Celebrating its 15th edition from March 23rd through April 1st at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinéfranco has established itself as one of the largest and most popular festivals for film in the French language. The breadth of Francophone cinema, in geography as well as in styles and genres, is well-represented every year, and this year is no different. 28 features, 2 documentaries and 11 short films make up a diverse program, with films from France, Canada (Québec and Ontario), Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Morocco and Cameroon. In a first, the festival is opening with a Franco-Ontarian film, La Sacrée, which depicts the life of a village where love and gossip intertwine in a very humorous way.
Here are a few other films that look worthy of your time:
Ni à vendre ni à louer (Holidays By The Sea) (France, Director: Pascal Rabaté) – screening Saturday March 24 at 1:45pm
A near-silent comedy in the tradition of Jacques Tati’s M. Hulot’s Holiday, featuring such memorable faces as Maria De Medeiros and Dominique Pinon. This promises lots of physical comedy on the sun-splashed Atlantic coast of France.
La guerre des boutons (The War of the Buttons) (France, Director: Yann Samuell) – screening Sunday March 25 at 4:00pm
In this family comedy set in 1960, the children of two rural villages in the south of France fight it out in mock battles for ultimate supremacy.
Les hommes libres (Free Men) (France, Director: Ismaël Ferroukhi) – screening Sunday March 25 at 6:30pm
During World War 2 in Nazi-occupied France, the Paris Mosque helps to conceal and shelter Jews. A young Algerian man, sent to infiltrate the mosque by the police, must decide whether to remain a spy or to join the resistance.
Les Géants (The Giants) (France/Belgium/Luxembourg, Director: Bouli Lanners) – screening Tuesday March 27 at 6:30pm
A coming-of-age story about three boys spending the summer in the countryside. Director Lanners was a painter before he turned to filmmaking and the film promises lush visuals to go along with its story of the bonds formed between friends at a crucial age.
L’art d’aimer (The Art of Love) (France, Director: Emmanuel Mouret) – screening Saturday March 31 at 9:00pm
No one can make romantic comedies like the French, and this sweet concoction promises romance and beautiful Parisian settings that a film like Love Actually just can’t approach. Plus, it has the wonderful Francois Cluzet (Tell No One, Little White Lies).
Toutes nos envies (All Our Desires) (France, Director: Philippe Lioret) – screening Sunday April 1 at 6:30pm
Director Lioret has a way of dealing with heavy subjects with a deftly humane touch, much like English filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, or Belgians Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. I very much enjoyed his last film, Welcome (review), which dealt with “illegal” immigration, and he has re-teamed with actor Vincent Lindon in another human-interest story. This time, it’s about two judges who deal head-on with cases of people with extreme levels of debt. On paper, it doesn’t sound exciting, but I’m confident Lioret, Lindon and the rest of the cast will tell a very moving story to bring this issue to mind.
All screenings take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and tickets are available there for $12 each.