If you’re a lover of all things French, including really great French films, then you’ll be delighted to hear that Monday, April 21st kicks off the 18th Annual City of Lights, City of Angels (COLCOA) Film Festival at the Director’s Guild in Hollywood (running through April 28). One of my favorite film festivals of the year, COLCOA celebrates a diverse spectrum of French films. COLCOA Executive Producer and Artistic Director, Francois Truffart exclaims, “COLCOA has become not only a showcase but a brand to promote French Films in the US.” For festival schedule and ticket information visit COLCOA.org.
Here are five COLCOA 2014 highlights:
French Film Premieres
COLCOA prides itself on its premieres, including the opening night film, “We Love You, You Bastard” directed by Oscar-winner Claude Lelouch (“A Man and a Woman”), which is a North American Premiere. Two of the festival’s films, the romance, “Not My Type,” and the heist film, “The Last Diamond” (starring Berenice Bejo and Yvan Attal) actually premiere at COLCOA one week before their opening in France.
French Film Comedies
COLCOA presents some smart comedies, including a ‘found footage’ style comedy, “Babysitting” (co-directed by Nicolas Benamou and actor/co-writer/co-director, Philippe Lacheau); the dark farce, “Jacky in the Kingdom of Women” (written and directed by Riad Sattouf and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg); the ten Cesar-nominated (including five wins), “Me, Myself and Mom” (written and directed by Guillaume Gallienne); “Paulette” starring Bernadette Lafont; Albert Dupontel’s “9-Month Stretch;” and Dany Boon’s “Superchondriac.”
French documentaries make a strong showing at this year’s COLCOA. Winner of the French Cesar award for Best Documentary is “On the Way to School” (Sur le chemin de l’ecole), an incredibly moving profile of four groups of students who travel miles through risky terrain for the privilege of gaining an education in Kenya, Patagonia, Bay of Bengal, and Morocco. Three other documentaries round out the impressive slate: “How I Came to Hate Math,” “Stop-Over,” and “Flore,” a film that examines filmmaker Jean-Albert Lievre’s personal journey with his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease.
French Film Classics
Vibrant film festivals not only showcase new films, but pay homage to classic narratives of the past. COLCOA presents digitally restored versions of award-winning films, including “Queen Margot” directed by Patrice Chereau and starring Isabelle Adjani, Jean-Hugues Anglade, and Daniel Auteuil (1994); Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” (1946); Rene Clement’s “Purple Noon” (1960); “Favourites of the Moon” (1984); and Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “L’Assasin Habite Au 21” (1942). Also screening is the first film in the trilogy by Cedric Klapisch, “L’Auberge Espagnole" (2002), whose final film in the Xavier's Travels trilogy, “Chinese Puzzle” (2013) has its West Coast premiere at this year’s COLCOA.
French Short Films
COLCOA is proud to select 20 new short films to compete for the 2014 COLCOA Awards. Highlighting new French talent, each short will be shown before a feature film presentation during the festival week (April 21 – 27). Then on Sunday, April 27, at 11:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., there will be two screening programs of ten short films each for Free Admission, on a first come, first serve basis. Audience members are invited to vote for the short film Audience Award.