This week the programme was announced for one of the landmark fixtures in Dublin’s cinematic calendar. This year’s IFI French Film Festival takes place from 15 – 26 November. Over 15 days, 32 French feature films will be screened in the IFI.
This annual celebration of French film at the Irish Film Institute will present works exploring a wide range of subjects by many renowned and established directors, as well as showcasing exciting new voices in cinema. The festival will run from 15- 26 November, opening with a screening of The Animal Kingdom, followed by a wine reception. Some of the highlights will include Cédric Kahn’s The Goldman Case, All Your Faces with Adèle Exarchopoulos and Philippe Garrel’s The Plough. Younger audiences can also look forward to h the award-winning animation Chicken for Linda!
Commenting on this year’s selection of films, Ross Keane, IFI Director/ CEO said:
“The programme at this year’s IFI French Film Festival is truly superb, reflecting one of the strongest years of French cinema in recent times. The selection is broad and varied, featuring many faces which will be familiar to fans of French film, alongside some remarkable, emerging new talents, both in front of and behind the camera”.
French Ambassador to Ireland, Vincent Guérend, added:
“While a new film coproduction agreement has been recently signed between Ireland and France, the French Embassy is delighted to support another great edition of the IFI French Film Festival, the biggest celebration of French cinema in the country. Featuring a fantastic selection of French contemporary films and talents, don’t miss this rendez-vous with French culture and language. Bon festival!”
Festival Director and Programme Curator, Marie-Pierre Richard, commented:
“Thrilling news for this year’s festival! We are delighted and very honoured to welcome director Leos Carax. Here he will talk with us about three of his films — his first two magnificent features presented in beautifully restored versions, Boy Meets Girl and Mauvais Sang, and his late-career masterpiece, Holy Motors. Throughout his career Leos Carax has offered us a vision of sublime invention and lyricism in the French cinema landscape.
In addition to showcasing the work of established directors and new cinematic territories, this year’s festival celebrates the poetry and history of cinema through a selection of rare and striking silent shorts by Germaine Dulac, a pioneering figure in French avant-garde cinema.
This year’s festival programme explores the finest of French cinema with an expansive and unique selection of feature films and documentaries. Through strong narratives and themes, thrilling cinematic language and visual composition, our complex lives and realities are played out, while also not forgetting some charming, captivating comedies!”
Check out the full IFI French Film Festival schedule below:
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM (LE RÈGNE ANIMAL)
Wednesday 15th (19.00) & Saturday 25th (20.30)
Director: Thomas Cailley. 130 mins ∙ France ∙2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙ F-Rated
In the near future, a mysterious condition is causing people to mutate into animals. Lara, wife to chef François (Roman Duris) and mother to teenage Emile (Paul Kircher), is one of a group of animal-human hybrids who are hiding out in a forest. Father and son journey south in an effort to find her, with the help of a sympathetic gendarme Julia (Adèle Exarchopoulos). Meanwhile, Emile begins to notice his hearing is becoming very acute and his fingernails sharper… Thomas Cailley’s wildly imaginative second feature delivers thrilling cinematic spectacle with a powerful emotional core, anchored by the revelatory performance of breakout star Paul Kircher.
VOYAGES EN ITALIE
Thursday 16th (18.00)
Director: Sophie Letourneur. 91 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙F-Rated
Parisian couple, Sophie and Jean-Fi, exhausted from the routine of daily life, take a holiday in Sicily, leaving their young boy Raoul with his grandparents. Just before they go, Jean-Fi twists his ankle – not ideal for climbing Stromboli. Writer-director Sophie Letourneur acts beside music star Philippe Katerine in a witty, wonderful romantic comedy. With brilliant dialogue, the duo sparkle together in a film with scenes which are by turns hilarious, inventive, intimate, and full of tenderness. Tacky hotels, scooters, bars and beaches, mixed in with SMS messages about bin collection and a nod to Rossellini’s Journey to Italy, this is a pure delight.Big Screen Competition, Rotterdam International Film Festival 2023
STRANGERS BY NIGHT (UNE NUIT)
Friday 17th (16.00) & Friday 24th (18.30)
Director: Alex Lutz. 91 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
A chance encounter between two strangers is the catalyst for a surprising connection in Alex Lutz’s romantic drama which he not only co-wrote and directed, but also stars in. One night, in a crowded Parisian metro station, Aymeric (Lutz) accidentally bumps into Nathalie (Karin Viard) as they enter the train. A volatile argument ensues, to the amusement of their fellow passengers, but sparks fly along with the insults and soon the pair are staging an impulsive rendezvous in a photo booth. On a whim, they spend the night together, roaming the streets of Paris while discussing life, love, marriage, and everything in between.
