Austin Film Society Announces Lineup for 2019’s New French Cinema Week
(AUSTIN, TX — March 22, 2019) Austin Film Society (AFS) announces the 2019 lineup for New French Cinema Week, a festival of new international films by up-and-coming Francophone filmmakers. The festival will run from Thursday, April 18 to Sunday, April 21 at the AFS Cinema.
In partnership with the Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers, and supported by UniFrance, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Austin Angers Creative and the City of Angers (Austin’s sister city in the Loire valley), the festival will welcome international guests and filmmakers, feature an opening night reception, guest DJ sets, and a diverse program of narrative features, documentaries, animations and shorts by emerging Francophone artists. Nearly all of the films are undistributed in the US, and so the week provides a rare opportunity to see European independent films from diverse perspectives, that don’t typically reach United States audiences.
This year’s selection features some of the most highly acclaimed new titles. The festival kicks off with DRAPEAUX DES PAPIER (PAPER FLAGS), the emotional feature debut from director Nathan Ambrosioni, which was the audience award winner at January’s Premiers Plans Film Festival. Ambrosioni will be in attendance with the film.
AFS welcomes visual artist and 3-time César Award-nominated director Clément Cogitore, who will present his newest short works BRAGUINO and LES INDES GALANTES. He will also present his Cannes-award winning 2015 narrative feature, NI LE CIEL NI LA TERRE (NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH), a thrilling mystery about the French military presence in Afghanistan.
Director Saïd Hamich will attend with his feature debut, RETURN TO BOLLÈNE, a striking narrative that draws attention to the economically disenfranchised and largely Arabic populace of suburban south central France. Closing out the festival will be the critically acclaimed Moroccan film SOFIA, which has won major awards at the Cannes, Palm Springs, and Carthage film festivals.
The program also includes LA CUISINE DES JUSTES, a documentary that explores culinary traditions of the Loire Valley and Austin’s sister city, Angers, accompanied by a conversation with the directors Emmanuel Morice and Nicholas Thomä, NIGHT EATS THE WORLD, a zombie art-horror film with director Dominique Rocher in attendance, Drawing By Drawing, a collection of animated non-fiction shorts from the Ecole des Beaux Arts of Angers, and THE COMPETITION (LE CONCOURS), a documentary by Claire Simon, which will be co-presented by Alliance Française of Austin.
The festival is sponsored by UniFrance, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, City of Angers and Austin Angers Creative.
A series pass includes admission to each film and the opening night reception. Series passes are $80 for non-members with discounted pricing for AFS members. Individual film tickets are $11.25 for non-members and $8.25 for AFS members.
Thursday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night selection. French stars Guillaume Gouix and Noémie Merlant deliver powerfully nuanced and emotional performances in this remarkable feature debut from Nathan Ambrosioni, who joins us in person for his Texas Premiere after winning the Audience Award in January at the Premiers Plans Film Festival. Vincent (Gouix) has just been released from a long prison sentence. He seeks out his only connection from before serving time, his younger sister Charlie (Merlant). With their broken family in the background, the two estranged siblings put their hearts on the line.
Friday, April 19, 6:30 p.m.
BRAGUINO preceded by LES INDES GALANTES (short)
Visual artist and filmmaker Clément Cogitore joins us to present his newest work, an electrifying observational work of a rarely-seen side of Russia. The Braguino clan have a self-sufficient existence in a wild, remote region of Siberia. One other family also lives in this outpost, just across the fence line from the Braguinos. The families are mortal enemies, and both are threatened by a changing climate and changing Russia.
Friday, April 19, 9:30 p.m.
Director Dominique Rocher joins us in person to present a hyper-modern and cinematic take on the zombie thriller. A melancholic Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie, of PERSONAL SHOPPER and OSLO 31, AUGUST) shows up at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment during a late-night rager. The next morning, the after-party scene is uncannily rough: the revelers have disappeared, and Sam finds himself in an altered Parisian landscape that is the ultimate challenge to his own sanity. Surprising and emotional, featuring memorable performances by Denis Lavant and Golshifteh Farahani (PATERSON), this is the film is the antidote to genre fatigue.
Saturday April 20, 1:00 p.m.
Director Saïd Hamich in attendnace. This compelling first film shines a light on economic inequities and racial injustices in working-class France. Nassim, in his early thirties, lives in Abu Dhabi with his American fiancée, Elisabeth. After several years of absence, he returns with her to Bollene, a town in the South of France where he grew up. But Nassim must face his past: a dead city now governed by the far right party, a complex relationship with his family, and a father he no longer speaks to.
Saturday, April 20, 4:00 p.m.
Take a deep dive into the unique cuisine and wine of France’s Loire Valley with some of the region’s most committed stewards of traditional practice. The documentary’s co-director, Emmanuel Morice, joins us in Austin to discuss his work following farm-to-table chefs, natural wine cultivators, wine cellar merchants, farmers, fisherman and more who make up a dynamic food culture committed to tradition and environmental principles, while finding innovative ways to adapt to modern society and climate.
Saturday, April 20, 8:30 p.m.
Director Clément Cogitore, who joins us in Austin with his newest docu-hybrid, BRAGUINO, will also present his acclaimed 2015 feature debut, winner of a special jury prize at Cannes Critic’s Week. A mystery-thriller taking place during the invasion of Afghanistan, the film follows a fictional French captain whose men begin mysteriously disappearing in the Afghan wilderness. A tale with unexpected turns, and a commentary on the west’s involvement in the Middle East.
Sunday, April 21, 1:30 p.m.
A completely engrossing and memorable documentary about college admissions at a unique institution. La Fémis, France’s premiere film academy, proposes a film education like no other-- training direct from professionals in the industry instead of career educators, and almost a guarantee of entry into the production system after graduation. Gaining entrance into the school is another story, and that’s where the tragicomedy of THE COMPETITION is set. In this observational documentary, we go behind the scenes of the admissions process, revealing the triumphs and calamities of those who dream of getting in to the world’s best film school.
Sunday, April 21, 4:00 p.m.
Charming snippets of autobiography become beautiful revelations in these student animators' non-fiction work. Exclusively hand-drawn and collage animations draw attention to the artistry of the craft. The program will be presented by Matthieu Dellale of the Ecole des Beaux Arts Angers.
Sunday, April 21, 6:15 p.m.
Winner of Best Screenplay at Cannes in 2018’s Un Certain Regard Competition, SOFIA is a beautifully-performed drama with surprising twists that illustrates the powerfully restrictive gender and class dynamics of modern day Morocco. Sofia is a single 20-year old living with her aspiring upper middle class family in Casablanca. At a family dinner to host her successful uncle’s visiting associate, Sofia’s wealthy cousin observes that the girl is in labor, but Sofia denies that she is pregnant.