannes Film Festival for his frisky burlesque drama On Tour. Amalric will be in Cork for the week of the festival and will take part in a series of Q&A’s and deliver a Masterclass in Acting and Directing.

Announcing the programme, Festival Director Paul Bloom said “Mathieu Amalric has become one of the finest actors in modern cinema, honing his craft in films by directors as diverse as Arnaud Desplechin, Julian Schnabel, Alain Resnais, Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson. In the meantime, he has developed an equally impressive career as a filmmaker and won the best director award in Cannes for his burlesque sensation On Tour. He also stars in the film and co-wrote the script! We can’t wait to sit down and talk with this brilliant and adventurous artist and feature a wonderfully eclectic retrospective of his work”.

Award Winning author, illustrator and artist Tomi Ungerer will present the screening of Moonman. Based on his classic children’s book, this beautifully animated film is a German, French and Irish co-production involving Ireland’s Oscar nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon.

Exciting feature films include Abderrahmane Sissako’s Oscar nominated Timbuktu, a masterful tale of Islamic Jihadists occupying an African village. The Irish premieres of Canadian virtuoso Xavier Dolan’s latest marvel, Mommy, Wildlife directed by Cedric Kahn and Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart, a true life chiller-thriller starring Guillaume Canet. Ce?line Sciamma’s indie hit Girlhood, a beautifully observed examination of a young girl’s search for identity in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris, closes the festival on 8th March.

While the main programme of screenings takes place at the Gate Cinema, the Festival will host a series of special film screenings in venues all over Cork. Pop up parties with our festival band featuring the amazingly encyclopaedic raconteur Christophe Rohr on accordion and gypsy jazz guru Zac Gvi on piano, clarinet and saxophone will ensure a lively festival atmosphere throughout the week.

  • The Festival celebrates the legacy of Max Linder, a pioneer of slapstick comedy whom Charlie Chaplin referred to as “the great master” and will screen a selection of his silent slapstick short films with burlesque musical accompaniment. (March 4, River Lee Hotel)
  • Farmgate Café will be transformed into a Parisian den with a screening of Germain Dulac’s 1927 surreal silent film L’Invitation au Voyage accompanied by the resident festival orchestra with Christophe Rohr and Zac Gvi, (March 5, Farmgate Café, English Market)
  • A real treat for lovers of food and wine is the screening of the documentary Natural Resistance, directed by Jonathan Nossiter, which follows a group of Italian winemakers dedicated to resisting the prevalent use of chemicals. The film will be followed by a rustic Italian inspired banquet paired with ‘natural wines’ from the growers featured in the film. (March 6, Ballymaloe Grainstore)
  • The Festival welcomes back the very gifted Cork composer Irene Buckley to perform her specially composed score for Jean Epstein’s 1928 silent classic The Fall of the House of Usher. CFFF commissioned the score in 2014 and it is now on an international tour featuring at the Glasgow Film Festival in late February. This performance features a newly restored version of the film and additional live musical elements. (March 7, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral)

In addition to Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the festival will screen a selection of his wonderful Breton short films while Jonathan Broda, Lecturer of History of Film at Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris will present a conference on the silent master, known for introducing a poetic and dreamlike sensibility to cinema in the 1920’s.

See for tickets and information on all screenings.

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