JUST THE TWO OF US (L’AMOUR ET LES FORÊTS)
Friday 17th (18.10) & Tues 21st (20.30)
Director: Valérie Donzelli. 105 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
This psychological drama by Valérie Donzelli, co-written with writer-director Audrey Diwan (Happening, 2022), is based on the novel by Éric Reinhard. It tells the story of Blanche (Virginie Efira), trapped by possessive husband Grégoire (Melvil Poupaud) who gradually takes control over her, while twisting the situation to make him seem like the victim. Through voiceover we discover Blanche’s story, adding a psychoanalytical dimension to the narrative, showing how self-esteem and self-love can be crushed by guilt and abuse. This is raw energy and heartfelt emotion served by two brilliant actors, and a great ensemble cast including Marie Rivière, Dominique Reymond, and Virginie Ledoyen.Cannes Premiere, Cannes Official Selection 2023
ALONG CAME LOVE (LE TEMPS D’AIMER)
Saturday 18th (18.00) & Wednesday 22nd (18.00)
Director: Katell Quillévéré. 125 mins ∙ France-Belgium ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙ F-Rated
It’s 1947, and Madeleine (Anaïs Demoustier), a single mother of a five-year-old son Daniel, waitresses in a Normandy hotel-restaurant. On the beach one day, she meets François (Vincent Lacoste), a student from a wealthy family, and they fall in love. Each with their own secret, they will build a life and a love together against all odds, confronting the trauma, shame and struggles of social and sexual convention in the 1950s and ’60s. Writer-director Katell Quillévéré’s complex, romantic post-war tale is inspired by her grandmother, who had a child with a German officer during WWII – a secret she kept all her life. Cannes Premiere, Cannes Official Selection 2023.
THE SPECTRE OF BOKO HARAM (LE SPECTRE DE BOKO HARAM)
Saturday 18th (18.10)
Director : Cyrielle Raingou. 75 mins · Cameroon France · 2023 · Digital · Subtitled
Falta is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her father in a terrorist attack. Her classmates, brothers Ibrahim and Mo-hamed, have fled their village and are now with a foster family. The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has been leading attacks against Cameroon’s Far North region since 2014, and this constant threat is woven into daily existence. In her debut feature-length documentary, director Cyrielle Raingou, a native of the region, brings us the lives of a group of children in Kolofata.
Raingou’s urgent, sincere documentary shows the violence, and the psychological effects of living under constant guard. It also shows with poignancy how family and community are able to support each other. Winner of Tiger Award, Rotterdam International Film Festival 2023.
THE GOLDMAN CASE (LE PROCÈS GOLDMAN)
Saturday 18th (20.40) & Thursday 23rd (18.10)
Director: Cédric Kahn. 115 mins ∙ France ∙2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
Cédric Kahn (festival guest in 2018) revisits the controversial case of Pierre Goldman, a far-left Jewish activist who faced a life sentence for four armed robberies and the killing of two women pharmacists in 1969. In his 1975 appeal hearing, Goldman pleads not guilty to murder, plunging his own trial into chaos, risking a death sentence, and unbalancing his relationship with his attorney, the young Georges Kiejman (Arthur Harari). Arieh Worthalter is brilliant in his complex and intense portrait of Pierre Goldman in Kahn’s tense, claustrophobic, and thoroughly engrossing real-life courtroom drama. Opening Film, Cannes Director’s Fortnight 2023.
ALL YOUR FACES (JE VERRAI TOUJOURS VOS VISAGES)
Sunday 19th (15.50) & Wednesday 22nd (20.40)
Director: Jeanne Herry. 118 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙ F-Rated
Jeanne Herry brings together multiple stories with a brilliant ensemble cast including Adèle Exarchopoulos, Élodie Bouchez, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gilles Lellouche and the director’s mother, the veteran Miou-Miou. Through mediated face-to-face sessions, we share in the encounter of perpetrators and victims of criminal acts. The perpetrators talk about their actions and the reasons that led to them, while the victims talk about the trauma they have suffered, in a complex emotional journey towards reparation and forgiveness. This is a powerful drama about the work of Restorative Justice, a programme created in France in 2014 under the supervision of the criminal justice system.
