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5 essential picks playing the 2013 IFI French Film Festival

The Irish Film Institute’s French Film Festival is almost here. It’s the highlight of their annual calendar and celebrates the best of Gallic cinema between Wednesday 20th November and Sunday 1st of December.

Last year we picked out a few of 2012’s potential highlights and we’ve opted to do the same here again. The feature title says they’re essential picks but that may just be wishful thinking as we’re yet to see any of them, but here’s hoping.

Let us know what you’re planning on seeing in the comments below and don’t forget that away from these picks there’s plenty to see with such luminaries as Juliette Binoche, Audrey Tautou, Kelly Reilly and Catherine Deneuve looking to light up the IFI’s screens.

IFI-French-Film-Fest

click here to download the programme in PDF format
visit ifi.ie/frenchfest for all listings and booking information

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#1 – Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian

Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian

Thursday 21st November 2013 – 20.45
Saturday 23rd November 2013 – 16.15

So we’re starting with an English language film – sacrilege!

Jimmy P sees Benicio Del Toro playing Jimmy Picard, a Blackfoot Indian who ends up in hospital in Kansas, “suffering from trauma as a result of war-time injuries” with Mathieu Amalric playing his psychoanalyst.

The film played in competition for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and received alright reviews. Director Arnaud Desplechin will be present after the Thursday 21st screening if you’re up for some Q&A action with the IFI also playing lots of his other work during the festival including 2004’s Kings and Queens and 2008’s A Christmas Tale.

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#2 – Jeune & Jolie

Jeune & Jolie

Saturday 23rd November 2013 – 18.45
Playing on limited release at the IFI from November 29th

François Ozon’s latest film tells the story of a young woman who turns to prostitution to feed her sexual desires and hunger, eventually getting hooked on the money and attention she receives from a range of men.

This was also nominated for the Palme d’Or and many critics, including Variety magazine’s Leslie Felperin, loved it. Here’s what she had to say about the performance of the lead actress Marine Vacth…

She’s extravagantly, wantonly photogenic (a quality exploited in full by Pascal Marti’s impeccable lensing), but she also gives a proper performance, especially in the final reels when Isabelle starts to feel the irretrievability of the innocence she so brutally cast aside. She’s no Lolita, shunted around by bad luck and predatory men, and although she has a sneaky streak, she’s not evil, either — just someone who makes choices, perhaps poor ones, and then deals with the consequences with surprising maturity.

As noted above, the film is released for general consumption from November 29th.

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#3 – Tom at the Farm

Tom at the farm

Sunday 24th November 2013 – 20.45

Xavier Dolan is a 24-year-old French-Canadian film-maker and Tom at the Farm is his fourth film. He’s a ridiculously prolific talent and on this film he’s taken on 11 different jobs including director, actor, dubbing director and subtitler – Ultra Culture documents his ongoing inability to delegate, puts Shane Carruth’s efforts at domination on Upstream Colour to shame.

Reviews following its screenings at Toronto and London were all pretty positive, though it seems if you’ve seen some of Dolan’s earlier work then this may not change your mind. We shall see.

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#4 – La Maison De La Radio

04 - la-maison-de-la-radio

Friday 29th November 2013 – 18.30

This is a documentary about Radio France, the state-run radio station based on the banks of the Seine in Paris. I like radio. I like Parisiens. I like documentaries. I like seeing people in their workplaces. I like the sound of this film!

Director Nicolas Philibert will be present after the screening.

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#5 – Grand Central

05-Grand-Central-de-Rebecca-Zlotowski

Sunday 1st December 2013 – 20.45

You may recognise that face up there as Blue is the Warmest Colour’s Léa Seydoux. Her other film is playing the festival on November 22nd and then opens across the country in any cinema that will play a three hour lesbian drama. She’s likely to be one of the faces of this year’s awards season and it’s great to already have the option of seeing her in something else.

Tahar Rahim (who wowed us all a few years back in A Prophet) plays a guy hired to work near a nuclear power plant who falls for Seydoux’s character. Do I smell radioactive love scenes?! Awesome.

This is the festival’s closing film and it competed in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes.

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Nigel

Nigel loves stupid films almost as much as he likes clever films. He'll watch anything but is usually drawn to documentaries, North American independent films, Irish cinema and gung-ho, balls-to-the-walls Hollywood blockbusters. Here's what he's been watching.