Have you noticed all the red, white and blue flags hanging in Carytown? Forget fries this weekend, it’s French Film Festival time.
You don’t need a beret or even an accent; all films are shown with subtitles. What you might need is a guide to steer you in the direction of what’s appealing in a schedule crowded with great films, so here are a few that might appeal, depending on your personality.
The Romantic: Don’t miss the anniversary screening of “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring Gerard Depardieu as a dashing officer of the guard who falls in love with his cousin Roxane without her knowing. Embarrassed by his large nose (although it was a shaping influence for his rapier-sharp wit), he believes that Roxane will reject him. He begins to write letters to her on behalf of one of his cadets, Christian, who’s also in love with her. She falls for the poetic charm of the letters thinking that they were written by Christian. But ultimately it’s the words she loves, not the messenger.
The Weepy: “Des Vents Contraires” or Headwinds, is from a book by Olivier Adams and tells the story of a man whose wife disappears and his struggle to deal with it. After a year, he’s a broken man plagued by guilt and self-doubt and tries to start over with his two young children by moving back to his home town. There, unexpected encounters begin the process of releasing him from the torment of his ordeal. Bring Kleenex.
The Voyeur: Check out “La Conquete” for a look behind the scenes at the price French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid to be elected. He is about to win the election but instead of celebrating, he is alone and despondent because his wife isn’t there. As we look back over the past five years of his ascent to power, it becomes clear that while he has gained an office, he has lost his wife in the process. Consider it a cultural history lesson.
The Inner Child: Be sure to see “La Cle des Champs,” the story of two lonely children who discover a pond that offers them a secret kingdom, a place they can escape to where creatures from their dreams and nightmares inhabit. This new world makes them closer and provides the strength to cope with their lonely lives. Animals are as much a part of the film as people as they endure a brief and intense initiation that transforms them both.
The Literary Geek: “Camus.” Want to know more about the last ten years of Albert Camus’ turbulent life as seen through the eyes of a woman? I do! Even as he’s getting worldwide recognition, Camus is being swept up by the absurd side of life only to be saved by love. What else? He’s a Frenchman. The movie promises to be an inside look at the private man behind the Nobel Prize-winner read by every English Lit major in college.
The Sports Lover: It has to be awful to be the son of a sports legend, especially when your talents as a thirteen-year old boy run more to math than rugby. In “Le Fils a Jo” Jo Canavaro is clumsily raising his teen-aged son, Tom, in a small town as best he can. The son doesn’t want to play ball, but with a history of rugby players in the family going back to his great grandfather, his Dad has other ideas, like creating a rugby team for Tom against his will. In this country, we call people like that “helicopter parents,” but the film looks to be both happy and sad.
And be sure to keep with the spirit of the French Film Festival and do your eating and drinking French style. River City Cellars has a tasting Friday from 5:00 – 7:00pm with an all French lineup, of course. Secco Wine Bar, Amour Wine Bistro and Can Can all offer French wine and French-inspired food to give you somewhere to go before and after the films.
For that matter, get your food to go and eat French style at the Byrd Theater while you watch. Vive la France!
Karen is Just your average Jackson Ward resident who thinks Richmond offers more than enough to keep you occupied and entertained. She smiles too much, talks way too much, is too into music, and shares her opinion whether it’s asked for or not on her blog “I Could Go On and On.”