Focus on French Cinema Film Festival runs April 25 to May 5, in Stamford, Greenwich and Online

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Focus on French Cinema 2024, the annual festival of U.S. premieres of French and Francophone film in Greenwich, Stamford and online, runs this Thursday, April 25 through May 5.

The FCC film festival, presented by the Alliance Française of Greenwich, will have new releases both in person and online following the highly successful 2023 “hybrid” edition that welcomed more than 8,000 viewers.

— an announcement from the Alliance Française of Greenwich

The “hybrid” slate will feature a Thursday, April 25 OPENING NIGHT SCREENING of the U.S. Premiere of Rachel’s Game (Les Rois de la piste) at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, featuring the French actress Fanny Ardant followed by a Q & A with Director Thierry Klifa and FFC Director of Programming Joe Meyers.

In addition, FFC 2024 will welcome back documentary film maker and producer, Luc Hardy, for the Monday, April 29th U.S. Premiere CENTERPIECE SCREENING of “Alter Ego: Cloning the age of reason?”accompanied by experts in the field.

The PRE-CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING will feature the Thursday, May 2 U.S. premiere of Just a Couple of Days (Quelques jours pas plus) followed by a Q & A with a panel from IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services).

The online selection will be available from April 25 to May 5 highlighted by online zoom interviews with Director of Programming, Joe Meyers and talent from the films. For more information click here.

2024 Focus on French Cinema

“After the challenges of the Covid crisis, it is exciting to expand the number of public theatrical screenings this year to three events at the beautiful Avon Theatre in Stamford. We are also continuing the very popular online aspect of FFC with a selection of new French-language films not available on any streaming platforms,” said, Focus on French Cinema Director of Programming, Joe Meyers.

“The 2024 edition exhibits Francophone film makers unique ability to deal with important social issues illustrated in several of our selections, including two films that examine the complexity of the global migrant crisis in a very personal way,” Meyers said.

“Just a Couple of Days” follows a jaded journalist played by a brilliant Benjamin Biolay who finds himself letting a migrant crash in his apartment, with life-changing results. And the stirring French- Canadian drams ‘Richelieu’ takes us into lives of the migrant farm workers of Québec.

“A personal favorite of mine, ‘A Real Job,’ shows the challenges faced by a new teacher played by the popular Vincent Lacoste. If you share my belief the teaching is one of the the most important professions you should enjoy this warm and moving story in the tradition of ‘Up the Down Staircase’ and ‘To Sir, with Love,’” Meyers said.

FFC Managing Director, Renée Amory Ketcham notes that over the past 19 years, the way we attend and experience film festivals has changed… Focus on French Cinema offers a unique hybrid French film festival experience that focuses on quality content in a movie theater, at home in your living room or on your phone.

Focus on French Cinema 2024 part of poster


OPENING NIGHT – Thursday, April 25, 7:30 pm
Avon Theatre, 272 Bedford St., Stamford

U.S. Premiere ( In person only – not available online)
Country: France
Genre : Comedy, Drama, Crime
Director: Thierry Klifa
Cast: Fanny Ardant, Mathieu Kassovitz, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Laeticia Dosch, Ben Attal
Synopsis: Flamboyant and fiery Rachel leads her clan as the dominant matriarch. She has raised her sons, Sam and Jérémie, and her grandson Nathan in the world of scamming. Whether it’s luck or destiny, during a heist they unknowingly steal a Tamara de Lempicka painting without realizing its true value, which consequently leads to the breakdown of the family. Rachel will do whatever it takes to bring reconciliation to her clan. Meanwhile, Céleste, a clever and charming detective hired by the painting’s insurance company is on a mission to track them down across France.


CENTERPIECE SCREENING – Monday, April 29, 7:30
Avon Theatre,
272 Bedford St., Stamford, Connecticut

U.S. Premiere ( In person only – not available online)
Genre: Documentary
Director: Bertrand Delapierre
Producer and story by Luc Hardy

Synopsis: In a world where man defies the limits of nature, what does the future hold for cloning? In his latest film, & Alter Ego – L’Âge de Raison" (Alter Ego – The Age of Reason), Luc Hardy, French-American explorer-producer and fervent defender of the environment, immerses us into the world of cloning, full of questions and promises… Over 7 countries and 5 continents, from Professor Ludovic Orlando’s research in the steppes of the Russian Altai to camel beauty contests in the United Arab Emirates…

Between ethics and scientific progress, this journey documents the divergent visions of cloning as well as its benefits for our ecosystem and mankind.

About Luc Hardy: Luc Hardy is an entrepreneur, veteran adventurer, environmental advocate, author, member of the Explorers Club of New York. He is the President of Sagax, a US-based investment and management advisory firm. Luc Hardy pursues a personal goal of traveling extensively across the globe, photographing and reporting from remote places in order to raise awareness for global causes. Luc is also Vice-President of Green Cross France & Territories, the environmental NGO founded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

Over the years, Luc Hardy has led several expeditions in polar and glacier regions (Greenland, Himalayas, North Pole…). All expeditions have included children as youth ambassadors and witnesses of the dramatic changes occurring in these regions. Luc’s voyages have resulted in the publishing of several books, including: Antarctic – Adventure (2004), Greenland – Impressions (2007) and Arctic – Transitions (2008).


