A still from the film Sink or Swim, about a group of 40-something male synchronised  swimming team.
A still from the film Sink or Swim, about a group of 40-something male synchronised swimming team.

Voila! French films for new cinema

THE French Film festival 2019 has been confirmed for the Northern Rivers, and will be showcased in a brand new cinema.

The selection of films in French will be held at the Palace Byron Bay cinemas from April 4.

Although the cinemas, located in the new Mercato shopping centre in Jonson St, have not confirmed their re-opening date yet, they are expected to be open in late March.

The Artistic Director of the 30th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, Philippe Platel, selected a line-up of 54 features and documentaries for this year, the biggest in the Festival's proud history.

This very special festival edition will showcase 12 distinct categories such as from Paris Snapshots, Summertime, Lighten Up, and Critically Acclaimed, will also present a selection of outstanding movies from Belgium, Canada and Switzerland via its Across Borders.

One of such film will be The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire Américain), a richly amusing comedy drama from Canadian director Denys Arcand which comes highly recommended.


Breathing life into the creative vision of the filmmakers represented this year are French cinema's most defining actors: from Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Bérénice Bejo, Emmanuelle Bercot, Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Vincent Cassel, Laetitia Casta, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Catherine Deneuve, Lily-Rose Depp, Jean Dujardin and Charlotte Gainsbourg to Nicole Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Laurent Lafitte, Virginie Ledoyen, Vincent Lindon, Fabrice Luchini, Noémie Lvovsky, Miou-Miou, Vanessa Paradis, Jacques Perrin, Niels Schneider, Kristin Scott Thomas, Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel and Lambert Wilson, amongst many others.

Select highlights from the 30th anniversary programme include The Sisters Brothers (Les frères Sisters) starring John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal, which garnered director Jacques Audiard the Silver Lion (Best Director) at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival.

This gritty, yet dryly humorous western 'bromance' ranks alongside the work of Sam Peckinpah at his best.  

There's also Claire Denis' mesmerising sci-fi drama, High Life, awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2018 San Sebastián International Film Festival, with a cast led by Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson; Sink or Swim (Le grand bain) from Gilles Lellouche, the number one 2018 French box office hit about an all-male synchronised swimming team formed by a group of despondent 40 somethings.

Director Christophe Honoré's Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer, courir vite), is an emotionally rich romance set in early 1990s France which won the prestigious 2018 Prix Louis Delluc.

From legendary director Jean-Luc Godard, The Image Book (Le livre d'image) is a work of audio-visual poetry awarded the inaugural Special Palme d'Or at Cannes 2018.

For lovers of classic cinema, the Festival will be screening a restored version of Alain Resnais' 1961 para-surrealist masterpiece, Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad).

  • At Palace Cinemas Byron Bay from April 7 to 14. For details visit affrenchfilmfestival.org. Session times for Byron Bay will be revealed shortly.