Friday, March 26, 2010

Cinéfranco - a celebration of francophone Cinema in Toronto

Tonight is the opening of Cinéfranco, the largest francophone film festival in English Canada. This year, the festival moves from its previous home at the Royal Cinema in Little Italy to the AMC Yonge-Dundas theatres in the centre of the downtown core. Additional screenings take place at the Revue Cinema.

The films are all subtitled when necessary. They come not only from France and Quebec, but also Belgium, Switzerland, North Africa. There are free events such as a screening of the Swiss documentary “Au loin des villages” and a Documentary Round Table on the documentary in the francophone film industry.

Many of the films are comedic and quite charming such as “Tricheuse” (So Woman!) and “Le Coach”. Also included are dramas such as “Eden à l’ouest” (West Is Eden) by the great Costa-Gavras, and the gripping thriller “Complices” (Partners) which closes the festival. The short film selections from Canada and Begium are very strong.

The opening film Le Divan du monde (Everybody’s Couch), is a modest but lovely bilingual film made by Toronto-based couple director Dominic Desjardins and his producer wife Rayne Zukerman. The film is a road trip, sort of like a mirror version of One Week. An Acadian woman returns home from Vancouver to Prince Edward Island and meets an ex-pat Quebecois musician who follows her on the journey.

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Here is the full press release:

13th Annual Cinéfranco 2010

Celebrates International Francophone Cinema in Toronto

Friday, March 26 – Saturday, April 3
at AMC Dundas Square Cinemas and the Revue Cinema

Wednesday, March 10, 2010: Cinéfranco, English Canada’s largest celebration of international francophone cinema is celebrating its thirteenth year in Toronto from Friday, March 26 to Saturday, April 3, 2010 at its new home in the heart of the city - the AMC Dundas Square Cinemas. Cinéfranco is an annual oasis for lovers of francophone cinema with 9 Canadian Premieres, 10 English Canadian Premieres and a showcase of 30 features and 10 shorts, a tribute to the controversial Québec nationalist Pierre Falardeau, a spotlight on Swiss films and a free panel on Francophone documentary.

“This year we are proud to present a feast of the best of contemporary and award winning francophone cinema to Toronto audiences”, said Marcelle Lean, Founding and Artistic Director of Cinéfranco. “Many films have only recently opened in theatres in Europe and I’m excited that we can bring you memorable moments with some of your favourite film stars including – Isabelle Adjani, Vincent Lindon, Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, Gérard Jugnot. I have been dreaming of a francophone cinema located in the centre of the city. At age 13, this dream is finally materializing and Cinéfranco has a new home at the AMC Dundas Square. Our Tribute to Pierre Faladeau, the Québec feature “3 Saisons” (3 Seasons) and Francophone Canadian shorts program will screen at the Revue Cinema, and a free screening of the Swiss documentary “Au loin des villages” is being held at the CBC’s Graham Spry Theatre. Get set to ride on a roller coaster of emotions and meet with filmmakers from francophone Ontario, Québec, France, Belgium and Switzerland at Cinéfranco 2010.”

Cinéfranco 2010’s Opening Night film is the English Canadian Premiere “Le Divan du Monde” (Everybody’s Couch). Directed by Toronto based Dominic Desjardins, “Le Divan du Monde” is the first fictional feature by a francophone Ontario filmmaker for over 20 years. Winner of the TV5 Prize for Best Francophone Outside of Quebec - Toronto based director Dominic Desjardins’ musical and visually breathtaking road trip across Canada follows Zoé, (Mélanie LeBlanc) a young Acadian woman heading home to her mother in PEI after a failed relationship on the west coast. Alex (Antoine Gratton), the first person who offers her a couch to sleep on joins Zoé as they travel from one city to the next, learning to trust each other and giving new meaning to each other’s lives. Interesting to note that the lead actor is also the composer of the film’s soundtrack. Director Dominic Desjardins is presenting his film “Le Divan du Monde” (Everybody’s Couch) at Cinéfranco.