PRE-CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING – Thursday, May 2, 7:30 pm
Avon Theatre, 272 Bedford St., Stamford


U.S. Premiere ( In person only – not available online)
Country: France
Genre: Comedy/ Drama
Director : Julie Navarro
Cast: Camille Cottin, Benjamin Biolay, Amrulllah Safi

Synopsis: Arthur Berthier, a rock critic relegated to general news after ransacking a hotel room, discovers that journalism is a combat sport. Sent to hospital by a CRS while covering the evacuation of a migrant camp, he falls under the spell of Mathilde, head of the Solidarité Exilés association, and agrees, for a few days, to take in Daoud, a young Afghan.

FILM TO BE FOLLOWED BY PANEL DISCUSSION WITH IRIS ( Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services)


RICARDO AND PAINTING – Sunday, May 5, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm followed by Q & A with Joe Meyers
In Person only
Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich

Country: France
Genre: Documentary
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Cast: Ricardo Cavallo

Synopsis: Ricardo and Painting is Barbet Schroeder’s portrait of his friend, the painter Ricardo Cavallo, who has devoted his life to painting. From Buenos Aires to Finistère, via Paris and Peru, this film is an invitation to delve into the history of painting, but also to discover the life of an extraordinary man who, with simplicity and humility, has always been totally committed, even passing on his passion to the children of his village.



Focus on French Cinema 2024 logoTONI ( TONI EN FAMILLE)
Connecticut PremierePremiere
Country: France
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Director : Nathan Ambrosioni
Cast: Camille Cottin, Léa Lopez, Oscar Pauleau, Louis Labèque, Catherine Mouchet, Thomas Gloria,Guillaume Gouix, Saadia Bentaieb.

Synopsis: From the producers of SINK OR SWIM and starring the internationally acclaimed Camille Cottin, TONI is a funny, emotional, and wonderfully honest film about the struggles of a single mother of five who – for once in her life – dares to dream of something for herself! A touching and uplifting story about the courage it takes to find your own path and change your life.

Toni has spent her entire life putting other people’s needs before her own. When she was 20 years old, she was pushed by her mother to join a TV singing competition, becoming a national star. Twenty years and five children later, she is a full-time mom who spends all her time and effort on raising her teenage kids. As she helps her children plan their future after graduation, she begins to imagine what her life could be if – for once – she did what she really wanted. Will she be able to turn her life around and dare to be something other than a mother and a daughter?


East Coast Premiere
Country: France
Genre : Drama
Director: Jeanne Herry
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Dali Benssalah, Leila Bekhti, Elodie Bouchez, Suliane Brahim, Miou-Miou, Jean- Pierre Darroussin, Fréderic Testol, Denis Podalydès, Gilles Lellouche, Raphael Quenard

Winner César for Best Supporting Actor – Adèle Exarchopoulos
César Nomintations – Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing

Synopsis: A powerhouse cast – Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Colour) and Gilles Lellouche (Kompromat, AF FFF22) – headlines this compelling drama about France’s Restorative Justice crime victims and offenders in a controlled environment for open dialogue.

The film follows two stories, in which six characters, three offenders and three victims, cautiously take part in this process. Their experiences veer between anger and hope, alliances and torn relationships, realizations, and regained trust. For some, there is even the possibility of restoration…

Praised for her ‘talent for unearthing fascinating subjects and bringing them to the wider public’s attention without ever betraying their essence,’ writer/director Jeanne Herry (In Safe Hands, AF FFF19) dramatizes the sometimes-controversial program that assists criminals to take responsibility for their actions and helps victims heal. Told with honesty and empathy, All Your Faces explores how the unspeakable can be subverted to guide characters on journeys of self-realization and forgiveness in this intelligent and emotional film.

Everything rings true in this film (…) A film which isn’t afraid of emotions, instead respecting their every inflection. – Cineuropa

Connecticut Premiere

Country : France, Switzerland
Genre: Drama, Romance, comedy
Director: Anna Novion
Cast: Ella Rumpf, Jean- Pierre Darroussin, Clothilde Courau, Julien Frisson, Sonia Bonny

Winner – César for best “ New Relevant” Ella Rumpf

Synopsis: The only female student in her class – and head and shoulders above the boys- math wiz Marguerite Hoffman is a PhD candidate at the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure, an institution legendary for its genius quotient. Not only does Marguerite love math, it’s her entire life and she’s determined to prove the famously unsolved Golbach Conjecture. However, when an equally brilliant transfer student from Oxford points out a flaw in her hypothesis during a seminar presentation before specialists in her field, Marguerite’s entire world is shaken, all her certainties vanish and the insecure brainiac decides to drop out of school. Nevertheless, it seems that mathematics has a different fate for her.

