New Orleans is a city rich with festivals of all kinds. From the music of Jazz Fest to the Stella Shouting contest of the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, the city is rife with fun events celebrating various cultures and topics. In a weekend already filled with exciting affairs, including Satchmo SummerFest and the Whitney White Linen Night Block Party, the 13th Annual French Film Festival is also set to roll this weekend at the Prytania Theatre (Friday, August 6 – Tuesday, August 10). Presented by the New Orleans Film Society and the Consulat Général de France à la Nouvelle-Orléans, the festival showcases several French films both new and old. This year’s lineup consists of six unique and renowned films from the country.
Mesrine Parts I & II
The first films of the festival are parts one and two of Mesrine, a biographical look at notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine. Directed by Jean-François Richet, the films feature French star Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Twelve, Eastern Promises) as Mesrine. Richet and Cassel were both awarded César Awards (France’s equivalent to the Oscars), for Best Director and Best Actor respectively. The first film, Mesrine: Killer Instinct details the criminal’s early career and the second, Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 chronicles his subsequent escape from prison and run from the law. The films also star Gérard Depardieu (Cyrano de Bergerac) and Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). The films (combined as one in France) were also nominated for seven other César Awards, including Best Film. Previews can be seen here and here.
The 1946 classic Beauty and the Beast
This year’s festival also showcases a special presentation of the 1946 classic La belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast) directed by Jean Cocteau. This original French version of Beauty and the Beast is widely considered one of greatest fantasy films of all time. While the basic story will seem familiar to anyone who has seen the Disney classic, Cocteau’s version is darker yet beautiful, deeply poetic, and filled with post-World War II symbolism. See the trailer for the film here.
Other terrific films included this year are: Mademoiselle Chambon, Father of My Children, and Let It Rain. Click on each film’s title for a link to detailed plot summaries and trailers.
13th Annual French Film Festival Schedule:
Friday, August 6th
7:15 pm – Mesrine: Killer Instinct
9:30 pm – Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1
Saturday, August 7th
2:15 – Mademoiselle Chambon
4:30 – Mesrine: Killer Instinct
Sunday, August 8th
2:15 pm – Beauty and the Beast
4:15 pm – Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1
Monday, August 9th
7:15 – Father of My Children
Tuesday, August 10th
7:15 – Let It Rain
All films are shown at the Prytania Theatre (5339 Prytania St). General admission is $8.50 and $6.50 for New Orleans Film Society members. Tickets can be purchased at the Prytania Theatre box office or online at www.theprytania.com. Please visit the New Orleans Film Society’s website for more information.
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