Some of the things to look forward to ahead of the Cork French Film Festival

Marjorie Brennan looks ahead to the Cork French Film Festival

FRENCH cinema continues to attract film fans who like to watch something a little different from the endless superhero franchises, reboots and sequels that Hollywood seems to churn out endlessly these days. Cork French Film Festival, in collaboration with Alliance Française, has been presenting the best of Gallic cinema, along with A-list visitors for almost three decades.

This year’s programme, presented in numerous locations across the city, is as diverse and thought-provoking as ever, says festival director Morgan Desméroux. 

Highlights include:

The Apparition: Opening the festival is The Apparition, in which writer-director Xavier Giannoli tackles the themes of faith, suffering and man’s capacity for violence and love.

It stars one of France’s best-known actors Vincent Lindon as a war reporter who on his return from the Middle East is asked by the Vatican to investigate the claims of a young woman who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary. (Tues, Mar 6, 6.30pm, The Gate.)

Sandrine Bonnaire: One of France’s most celebrated female stars, Sandrine Bonnaire, will attend the festival for the screening of her latest film Catch the Wind, along with director Gael Morel.

The film examines the plight of the disappearing working class in France and the exploitation of foreign workers. Bonnaire gives another powerful performance as a French seamstress who moves to Morocco after her company relocates there. Bonnaire and Morel will participate in a Q&A after the screening of Catch the Wind, and will also conduct a masterclass in conjunction with the French department of UCC.

The Guardians marks a return for French auteur Xavier Beauvois and stars another French acting legend, Nathalie Baye.

It is a fascinating look at the lives of women in rural France and the heroic roles they played in World War I, even though they were far from the trenches. “It is a very powerful movie and deserves a large audience,” says Desméroux. (Sun, Mar 4, 4pm, The Gate.)

Custody: One of the most eagerly anticipated films to come out of France recently is Xavier Legrand’s debut feature, Custody, which also screens at the festival. Winner of the Silver Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival, it doesn’t go on general

release until April. The compelling domestic drama blends social realism and psychological thriller in a

portrait of a family in the aftermath of an acrimonious divorce. (Sat, March 3, 6.40pm, The Gate.)

Reinventing Marvin: Closing the festival is Reinventing Marvin, from Coco by Chanel director Anne Fontaine, which follows a boy from his miserable childhood in a country village to adulthood in Paris as he explores his sexuality. Martin/Marvin is played by Finnegan Oldfield, who will be present for the screening and a Q&A afterwards. (Wed, Mar 7, 6.30pm, The Gate.)

Daco: Also showcased in this year’s festival programme will be the talents of French street artist, Daco, famous for his paintings on the walls and subways of Paris. His eye-catching and colourful renditions of wild animals will be displayed at the Alliance Française. There will also be a screening at the Crawford Gallery of a short film documenting Daco’s work, after which he will participate in a Q&A with John O’Sullivan from Mad About Cork, the volunteer group reinvigorating run-down urban spaces throughout the city. Daco will also do a live painting in Cork city centre, in a location yet to be revealed. (Daco and Mad about Cork, Sat, Mar 3, 12pm, Crawford Art Gallery; exhibition at Alliance Française de Cork, 36 Mary Street, Mar 2-Apr 30.)

Cork French Film Festival, Mar 2-7;

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