This year’s Closing Night film “Complices” (Partners) is currently playing in theatres in France. Winner of the Gold Plaque at the 2009 Chicago Film Festival and a winner for Best Script at the a 2010 Quartz Award (Swiss Oscars). Part of this year’s focus on Swiss cinema “Complices” is a clever and gripping mystery thriller. Vincent’s body is found in the Rhone River two months after he and Rébecca meet and fall madly in love. Then Rébecca goes missing. Swiss filmmaker Frédéric Mermoud’s clever film keeps the audience a step ahead of intrepid police detective Lt Hervé Cagan and his partner Karine Mangin’s investigation played by two very-well known and talented French actors Emmanuelle Devos and Gilbert Melki.

* FROM QUÉBEC:, Cinéfranco is showcasing the diverse stylings of “3 Saisons” (3 Seasons), one of this year’s Genie Award nominated films for Best Film . An Ontario premiere, Jim Donovan’s powerful, raw and moving drama of five parallel lives in Montreal destined to come together through suffering and violence is also a story of hope and rebirth. With a World Premiere at Sundance 2010 Podz, as he’s known in Quebec (Daniel Grou) is on a roll with the revenge drama “Les Sept jours du talion” (Seven Days) adapted to the screen by Quebec bestselling horror specialist Patrick Senécal from his novel of the same name and starring Rémy Girard and Claude Legault. Based on a true story, Simon Lavoie’s “Le Déserteur” tells the story of Georges Guénette, a deserter from the Canadian Army during World War II, who was shot and killed by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This year’s offerings from Quebec also include a short film program including Denis Villeneuve’s (Polytechnique) award-winning “Next Floor” and Nadine Valcin’s “Entre Deux” (In Between), winner of the Drama Prize at the National Institute. Other shorts in the program include Aurélie Resch’s “Sodade”, Alexandre Leblanc and Benoît Bourbonnais’ ”Surmenage” (Losing It) and Michaël Lalancette’s “Ha Noël!” (Oh Tannenbaum!). And, “Africorama”, a feature documentary by Richard Lacombe tells the story of three young people from Quebec involved in international cooperation missions in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali. The following Quebecois filmmakers will present their films at Cinéfranco:

* Richard Lacombe director of “Africorama
* Nadine Valcin “Entre Deux” (In Between); Aurélie Resch “Soldade”; Alexandre Leblanc & Benoît Bourbonnais “Surmenage” (Losing It)
* Jim Donovan, director of “3 Saisons” (3 Seasons)
* Simon Lavoie, director of “Le Déserteur”

Cinéfranco 2010 pays tribute to controversial Québec nationalist, journalist and filmmaker Pierre Falardeau who passed away in 2009, by screening “Le Party” (1989) and perhaps his best known work “Octobre” (l994). “Falardeau, a strong Quebec nationalist never favoured having his films translated into English”, says Marcelle Lean. “It was extremely difficult but we are very pleased we were able to secure English subtitled prints of both “Le Party” and “Octobre” for Cinéfranco audiences and are thrilled that Falardeau’s partner Manon Lariche will be present to discuss his work with the audience.

Octobre” tells a fictionalized version of the October Crisis from the point of view of the Chénier Cell, the FLQ terrorist cell who in 1970 kidnapped and murdered Quebec minister and Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte. The movie was co-written with and based on a book by Francis Simard, who was one of the members of the Chénier Cell.

Pierre Falardeau’s partner Manon Lariche will present his films “Le Party” and“Octobre” at Cinefranco.

To showcase the quality and diversity of films from francophone countries has always been part of Cinéfranco’s ongoing vision. Along with films from France and Québec, Cinéfranco is pleased to show films this year from Belgium and Switzerland, along with French co-productions involving directors, writers and cast from Luxembourg, Italy and Greece.

