Oscar best film 'The Artist' opens 2012 French Film Festival
Even the planet named after the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Venus, did not want to eclipse the shining stars in the opening rites of the 17th French Film Festival Thursday night, when famous international guests such as French film directors Olivier Assayas and Stephane Rybojad bring a chunk of the Cannes Film Festival with their presence.
Martin Macalintal, audiovisual attaché of the French Embassy, said in an interview that Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” is the opening film of this year’s film festival, officially known as the 2012 Citi-Rustan’s French Film Festival.
“The annual French Film Festival is one of the most-anticipated cultural events in the Philippines. We do our best to transport to the Philippines a bit of the ambience of the most prestigious Cannes Film Festival every time we mount the French Film Festival here,” said Macalintal, who just arrived from Paris for meetings on the film festival.
“Perhaps the most outstanding film in the world this year is Michel Hazanavicius’ ‘The Artist,’ which pays tribute to the beginnings of cinema as both an art of telling stories through moving pictures and an industry producing economic products affected by market trends and management strategies,” said Macalintal in the interview.
"The Artist" has received “hundreds of awards” in international festivals, recently winning five Oscars, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin, he said.
Assayas, one of France’s most respected directors, graces the festival by accompanying a selection of his films to be staged as an “Assayas Retrospective” during the 10-day festival, Macalintal said. The “Assayas Retrospective” has been compiled by the Institut Français, an agency of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Some of the Assayas films to be shown are: “L’Eau Froide” (Cold Water), “Irma Vep,” “HHH – Portrait de Hou Hsiao-hsien,” “Demonlover,” “Clean,” and “L’Heure d’Ete” (Summer Hours).
Assayas is scheduled to dialogue with Filipino film directors and students at the UP Film Institute and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. “The interactions will provide opportunities for Mr. Assayas to share his passion for cinema during his visit to Manila,” Macalintal said.
Through the cooperation of the Institut Français and Philippine film distributor Pioneer films, French films such as “Le Mariage a Trois” (The Three-way Wedding) by Jacques Doillon, “Au Fond des Bois” (Deep Woods) by Benoit Jacquoyt, “Le Refuge” (Hideaway) by Francois Ozon, “Roses a Credit” (Roses on Credit) by Amos Gitai, “Tout-ce qui Brille” (All that Glitters) by Geraldine Nakache and Herve Mimran, “L’Art d’Aimer” (The Art of Love) by Emmanuel Mouret, “L’Ordre et La Morale” (Rebellion) by Mathieu Kassovits, and “L’Arnacoeur” (Heartbreaker) will be shown in this year’s festival, Macalintal added.
The 2012 French Film Festival also honors Philippine cinema by screening Filipino films that have been shown in several festivals in France or whose directors have participated in French workshops or seminars. The screening of Filipinos films during the French Film Festival “highlights the cooperation between France and the Philippines through cinema” and is traditionally held on June 12, the Philippine Independence Day, Macalintal said.
Among the films to be shown this year are “Busong” by Auraeus Solito (Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2011), “Manila” by Raya Martin and Adolfo Alix, Jr. (Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2009), “Bakal Boys” by Ralstom Jover (participant in the Cinéfondation Atelier, Cannes Film Festival 2012) and the short films “Little” and “Au Revoir Philippe” by Sigrid Bernardo (One Country One Film Festival, Apchat).
Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive,” a Franco-German-Filipino co-production starring French actress Isabelle Huppert, will have its invitational only Philippine premiere on Saturday, June 9, 7 p.m., organized in cooperation with Star Cinema. The “Captive” will be commercially shown soon after the festival.
During the interview, Macalintal said the partnership between the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the French Embassy through the Film Cultural Exchange Program “goes beyond facilitating” the screening of French films in the Philippines.
“Co-operation between the FDCP and the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée provides French expertise on archiving techniques that will benefit the Philippine National Film Archives. While two Filipino archivists have been sent to Paris for initial training in 2011, some reels in various stages of deterioration have been brought to France for possible treatment. A reel which has been meticulously cleaned and restored will be handed over to the FDCP during the festival, he added.
The 2012 Citi-Rustan’s French Film Festival is open to the public from June 8 to 17 at the Shang Cineplex of the Shangri-La Plaza. The festival goes to Cebu from June 21 to 23 at the Ayala Center in Cebu in cooperation with the Alliance Française de Cebu. –KG, GMA News
Talk of the web