CULTURE

French-speaking films in Athens, Thessaloniki

French cinema is about to reveal its contemporary face in Athens and Thessaloniki, with 17 recent productions. The 7th Francophone Film Festival is scheduled to start on March 30 in Athens and a week later will be traveling to Thessaloniki. French cinema is Europe’s most successful film industry; French films are box-office hits not only in their homeland, but in the rest of the world as well. According to information provided at a recent press conference, in 2005 about 73.6 million people flocked to theaters to see French movies, a striking number that is 49 percent higher than that recorded in 2004. Last year was also a highly significant one for French film productions, since for the first time more people went to see French films outside France than in France itself. Nonetheless, this number not only includes French-speaking films, but also English-speaking ones that were produced by France, such as «Transporter 2.» Apart from French films, the festival will also feature productions from a number of French-speaking countries including Morocco, Switzerland, Belgium, Lebanon, Tunisia and Canada. In keeping with the festival’s tradition, well-known personalities of French cinema are once again expected to attend events in Athens this year. This time round, the festival will welcome the likes of Vincent Cassel, Patrice Leconte and director Daniele Thompson, among others. Most of the guests will have the opportunity to meet members of the public, not only at the screenings (which will take place at the Attikon and the Apollon cinemas as well as the French Institute), but also in masterclass workshops and at the FNAC bookstore’s Forum. On top of the 17 recent French productions that will be screened, tributes to two distinguished personalities in the film industry worldwide will also take place. This year’s honored guests will be Michael Cacoyannis and Jeanne Moreau; eight of their films will be screened. The 7th Francophone Film Festival will continue to cultivate its special relationship with younger audience members, since a 15-member committee of young French-speaking people, aged between 18 and 25, will hand out three awards. The City of Athens Award will go to the best film of the official program and there will also be an award for best script and best French-speaking film. The audience will vote for its film of choice. Furthermore, three classes of the Greek-French high school in Aghia Paraskevi will publish a newspaper (both in printed and in digital form) during the festival, with the help of «Camera Zizanio.»