The annual Focus on French Cinema film festival, which takes place in a few weeks in Stamford, Greenwich and Manhattan, has notable French directors and actors coming for a visit, along with at least 19 films, many shown in the area for the first time.
The festival kicks off with an initial screening at the Avon Theater in Stamford on Monday, March 27, then moves to Manhattan events that Tuesday through Thursday. Starting Friday, the festival offers showings of the films all weekend long at the Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich.
The festival will have award-winning films not only from France, but Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium and African French-speaking countries — all presented with English subtitles.
Celebrated French Director Claude Lelouch will attend the festival as “the Honored Guest.” Other guests include actresses Sandrine Bonnaire and Aissa Maiga, along with directors Dominique Besnehard, Olivier Babinet, Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar and Yan England.
Tickets are $15 per movie (or $210 for a pass to see all the movies playing on the weekend in Greenwich). Two panel discussions featuring directors and actors are free: One from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday a “Quebec Round Table” from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on Quebec.
Tickets for the opening night movie by Lelouch (title to be announced) at the Avon Theater in Stamford on Monday, March 27 are also $15. The price includes a prescreening cocktail reception. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.
You can find descriptions of each movie, often with the trailers (not all of them with subtitles, although the movies have them) on the website. (There are links to each movie’s description on the home page, which is better than going to the “Films” page, at least right now).
- A restored version of Lelouch’s 1967 film, “A Man and a Woman,” which won an Oscar that year, will be shown at 3:15 p.m., Saturday, April 1 in Greenwich.
- “It’s Only the End of the World,” a winner in Cannes and a César Award winner, will have its New York area premier in Greenwich at 7:45 p.m. It will be preceded by a “Gourmet Cocktail” event at 6 p.m.
- “My Life as a Zucchini,” a stop-motion animated Swiss film and Oscar nominee (it lost to “Zootopia”) will be shown twice, at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 1 and 10 a.m., Sunday, April 2. The film has a 100 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 61 reviews from critics.
- “The Odyssey,” a biopic about Jacques Cousteau, will be shown at 7 p.m., Saturday. Jan Cousteau, a daughter-in-law who worked with Cousteau, will attend the film festival.
- “Baby Bumps” (“Telle mère, telle fille“), a comedy starring Juliete Binoche and Camille Cottin and with Lambert Wilson, will just have entered theaters in France when it is shown in Greenwich at 7 p.m., Sunday, April 2.