East Coast Premiere
Country: France
Genre : Comedy, Crime
Director : Elias Belkeddar
Cast – Benoît Magimel , Reda Kateb, Meriem Amiar

Synopsis: Omar, better known as Omar la Fraise, is an old-fashioned bandit. Forced to go on the fun in Algeria, he makes a living out of petty theft accompanied by his illustrious sidekick Roger.

How did Omar the Strawberry become, ahem, Omar the Strawberry? Who knows. The theories are many and varied because the man in question is the gangster everyone fears, the icon to all the sinners with sticky fingers. But even icons get caught, or sentenced – to 20 years, actually, at least in France. But there is a way out for Omar. Given his roots, if he stays in Algiers and learns to be discreet, he will be just fine. He can even bring his best buddy, Roger.

Elias Belkeddar’s odd, surprisingly sweet movie The King of Algiers [+] – shown at Cannes as one of the Midnight Screenings, despite not being overly explicit – is really a love story. But not a love story between Omar and Samia, a lovely, no-bullshit lady he meets at a pastry factory, where fallen gangsters apparently end up. The real deal is the connection, the friendship, the love between fifty-something Omar and Roger, played by Reda Kateb and Benoît Magimel, respectively. They are friends who stay together in good times and bad – especially the very, very bad.

Connecticut Premiere
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Country: France
Director: Thomas Lilty
Cast: Vincent Lacoste, William Lebghil, Adèle Exarchopoulus, Louis Bourgoin, Luce Zhang, François
Cluzet. Bouli Lanners.

Synopsis: Gone are the medical peregrinations (Hippocrate, Médecin de campagne, Première année): This time, Thomas Lilti tackles the Republic’s other poor relation, national education. This new film is all about the transmission of knowledge: the opening credits of Un métier sérieux, made up of a flurry of television archive footage, seek to set the film in chronological order and bear witness to the reality of the profession today. In order to trace the career of a young teacher, it sets out all the parameters of its subject, like the student who, sent to the blackboard by Meriem (Adèle Exarchopoulos) in the first
sequence, is instructed to explain “as if she were the teacher.”

Writer-director Thomas Lilti trains an observant and empathetic eye on the travails of Benjamin (Vincent La Coste), a freshly accredited substitute teacher who must contend with the challenges of involving home life with the varied demands of students, parents and administrators. A film that focuses on how much the passion of teaching is still alive within a fragile institution.

RICHELIEU ( Temporaries)
Connecticut Premiere
Genre: Social Drama
Country: Canada,France
Director – Pier- Philippe Chevigny
Cast: Ariane Castellanos, Marc- André Grondin, Nelson Coranado, Eve Duranceau, Micheline Bernard, Luis Oliva, Gerardo Miranda, Antonio Ortega, Marvin Coroy, Maria Mercedes Cordy, Emile Schneider, Hubert, Proulx

Synopsis: Facing bankruptcy after a difficult breakup, Ariane moves back home to the Richelieu Valley and gets a job in a food transformation plant for seasonal migrant workers. Focused on solving her financial issues, Ariane serves as an interpreter between Stephane, the factory’s aggressive supervisor, and the 42 seasonal Guatemalan workers hired as cheap labor. She obeys Stephane’s often excessive orders, pressuring the underpaid Latino workers to constantly work overtime and turning down any
request for better conditions. Little by little , she befriends a group of four Guatemalans assigned to the most physically demanding unit of the entire factor. Shoveling shredded corn in harsh sun all day long, Manuel, Alphonso, Guillermo and Juan have no one else but her to voice their concerns.

Realizing the extent of her new friends’ vulnerability, Ariane begins to take a stand against Stephane.

Tension slowly builds between the two as Ariane defies his decision to fire workers or to illegally install surveillance cameras in the dormitories. When Manuel slowly fall ill to a mysterious condition,the stakes quickly develop into a crisis situation.

East Coast Premiere
Country: France, Belgium
Genre: Romance, Drama
Director: Alex Lutz
Cast: Alex Lutz, Karin Viard

Synopsis: One night, in the crowded Parisian metro, Aymeric randomly bumps into Nathalie when they both enter the train. As they argue while amused commuters look on, their spark of passion grows into mutual desire, and the two decide to spend the evening together. The strangers wander the streets of Paris moving from one party to the next and delaying their goodbyes. Once the sun rises, they become strangers again – but what if they never were?

East Coast Premiere
Country: Belgium, France, Luxembourg
Genre : Drama based on a true story
Director: Joachim LaFosse
Cast: Emmanuelle Devos, Daniel Auteuil, Mathieu Galoux, Salomé Dewaels, Jeanne Cherhal

Synopsis: Astrid, the wife of a renowned lawyer, has been silenced for 25 years. Her family’s equilibrium collapses when her children start looking for justice.

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