HOMECOMING (LE RETOUR)
Sunday 19th (18.20) & Wednesday 22nd (18.20)
Director: Catherine Corsini. 110 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙ F-Rated
Khédidja (Aïssatou Diallo Sagna) has returned to Corsica where she worked some fifteen years ago to take up a summer childminding job for wealthy Parisian couple Sylvia (Virginie Ledoyen) and Marc (Denis Podalydès). She has brought her daughters, eighteen-year-old Jessica (Suzy Bemba), who forms an intense bond with Gaia (Lomane de Dietrich), the headstrong daughter of her mum’s employers, and fifteen-year-old Farah (Esther Gohourou), a rebel who tangles with aggressive local boy Orso (Harold Orsini) with unexpected consequences. Meanwhile, questions begin to surface about their mother’s past life on the island, leading the girls to dig deeper into Khédidja’s version of their family story.
THE NATURE OF LOVE (SIMPLE COMME SYLVIAN)
Sunday 19th (20.45) & Saturday 25th (15.40)
Director: Monia Chokri. 110 mins ∙ Canada-France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙ F-Rated
Sophie (Magalie Lépine Blondeau), a forty-year-old French-Canadian philosophy professor, worries that her comfortable marriage to fellow intellectual Xavier (Francis-William Rhéaume) has grown stale. Her restlessness finds a subject to fixate upon when she meets Sylvian (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), the handsome building contractor tasked with repairing the couple’s lakeside country retreat. Opposites attract and a tumultuous affair begins, but Sophia has a hard time reconciling the reality of their fundamental differences. Director Monia Chokri mines a familiar setup and finds gold, delivering a hugely entertaining crowd-pleaser of a comedy that manages to smuggle pointed commentary on infidelity and class differences in amongst the laughs.
REWIND & PLAY
Monday 20th (18.00)
Director: Alain Gomis. 65 mins ∙ France-Germany ∙ 2022 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
In December 1969, Thelonious Monk, on tour in Europe, recorded an interview for French TV. Alain Gomis discovered the unedited footage, revealing a dialogue between Monk and the French pianist, Henri Renaud. Gomis brilliantly reassembles this material in the spirit of a deconstructed ‘making-of’, amplifying the tensions through timing, cuts, and sound, so that we feel some of what Monk is experiencing. The interview is charged with the power struggle between the two men, and between white Europe and Black American jazz. It is only when Monk plays that we really hear him.The film will screen with short feature Linda and Irina
THE PLOUGH (LE GRAND CHARIOT)
Monday 20th (18.30)
Director: Philippe Garrel. 95 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
Three generations of a family of puppeteers are forced to reconcile their passion for tradition in the face of modernity in veteran filmmaker Philippe Garrel’s poignant drama, for which he enlists the help of his children Louis, Esther, and Léna Garrel to play the scions of the clan. Their father, Simon (Aurélien Recoing), runs the troupe, a financially unsteady outfit known as Le Grand Chariot, with the help of grandmother Gabrielle (Francine Bergé), a dyed-in-the-wool left-wing bohemian and a repository of memories and wisdom. When it becomes time to consider their future, the family are forced to make painful decisions about the craft to which they have dedicated their lives.
Tuesday 21st (18.10) & Sunday 26th (18.00)
Director: Ladj Ly. 101 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
An incendiary indictment of how racist housing policies imperil the vulnerable, Ladj Ly’s angry follow up to Les Misérables (2019) dramatizes some of the most divisive social issues of our time. When the mayor of an underprivileged Parisian suburb suddenly dies, Pierre (Alexis Manenti), an idealistic young doctor, is appointed to replace him. He intends to continue the policy of his predecessor, who dreamed of rehabilitating this working class neighbourhood. Haby (Anta Diaw), a young French woman of Malian origin living in one of the dilapidated tower blocks, refuses to see her family being driven out of the neighbourhood where she grew up.
GRAND EXPECTATIONS (DE GRANDES ESPÉRANCES)
Thursday 23rd (15.50) & Saturday 25th (18.10)
Director: Sylvain Desclous. 105 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
Summer 2019. Madeleine (Rebecca Marder), a brilliant activist from a modest background, is preparing for her oral exam at an elite French school to study and become a politician. Madeleine’s partner Antoine (Benjamin Lavernhe), from a wealthy background, is also an aspiring politician. On holidays at Antoine’s family home in Corsica, the couple are involved in a road incident with fatal consequences. Keeping this secret binds them closer together but is a heavy burden. Reminiscent of a Chabrol-style psychological thriller, Sylvain Desclous’s skillfully written drama brings a sharp sense of reality to the continuing class struggle in French society.Angoulème Francophone Film Festival 2023.