“This year we decided to take a special look at SWITZERLAND which was prompted by a surge in production and box office success”, says Marcelle Lean. “As well, French language Swiss films are very rare – so Cinéfranco 2010 audiences are in for a treat with four outstanding films including “Complices” (Partners) our Closing Night film.”

A suspenseful and moving drama of survival, Nicolas Steil’s “Réfractaire” (Draft Dodgers) deals with the Nazi’s kidnapping of young men in annexed Luxembourg who were sent to fight at the Russian front in WWII. In “Réfractaire”, Francois, 21 yrs, goes underground to beat the draft, but his fellow deserters are distrustful and hostile of him because his father worked for the Germans.

Winning two hotly contested Quartz trophies (Swiss Oscars) for Best Feature and Best Actor for Antonio Buíl at the March 3 awards in Lucerne, the young Swiss-French director Séverine Cornamusaz’s debut feature “Coeur Animal” (Animal Heart), a drama set in rural Switzerland follows an abusive husband and his ailing wife.

Séverine Cornamuzas is presenting her film “Coeur Animal” (Animal Heart) at Cinéfranco

Olivier Zuchuat’s feature documentary Au loin des villages” (Far from The Village) – winner of the 2009 Quartz trophy for Best Documentary patiently tells the story of 13,000 refugees from the Darfur conflict who now make their home in camps in Chad.

“Au loin des villages” will be shown at a free screening at the CBC’s Graham Spry Theatre.

Three features and a program of humorous shorts by audience favourite Xavier Diskeuvemake up BELGIUM’s contribution to this year’s Cinefranco program

In Belgium filmmaker Bernard Bellefroid’s “La Régate” (The Boat Race), 15-year-old Alex lives alone with his Dad, enduring relentless physical abuse, rebelling against everyone. To escape this daily nightmare, Alex rows on the Meuse River, and has only one obsession – to win the Belgian Singles Championships at any cost. “La Régate” had its world premiere at the Namur Festival, Europe’s largest Francophone film festival near Belgium and is still playing in theatres there.

Stign Coninx’s insightful “Soeur Sourire” (Sister Smile) is an engaging film that tells the remarkable story of one of the most bizarre cultural phenomena of the 1960’s, a Dominican nun in Belgium who became a world famous singing star. Her albums sold by the millions and in 1963 her hit song Dominique overtook the Beatles and Elvis Presley in the charts. But who exactly was Jeanine Deckers? Cécile de France gives a sympathetic performance a a doubt-ridden, touching woman looking for love in this poignant biopic.

Belgium filmmaker Micha Wald’s “Simon Konianski” is a comedy with a lot of death. At the ripe old age of 35, Simon returns to the nest to live with his father, a concentration camp survivor. They make each other miserable, but when his father dies, Simon decides to respect his last wishes and bury him in his native village. In the absolutely unique road movie that results, Simon and his young son undertake a comic, picaresque quest in the company of his father's genial ghost as well as a series of individuals out of a pop comic.

Another comedy “Les Barons”(The Barons) rounds out this year’s films from Belgium. Filmmaker Nabil Ben Yadir’s clichéd-overturning, subtle, touching and funny film looks at the life of a group of young men from the streets of Molenbeek, an arab immigrant neighborhood of Brussels who call themselves “Les Barons”. Mostly unemployed they pool their money from welfare and black market jobs together to purchase a BMW and try and live the good life while battling prejudice and parental pressures.

This is also director Nabil Ben Yadir’s story – he knows how difficult it is to take that step away from the confines of the ghetto: “If you leave le quartier, it’s a bit like treason…the first step is complicated….for me, it was making my first feature film.”

Director Nabil Ben Yadir is presenting his film “Les Barons” (The Barons) at Cinéfranco.

FRANCE remains at the heart of Cinéfranco with classic thrillers, period pieces and literary adaptations - but this year comedy is king!

