CULTURE

A broader, deeper film festival

The Francophone Film Festival in Athens has by now become established as one of the capital’s main film institutions. What started out timidly as the French Film Festival seven years ago, has enjoyed great development, equivalent to the every competitive growth of the French film industry. The festival’s organizers also had the clever idea of transforming it into a francophone festival, instead of just a French one, so that they could include all other interesting films made in the French language. In 2005 alone, 15,000 people attended the festival. The increasing appeal that French cinema has for the Greek public is also evident in that last season Greek film distributors purchased 40 French films, more than any other European country. This year’s festival will kick off on March 30. As always, it will be held at the Attikon cinema and at the Apollon Filmcenter on Stadiou Street and will run to April 8. It will then travel to Thessaloniki’s Olympion Theater from April 6 to 13. Many more films This year, the festival’s four large sections will include more films than any other year. The section featuring French productions that have not yet been screened in Greece will include, among others, Patrice Leconte’s latest work, the comedy «Les Bronzes 3 – Amis pour la Vie;» Valerie Lemercier’s «Palais Royal» starring Catherine Deneuve; Antoine Santana’s «La Ravisseuse» which bears the signature of cinematographer Giorgos Arvanitis; Laure Duthilleul’s «A Ce Soir» starring Sophie Marceau as well as Philip Garrel’s «Les Amants Reguliers» which earned a distinction at the Venice Festival, among others. The French-speaking section this time will not only include a selection of recent productions but also some classics. Previous success by previously unreleased films for young people led to that section becoming more extensive, with screenings scheduled for schools and then planned discussions on selected films. The festival’s largest tribute will honor filmmaker Michael Cacoyannis. French actors and friends of Cacoyannis have been invited to Athens for the occasion. The awards section will feature the City of Athens Award for Best Film, the Montblanc Award for Best Script, the TV5 Award for Best French-Speaking Film and the Jameson Audience Award.