Last year, when the country went back into its third lockdown, the team behind the French Film Festival UK had to think quickly and rejig their format to create what became fff@home. For them it was a matter of necessity, as their vision for the festival was crushed by another wave of the coronavirus, but for many of us it became a lifeline as we stayed at home and dreamed of going someplace else again.
It was also a huge step forward in terms of accessibility to the festival, and so, for many reasons, I'm pleased to see the programme return in 2021 to complement their in-person events. For those who can't attend them, or who simply want to see more great French films, this is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a selection of nine contemporary and classic films at home via the INDEE+ platform.
I'm hoping to watch most of them, if I can, but I'm especially keen to see Bruno Podalydès' new film, French Tech (Les 2 Alfred), in which he stars alongside regular collaborators Denis Podalydès (his brother) and the always remarkable Sandrine Kiberlain. I'm such a fan of their previous work together on The Sweet Escape (Comme un avion) and hold high hopes for this latest effort. I'll let you know how it goes, but you can read more about this year's online selections in the official press release from the festival below:
fff@home unveils an exciting selection of nine contemporary and classic titles over nine days
The nine days of online screenings are organised in collaboration with INDEE+. Programmers have curated an exciting selection of titles, including several UK premieres and a classic of the New Wave for audiences to enjoy and appreciate on laptops, computers and TVs. The films featured are only available as part of the Festival on fff@home and have a window to watch for 48 hours. Several packages are available, including a full Festival Pass and a 25% discount for young people aged 16-25.
The online Festival opens with Yamina Benguigui’s feminist drama, Sisters. Starring Isabelle Adjani, it’s about three generations of French Algerian women, exploring the bonds of family which seem forever strained. This is a return to cinema for Adjani, who, along with her co-stars Rachida Brakni and Maïwenn, contributes an impeccable performance.
Fans of the classics will relish the chance to see one of Jean-Luc Godard’s most dynamic films, Vivre sa Vie. Starring Anna Karina, it combines brilliant visual design with a tragic character study. A landmark of the French New Wave in a restored digital copy, it features some of Karina and Godard’s most iconic moments.
Other highlights include the feel-good Fly Me Away by Christophe Barratier, the hilarious French Tech from Bruno Podalydès who directs and stars alongside his brother Denis; family comedy The Speech by Laurent Tirard; a Sixties-set relationship drama, My Father’s Stories and an intriguing fable, Snowglobes, by Yannick Ruault.
Closing this year’s online festival is the powerful The Enemy, by Belgian director Stephan Streker. Jérémie Renier plays prominent politician Louis Durieux who is accused of murdering his wife. The film probes the depths of the human soul, not only of Renier’s character, but of the audience themselves.
Richard Mowe, director and co-founder of the Festival, said: “With the programme in cinemas continuing until 15 December, the online offer gives audiences another way to sample le cinéma français - especially in more remote parts of the country without easy access to the big screen.”
Funders, sponsors and partners – among them Screen Scotland, Institut français, Alliance Française, as well as TotalEnergies, TV5MONDE, Unifrance, agnès b, and Côte – have committed their overall support to this year’s 29th edition.
Tickets are on sale now and an Early Bird discount of 20% is available on all tickets purchased before Friday 26 November.