“Bambou” is a comedy about a cocker spaniel that comes into a couple’s life, and probably saves the marriage. The director, Didier Bourdon is also the lead of “Bambou” and a well known comic actor in France. Bourdon has assembled a high profile cast including Anne Consigny, Pierre Arditi, Eddy Mitchell and Anny Duperey. A comedy of errors best describes Jean-François Davy’s “Tricheuse” (So Woman!) when Clemence’s landlord informs her he won’t tolerate single women in his building, Farid, the piano tuner happens to be there to play the part. Starring Hélène de Fougerolles, Zinedine Soualem and Valérie Kaprisky. The irrepressible French comedienne Marilou Berry takes Hollywood’s Ugly Betty up a notch in “Vilaine” (Ugly Melanie), a delicious comedy co-directed by Jean-Patrick Benes and Allan Mauduit. Statistics say that 1 out of 2 French marriages end in divorce. Ivan Calbérac’s “Une semaine sur deux” (et la moitié des vacances scolaires) / Alternate Weeks (And Half the Vacation) takes a light hearted look at that statistic for one separated couple and their family in this dramedy starring Mathilde Seigner, Bernard Campan, Bertille Chabert and Gregori Derangere.

“Le Coach” a classic comedy starring Richard Berry (uncle to Marilou Berry of “Ugly Melanie”) as Maximilien Chêne, a gambler whose wife tosses him out. When Maximilien’s boss hands him a way out, it leads to uproarious misunderstandings and hilarious complications. Sharp, subtle and funny, “Commis d’office” actor Zem Roschdy (Woman of Monaco) is the soul of the film which shifts from a thriller to comedy – a gem! Antoine (Roschdy), a lawyer for petty criminals is hired by Henry Marsac, a lawyer of ill repute. Antoine soon realizes that his sudden success may lead him behind bars……..Mayhem ensues in Frédéric Auburtin’s “Envoyés Très Spéciaux” (Special Correspondents) starring the hilarious duo – Gérard Lanvin and Gérard Jugnot. as two journalists – France mobilizes to gain the release of two kidnapped reporters (Lanvin and Jugnot) in Iraq, except that our journalists never set foot in Bagdad!

With “La journée de la jupe” (Skirt Day) Isabelle Adjani returns in triumph to the big screen after a five year absence to star in this provocative drama – recently awarded a 2010 Cesar Award for Best Film and Best Actress (Adjani) – about a teacher at an urban school for “difficult” students who unwittingly ends up in a hostage situation.

A gentler drama “Dans tes bras” (In Your Arms) brave young protagonist, sixteen yr old Louis, abandoned by his mother as a newborn wants to find his biological mother. Against the wishes of his adopted parents Louis heads out to find his birth mother who, thrown by his unexpected visit violently rejects the child she never knew, but Louis’ perseveres through his own pain and turmoil to find himself. Martin Lozillon as a tortured young man and Michele Laroque are inspiring in this tense drama.

Master filmmaker Costa-Gavras brings a magic touch to a story of an illegal immigrant who comes to Europe for a better life in “Eden à l’ouest” (West Is Eden). Costa-Gavras says about his film: “Just like in The Odyssey, it is in the Aegean Sea where begins the adventure that Elias, our hero without a legend, will experience. “Eden à l’ouest” (Eden is West) attempts to echo wandering, the story of those - what we, or our mothers and fathers were yesterday - whom cross the earth, brave oceans and uniforms in the search of a roof over their heads. Elias's story is not that of Ulysses, neither is it mine. But I recognize myself in Elias, this stranger who is not unfamiliar to me.”

An action packed tribute to real life female resistance fighters in WWII, “Les Femmes de l’ombre” (Female Agents) director Jean-Paul Salomé, drew inspiration from an obituary in The Times newspaper of Lise Villameur, one of the few recognised heroines of the SOE (UK resistance group). With an all star cast featuring Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu and Moritz Bleibtreu star in this French drama set just before D-Day. and follows women in the French resistance and armed forces with a pair of dangerous missions: save a British geologist who was captured on the Normandy beach and kill a German officer who may have discovered the impending invasions.

