Film festival celebrates 10 years

The annual Francophone Film Festival, scheduled to start this week, celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a commemorative screening of Costa-Gavras’s film «Z.» Forty years after its first release, Costa-Gavras’s landmark fictional account of the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis will once more hit cinemas this Thursday. The festival will start unofficially a day earlier, on Wednesday, with an event honoring the 40th anniversary of «Z» organized by the French Embassy and the French Institute. In the presence of Greek President Karolos Papoulias, a number of the participants of «Z» will reunite at the French Institute, at the invitation of French ambassador Christophe Farnaud. Former Greek president Christos Sartzetakis, author of the novel «Z,» Vassilis Vassilikos, as well as producer/actor Jacques Perrin will take part in a discussion about the political and artistic importance of the film, which received 40 awards, including an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, a Golden Globe and two Cannes Film Festival awards. Author and Le Monde journalist Pierre Assouline will coordinate the discussion, while Papoulias will present Costa-Gavras with an honorary award for his outstanding contribution to Greek-French relations as well as the promotion of Francophone cinema. The official program will start on Thursday and run through April 12, with screenings taking place at the Apollon and Attikon cinemas, as well as the French Institute. The festival is also scheduled to travel to Thessaloniki, April 9 to 15. The program, as announced by the head of the French Institute Catherine Suard and French Embassy attache Nicolas Peyre at a press conference last week, features 64 recent French and Francophone films. Peyre said that Greece is very important to French cinema, since it is the country that screens the largest number of French films in Europe, excluding Francophone countries. In 2008, roughly 8 percent of the movies screened in Greece were French-speaking, ranking Greece as the most Francophone cinema-friendly European country. The festival will kick off with Dany Boon’s «Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis» (Welcome to the Sticks), the biggest box-office hit in the history of French cinema since it counts more than 20,000,000 tickets in the French film market alone. Highlights further include Martin Provost’s «Seraphine,» which received seven Cesar awards, as well as a complete tribute to the films of comedian Josiane Balasko, who will travel to Athens for the premiere of her new movie «Cliente» (Client). French Institute, 39 Sina, Kolonaki, tel 210.339.8600,

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