Crème de la crème - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
Still from Lucky Winners | Issue 220

Still from Lucky Winners

Still from A Difficult Year | Issue 220

Still from A Difficult Year

Crème de la crème by Alessia Belsito-Riera

Get a taste of Euro summer to keep the winter blues at bay. If you’re dreaming of pink Parisian afternoons along the Seine, beach days and aperitifs on the Riviera, and croissants in a countryside village café then we suggest you make your way tout de suite to a French Film Festival screening, en route to venues across the Wellington Region from the 5th to the 26th of June.

“It is both a pleasure and a privilege to see French cinema celebrated in New Zealand with such dedication,” French ambassador Laurence Beau says. “Last year saw the highest attendance in [the festival’s] 17-year history”.

Opening the festival at the Embassy Theatre on the 5th of June is the first French cinematic treatment in over 30 years of Alexandre Dumas’ beloved novel The Three Musketeers. Cinephiles who attend the New Zealand premiere will receive wine, cheese, and a goodie bag upon arrival, though The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan offers more than enough to chew on! Set in the early 17th century, the story follows a spirited young swordsman on his way to join the king’s guard. Full of twists, turns, and twirls, the path D’Artagnan must follow to save his country and his beloved is dangerously exhilarating. France’s 2023 highest-grossing film is lavishly produced and will have audiences lining up for part two, The Three Musketeers: Milady, before the festival comes to a close.

This year’s programme spans the width and breadth of French cinematic tradition, showcasing stories of all kinds. “We have a record year for Festival de Cannes favourites in the lineup, including Marguerite’s Theorem; The Animal Kingdom; Bonnard, Pierre & Marthe; Abbé Pierre: A Century of Devotion; and Jeanne du Barry,” festival director Fergus Grady says. “However you like your French cinema, whether that may be a comédie or you désirer drama, we have you covered.”

The list of centrepiece films includes Rosalie, a tale about a young woman of the 1870s who decides to embrace her unconventional appearance; The President’s Wife starring Catherine Deneuve as the former French president Jacques Chirac’s iconic wife Bernadette Chirac; A Difficult Year, a comedy about two young men who sign up for more than free beer when they join a social protest movement; and The Taste of Things starring Juliette Binoche in a beautiful story about food and love.

Catch feminist smash hits and showbiz screwballs, biopics and dystopian thrillers, current-day dramas and historic tales spanning everything from math to art. “I hope you’ll be won over by this year’s extraordinary lineup of French adventure, drama, action, and comedy films,” ambassador Beau says. “Pencil in the dates and see you in theatres!”

The 2024 French Film Festival is the liaison of the saison, serving up only la crème de la crème.

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