CULTURE

Francophone Film Festival returns to Athens, Thessaloniki

Movies from three continents make up the 16th edition of the Francophone Film Festival, which is running in Athens from March 19 to 25 before traveling to Thessaloniki from March 26 to April 1. The number of works comprising this year’s event stands at 43, ranging from award-winning feature films to documentaries.

Organized by the French Institute in Greece since its inception, the festival has hosted hundreds of films over the years, along with many of the actors, directors and producers who make them. Among those expected in Athens this time around is Karin Viard, the French actress starring in the event’s opener, Eric Lartigau’s “La famille Belier” (The Belier Family). A blockbusting comedy boasting 7 million tickets and counting in France, the movie tells the story of a teenage girl growing up in a deaf family, who discovers her talent for singing.

Does the 240-movie-per-year French film industry reflect the country’s state of mind, in the wake of events such as the Charlie Hebdo massacre, for instance?

“It’s difficult to transfer the events of immediate history into fiction,” Elise Jalladeau, IFA’s audiovisual media attache, told Kathimerini English Edition, adding that films exploring the Algerian War that took place from 1954 to 1962, for instance, started emerging in France only a few years ago.

Meanwhile, the Francophone Film Festival is carried out in association with Unifrance, an organization promoting French cinema beyond its country of origin, as well as the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Athens International Film Festival, known as Premiere Nights. Supporting the festival are the embassies of France, Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg, Morocco, the Czech Republic and Tunisia.

While a number of films are being screened in the festival’s competition sector – where the jury is led by Greek filmmaker Panos Koutras – the event also features a Panorama of Francophone Cinema section, a focus on women directors, an ethnography festival and various special screenings and parallel events.

Screenings take place at the Danaos, Embassy Nova Odeon and IFA’s Theo Angelopoulos Auditorium in Athens and the Olympion – Pavlos Zannas cinema in Thessaloniki.

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For more information, visit www.ifa.gr and www.festivalfilmfrancophone.gr. Admission costs 6 euros at the Danaos and Embassy Nova Odeon and 5 euros at IFA.