LAST SUMMER (L’ÉTÉ DERNIER)
Thursday 23rd (20.40) & Sunday 26th (13.00)
Director: Catherine Breillat. 104 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled ∙ F-Rated
A pioneering filmmaker for nearly 50 years, renowned for explorations of female sexuality, Catherine Breillat returns with a daring portrait of Anne (Léa Drucker), a family lawyer specialising in child protection and parental custody. She lives a very bourgeois life with her caring husband, businessman Pierre (Olivier Rabourdin), and their two adopted daughters. When Théo (Samuel Kircher), Pierre’s estranged 17-year-old son from a previous marriage comes to live with them, Anne feels inexplicably attracted. Loosely based on Danish drama, Queen of Hearts, Breillat’s brilliant screenplay is methodically detailed, every shot a precise study of character. Official Competition, Cannes International Film Festival 2023.
BONNARD, PIERRE AND MARTHE (BONNARD, PIERRE ET MARTHE)
Friday 24th (15.30) & Sunday 26th (15.20)
Director: Martin Provost. 122 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
When painter Pierre Bonnard (Vincent Macaigne) met Marthe de Méligny (Cécile de France) in a modest Paris studio in 1893, little did he realise that this self-proclaimed aristocrat would come to exert enormous influence over his life and work. From their first highly-charged encounter, Marthe became more than just a muse for the struggling artist, who aims to ‘revolutionise modern painting’, and would ultimately appear in more than a third of his work. Together they achieve their artistic fulfilment thanks to shared attitudes towards sexual liberation, radical for the standards of their time, their freewheeling romance brilliantly captured by renowned director Martin Provost (Seraphine, 2008).
Friday 24th (18.15)
Director: Cédric Jimenez. 106 mins ∙ France ∙ 2022 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
In the days following the Bataclan attacks of November 13th, 2015, two terrorists suspected of the deaths of over 130 people are at large. The anti-terrorist police led by Heloise (Sandrine Kiberlain), her chief commander Fred (Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin), and close associate Inès (Anaïs Demoustier), face overwhelming odds and an unprecedented level of pressure. In a race against the clock, they must find the perpetrators of the attacks before they can strike again, travelling across Europe and beyond in one of the biggest manhunts in history. Director Cédric Jimenez orchestrates visceral action and ratches up the suspense in this gripping thriller.
A DIFFICULT YEAR (UNE ANNÉE DIFFICILE)
Friday 24th (20.40) & Sunday 26th (20.20)
Director: Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano. 120 mins ∙ France ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
Compulsive spenders Bruno (Jonathan Cohen) and Albert (Pio Marmaï) bond over their shared financial woes and take hopeless lessons in debt-reduction from Henri (Mathieu Amalric), who hides a chronic gambling addiction. Up to their necks in debt, they crash an environmental activists’ meeting, primarily for the free beer and snacks. There, they meet enigmatic group leader, code named Cactus (Noémie Merlant) and sparks begin to fly. The pair are soon embroiled in the group’s elaborate environmental demonstrations, without much conviction, and for all the wrong reasons. A riotous screwball comedy from the directors of The Intouchables, A Difficult Year makes political points with a light touch.
CHICKEN FOR LINDA! (LINDA VEUT DU POULET!)
Sunday 26th (11.00)
Director: Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach. 76 mins ∙ France-Italy ∙ 2023 ∙ Digital ∙ Subtitled
Welcoming family audiences to IFI French Film Festival, this beautiful, award-winning, colourful 2D animation is sure to entertain. The story of young Linda, whose mother Paulette wrongly punishes her, and to make up, she offers to cook her favourite dish – chicken with peppers. However, France is on strike, and there’s no way of buying a chicken anywhere. A wild chicken chase ensues, involving family and police as they go to no ends to find the fowl! Fun, madcap, and touching, offering a child’s eye view of the world with its highly inventive animation style. Bon appétit!
Please note: For younger viewers, subtitles will be read aloud.
Tickets cost €13.00 for IFI Members, €14.50 for non-Members. Tickets to the Opening Night Gala screening cost €16.60; tickets to the In Conversation event cost €11.40.
Multi-film passes are available from the IFI Box Office or over the phone on 016703477: 5 films for €60/ 10 films for €100 (excluding opening night gala screening).
The IFI would like to pay special thanks to the French Embassy in Ireland for their continued support and involvement. Film is an integral part of cooperation and our cultural relationship.
The IFI French Film Festival is supported by the Embassy of France in Ireland, DS Automobiles, The Irish Times, RTÉ Supporting the Arts, Wren Urban Nest, Alliance Française Dublin, Europa Cinemas, UniFrance and Institut Français.
IFI is principally funded by the Arts Council.