Expect an outpouring of Francophilia to sweep Richmond, Virginia this weekend, as Virginia Commonwealth University hosts its 16th Annual VCU French Film Festival from March 28 – 30. Billing itself “the largest French film festival in the world,” VCU’s fest will screen 11 current French features, along with a selection of shorts, at the historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown, Richmond’s dining and shopping district.
The festival’s slate offers a diverse range of movies by France’s most acclaimed directors, with several stars familiar to American audiences. Beloved veteran Gerard Depardieu stars in Michou d’Auber, a coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of the Algerian war, while Audrey Tautou, Amelie’s impish ingénue, appears in the romance Ensemble, c’est Tou. Ubiquitous actor Daniel Auteuil stars in two of the festival’s offerings, the comedy L’Invite, and the friendship saga Dialogue avec mon jardinier. Some of the features shown will have their North American premieres at the VCU Festival, including Ma Vie En Rose director Alain Berliner’s J’aurais voulu être un danseur. Question-and-answer sessions with directors or actors from the featured movie will follow most screenings.
With festival sponsors ranging from the classic movie journal Cahiers du Cinema to the local Richmond Times-Dispatch, VCU’s fest presents a rare chance for American cineastes to catch some of France’s best contemporary films. The event also offers hands-on access to experienced French moviemakers: Aspiring screenwriters should note this year’s master class “From bestseller to box office: Adapting a novel for the screen,” to follow the movie La Verite ou Presque and to be conducted by the film’s director Sam Karmann, novelist Stephen McCauley and actress Catherine Olson. For those who value innovative cinema and informative programming, the VCU French Film Festival is a feast of riches.
For more information, visit http://www.frenchfilm.vcu.edu/.