Many flavours of France

This year’s French Film Festival, running at the Village Walk in Johannesburg, offers a tantalising selection of films which are “French” in the most international of senses.

Spanish master Luis Bunuel is represented by two films; Polish émigré Roman Polanski, now resident in Paris, by one. Jan Bucqouy of Belgium and Sarajevo’s Goran Paskaljevic are also present, as is French director Louis Malle, with an American production titled Vanya on 42nd Street.

Fittingly, international co-production (between France and South Africa specifically) is the subject of a symposium to be hosted by the French Institute, at the Market Theatre on September 30, as part of the festival. Providing insights into the subject will be Didier Decaudaveine, director of France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie; and producers Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre and Jacques Bidou.

Highlights of the film programme include the first South African screenings of Polanski’s latest movie, Death and the Maiden. In an adaptation of Ariel Dorfman’s stage play, a couple living in a remote cliffside house in an unspecified South American country turn the tables on their guest, who they suspect of having been a torturer under the old regime. Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver are

Claude Chabrol’s L’Enfer (Hell), an aptly titled thriller about marital abuse, initially resembles a light advertisement for happy holidays — before descending into the depths of darkness and obsession. Emmanuelle Beart and Francois Cluzet are superb as a married couple trapped in the grip of love turned to possession.


Two classics by Luis Bunuel, Belle de Jour (1967) and The Phantom of Liberty (1974) will also be screened. Belle de Jour encapsulates Bunuel’s fascination with masochism, fetishism and sadism. He rips into middle-class discretion in the story of a frigid housewife (Catherine Deneuve), who moonlights as a prostitute in an exclusive brothel. Equally subversive is The Phantom of Liberty, which strings a series of stories into a surrealistic, scurrilous and scatological narrative.

Other films of interest are Xavier Beauvois’ Don’t Forget You’re Going to Die, winner of the 1995 Jury Prize at Cannes, about the moral decline of an HIV-positive libertine; Didier Haudepin’s Those Were the Days, about murder in an exclusive school, selected for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 1995; and Jacques Rivette’s epic combination of musical, love story and mystery, Up Down Fragile.

The French Film Festival runs at the Village Walk in Johannesburg until October 5. Phone the cinema for details: (011) 883-9558

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

High Court strikes down ‘paternalistic’ lockdown regulations

The order of unconstitutionality has been suspended for two weeks

L’Oréal workers demand a shutdown of local plant, citing Covid-19...

The French cosmetics company’s Midrand plant has recorded 16 Covid-19 cases in two weeks

Protective equipment for schools in KwaZulu-Natal goes ‘missing’

Without protective equipment, schools in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand won’t meet the already delayed deadline for reopening
Advertising

Press Releases

Empowering his people to unleash their potential

'Being registered as an AGA(SA) means you are capable of engineering an idea and turning it into money,' says Raymond Mayekisa

What is an AGA(SA) and AT(SA) and why do they matter?

If your company has these qualified professionals it will help improve efficiencies and accelerate progress by assisting your organisation to perform better

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday