CULTURE

Celebrating Francophone films

It has proved to be a much-anticipated annual rendezvous for cinema lovers, and this year is no exception. The Francophone Film Festival enters its second decade this week, with screenings to take place in Athens from April 15 to April 25 and in Thessaloniki from April 22 to April 28. Besides quality action on the silver screen, the festival is also known for hosting leading French and international personalities, actors and directors who come to promote the films, by presenting them and in discussions with their Greek audiences. The event’s 11th edition lineup is nothing short of impressive: To begin with, coming to Athens are two «international» French names, fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier – in his capacity as the festival’s «godfather» – and actor Jean Reno. The festival opens tomorrow with an invitation-only screening of «Gainsbourg (vie heroique)» at the Attikon theater. Following the life of French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, the movie will be accompanied by its director, Joann Sfar. Apart from the Attikon, screenings are also taking place at the Apollon and Kifissia cinemas as well as the French Institute in Athens (IFA). The event is presided over by Catherine Suard, IFA director, while the selection films was carried out by Nicolas Peyre, audiovisual attache at the French Embassy and IFA. Besides showcasing a rich crop of French films, the festival presents a selection of Francophone films from Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Romania and Tunisia. Overall, some 50 films will be screened, accompanied by 70 personalities from the world of cinema, culture and the media. These include actor-directors Antoine de Caunes and Richard Berry, actress-singer Jane Birkin, actors Francois-Xavier Demaison, Benoit Magimel, Nathalie Besancon and Anne Consigny. Also expected in Athens are media folk boasting Greek heritage: Daphne Roulier, a film specialist for Canal Plus, and popular television host Nikos Aliagas. In keeping with past editions, the festival presents recent film productions – this year look out for Zabou Breitman’s «Je l’aimais» starring Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Paul Lilienfeld’s «La Journee de la jupe» featuring Isabelle Adjani, and Richard Berry’s «L’Immortel» starring Jean Reno – accompanied by Berry, Reno will present the film at the festival’s conclusion on April 25. Also on the program of screenings are films for younger audiences, selections from the 50th edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and a tribute to the late Eric Rohmer in collaboration with the Premiere Nights festival. For more information, contact IFA(1 Sina, tel 210.339.8600, www.ifa.gr). For more information on the theaters, see cinema listings below.