Monday, April 20 kicks off the 19th annual COLCOA French Film Festival at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood (April 20-28). Always a popular event, COLCOA (City of Lights, City of Angels) showcases a fine selection of French dramas, comedies, documentaries, shorts, and for the first time, television. A record 68 films will screen over the nine-day period, including three World Premieres, seven International Premieres, 14 North American Premieres and 16 West Coast Premieres. For lovers of France and cinema, this is a festival worth attending. (For schedule and ticket information visit ColCoa.org.)
Five highlights to catch:
New Works, Established Directors
COLCOA always brings the best France has to offer in terms of films, and it’s exciting to catch acclaimed directors’ new works. This year seek out Academy Award winning Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”) for his excellent, harrowing new film “The Search” starring Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening; Anne Fontaine’s “Gemma Bovery,” starring Fabrice Luchini and Gemma Arterton; and Cedric Jimenez’s “The Connection” starring Jean Dujardin, which is the French flip side of William Friedkin’s classic “The French Connection.”
French NeWave 2.0
Saturday, April 25 is devoted to the new French New Wave, with films like “40-Love” co-written and directed by Stephane Demoustier; “Brooklyn” written and directed by Pascal Tessaud; “The Tournament” written and directed by Elodie Namer; “Hippocrates, Diary of a French Doctor” co-written and directed by Thomas Lilti; and “Love at First Fight” co-written and directed by Thomas Cailley who won awards at Cannes as well as the French Cesar award for Best First Film and Best Actress, and Most Promising Actor Cesars for stars Adele Haenel and Kevin Azai.
Film Noir Series
Although the locales may be sunny, the Film Noir themes are alive and well in these French offerings like: COLCOA’s Opening Night film, “A Perfect Man” co-written and directed by Yann Gozian and starring Pierre Niney; Andre Techine’s “In The Name of My Daughter” starring Guillaume Canet, Catherine Deneuve, and Adele Haenel; the gritty serial killer film “SK1” co-written and directed by Frederic Tellier and starring Raphael Personnaz and Nathalie Baye; and “Next Time I’ll Aim For The Heart” written and directed by Cedric Anger and starring Guillaume Canet.
This year’s COLCOA brings powerful documentaries such as: “Silenced Walls” by Sabrina Van Tassel; “Silvered Water, Syria Self Portrait,” by Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan; “Of Men and War” by Laurent Becue-Renard; and “Steak (R) Evolution” by Frank Ribiere. Saluting the journalists of Charlie Hebdo is the doc “Cartoonists, Foot Soldiers of Democracy” written by Radu Mihaileanu and Stephanie Valloatto and directed by Valloatto. There is also a musical docudrama hybrid called “We Did It On A Song” written and directed by David Andre.
For the first time, COLCOA presents a group of acclaimed French television dramas, mini-series, and series to share with American audiences. The shows are: “Blue Pills,” “Chefs,” “Danbe, Head Up,” “Ponzi’s Scheme,” “Spiral,” “Templeton,” and “White Soldier.” The first two episodes of each series will be screened.