It’s all about love at GFT this November, whether it be obsessive, maniacal or nostalgic. As the French Film Festival opens on 11 November, running alongside during the month are some tributes to some of our most beloved directors, from Lynch to Fincher.
Taking place at the Filmhouse, Edinburgh this month too, the FFF returns for its 19th year in Scotland to bring some of the most exciting new releases in Francophone cinema. Opening the festival is Jean-Pierre Améris’ Romantics Anonymous, an intense romance drama with Isabelle Carré and Benôit Poelvoorde as a nascent couple. Fittingly, the festival will begin with the film’s director running an introductory Q&A session – as is also the case with debut director Daniel Auteil and his The Well Digger’s Daughter, a tale of classical honour in pre-WWII France. It is a welcome contrast in premières as both films explore the flipside of love, tinted with the political and socioeconomic barriers which can add that extra level of depth to a formulaic romance film.
GFT shows its own love for film in its selection of well-known and cult/iconic directors also this month. Miranda July’s off-centre romance movie The Future reminds of Richard Ayoade’s recent indie hit Submarine, both seeming to prey on a flaky sense of dialogue and idiosyncratic characters which make lower-budget cinema so fascinating to watch. Andrea Arnold pops back up after her successes with Red Road and Fish Tank to produce (another) adaptation of Wuthering Heights – which feels like a bit of a strange jump back into classical literature as many texts find themselves overproduced and overworked thesedays. Mind you, don’t get on the wrong side of her when discussing her work.
Undoubtedly, the highlight will be Terence Davies’ return to the screen with his post-WWII drama The Deep Blue Sea, an adaptation of Terence Rattigan‘s acclaimed play. Rachel Weisz teams up with Tom Hiddleston as the pair play a passionate young couple from polar opposites of the British class system. Though rough and moody, Davies’ film is a welcome turn away from the rom-com zeitgeist swallowing up western cinema at the minute, greasing the wheels on the political vehicle led by the likes of Daniel Auteil’s opening festival film this year.
And offering a slight, yet not too different alternative, are GFT’s arthousey, trendy pickings. Mulholland Drive, Black Narcissus and A Blonde in Love stand out as potentials for escapism this November, providing an opportunity to be sucked into both dark and creepy storylines or grounded by youthful romance – depending on your fancy. As the clocks have gone back, the nights sneak up ever-more on our afternoons and the winter dew blots out the morning sun, escaping to the warm cinema with some of our favourite directors might just be a pretty good idea.
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