“Louise Michel, La Rebelle” (Louise Michel, The Rebel) is a stunning historical drama of epic proportions. Based on a very dark piece of French history, Louise Michel, an anarchist with the Paris Commune was deported in 1873 to the colony of New Caledonia but maintained her independent spirit by reaching out to the aboriginal Kanaks to learn more about their life and culture and to support them against the French colonials. Starring Sylvie Testud, the embodiment of defiance as Louise Michel.

Torn from the pages of classic French literature Cinéfranco presents two very different literary adaptations for your enjoyment. Flaubert’s classic novella “Un Coeur simple” (A Simple Heart) comes to life in the hands of co-directors Marion Laine and Hadrien Bichet. Starring the luminous Sandrine Bonnaire as Félicité, a simple and kind maid who finds a job in the house of Mathilde Aubain, a recent widow and mother of two. The two women, whose personalities and social positions are completely opposite, soon develop a strong bound. Together they'll find ways to heal the wounds of the past.

The beloved French children’s book first published in 1959 “Le Petit Nicolas” (Little Nicholas) is brought to the screen by director Laurent Tirard. A huge box office success in France, the film garnered over 5 million entries. The screenplay for “Le Petit Nicolas” was written by the book’s author Rene Goscinny and tells the misadventures of an 8 yr old boy. A perfect family film.

Cinéfranco 2010 in partnership with the FRIC (Front des Réalisateurs Indépendants du Canada) is proud to present a Documentary Round Table to discuss the place of francophone documentary in the francophone film industry. This free event will be held on Tuesday, March 30 from 12:00pm – 1:30pm, in a public place at the Radio Canada Building (Front Street entrance). Francophone documentary filmmakers Fadel Saleh, Claude Guilmain and Richard Lacombe (“Africorama”) will be debating the topic.

Cinéfranco would not be possible without the ongoing support of our valued sponsors including:

Our Lead Sponsors: SkyLink Aviation/ Bureau du Québec à Toronto/ Téléfilm Canada/SkyLink Group of Companies/ The Ontario Trillium Foundation/ Canadian Heritage

Our Major Sponsors: The Dominion, Air Canada, Mortgage, Invahoe Cambridge, KMH, Turtle Island, Manulife Financial, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Magna, RBC Banque Royale, Namana, Borealis, Hilton Toronto, Scotiabank, Cargojet, Cassels Brock, Consulat général de France, Office des Affaires francophones (Ontario), Consulat général de Suisse, Astral Media, TFO, Radio-Canada television, 860AM Première chaîne, Ted & Anastasia Manzarias.

Box Office info AMC Dundas Square

* In Person: AMC Box office - 10 Dundas Street East
Open 1 pm-11 pm Monday to Friday
Open 10 am-11 pm Saturday and Sunday
For All Tickets (Proof of ID will be required for Students, Seniors and High School Students)
* Online: For Adult Tickets Only
* Automated Box Office available at AMC 10 Dundas Street East (10 machines Open from 7 am to midnight) For Adult Tickets Only
* By Phone*: 416-335-5323 open 24 H For Adult Tickets Only

*Surcharge on tickets purchased online or by phone.

Please note that the box office will be open 45 minutes before the first show of the day if not already opened based on the above hours.

Box Office info Revue Cinema (for Tribute to Pierre Falardeau March 27 & Franco-Canadian Cinema - “3 Saisons” & Short Films program - March 31)

· Tickets only sold in person at The Revue 30 minutes prior to each screening.

· Revue Cinema: 400 Roncesvalles Ave. Telephone: 416-531-9950

For box office, ticketing, schedule and program info please go to :


All films at Cinéfranco are screened with English subtitles.

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