Friday, March 23, 2012

Cinéfranco 2012, March 23–Apr 1

15th Annual Cinéfranco 2012
Celebrates International Francophone Cinema
in Toronto

Friday, March 23 – Sunday, April 1, 2012
At TIFF Bell Lightbox

Cinéfranco, English Canada’s largest celebration of international Francophone cinema is celebrating its 15th anniversary with love and passion.  And who better than the French to speak the language of love through film?  Running in Toronto from Friday, March 23 – Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinéfranco is an oasis for lovers of Francophone cinema with 16 North American Premieres, 5 Canadian Premieres, and 7 English Canadian Premieres and a showcase of 28 features, 2 documentaries and 11 shorts.

Marcelle Lean, Founder/Artistic & Executive Director of Cinéfranco says of this year’s festival, “15 years ago Cinéfranco was born under the sign of love and passion for Francophone films. Today more than ever love and passion are carried out  in the films I have programmed. I am delighted to observe that Francophone films have gained much visibility in Toronto since Cinéfranco’s birth! The challenge for us now is to unearth films that truly did not make it to Toronto…I am proud to say that my young, talented team and I successfully took up the gauntlet programming a great number of films never seen in Toronto from Ontario, Quebec, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Morocco, Mali, Cameroun…They come with prestigious prizes for some and fascinating backgrounds for others.” 

Cinéfranco is openingwith the first ever Franco-Ontarian comedy La Sacrée, a film with its own quirky take on love. Filmmaker Dominic Desjardins depicts the life of a village where love and gossip intertwine in a very humorous way.

In closing night film,Philippe Lioret’s All Our Desires (Toutes nos envies) from France, love, amorous friendships, family bonds are the engines of this poignant film enacted by Vincent Lindon and Marie Gillain nominated as “Best Actress” for the Cesar 2012.

This year, Cinéfranco shines with famous actors like Isabelle Huppert (My Worst Nightmare - Mon Pire cauchemarMy Little Princess), Julie Depardieu, François Cluzet (The Art of Love – L’Art d’aimer), the extraordinary Yolande Moreau (The Long Falling – Où va la nuit), Jacques Gamblin (The First Man – Le Premier hommeHolidays by the Sea – Ni à vendre, ni à louer), Yvan Attal (R.I.F – Report on Missing Persons), Vincent Lindon (All Our Desires  - Toutes nos envies) and Jean Reno (You Don’t Choose Your Family– On ne choisit pas sa famille). Among this year’s internationally renowned directors are Benoît Pilon (Trash - Décharge), Marc Bisaillon (Guilt – La Vérité), Saâd Chraïbi (Femmes en miroirs), Narjiss Nejjar (The Rif Lover – L’Amante du Rif), Régis Wargnier (The Straight Line –La Ligne droite), Bouli Lanners (The Giants – Les Géants), Jalil Lespert (Headwinds – Des Vents contraires), Anne Fontaine (My Worst Nightmare - Mon Pire cauchemar) and Philippe Lioret (All Our Desires– Toutes nos envies).

Accolades from this year’s films also include: the Belgian film The Giants (Les Géants) received the Magritte Award for “Best Film” and 2 awards in Cannes (C.I.A.C.E and SAC Prize at the Directors Fortnight). The Toronto International Film Festival gave the FIPRESCI Prize to The First Man (Le Premier homme) and the Festival of Karlovy Vary honored Pascal Rabaté with Best Director Prize for his Holiday By the Sea (Ni à vendre, ni à louer). The Art of Love (L’Art d’aimer)received the Prize of “Best Script” at the Montreal World Film Festival. Annabel Loyola’s documentary on Jeanne Mance won the Medal of the Historical Society of Montreal. My Little Princess has 2 nominations at the César 2012 for “Best First Feature film” and “Best Costume” and Trash (Décharge) by Benoît Pilon was nominated at the Jutras for “Best Make-up”.

Cinéfranco 2012 will have in attendance Commandant Patrick Baudot of the prestigious Crime Squad of 36 quai des Orfèvres (a consultant for thrillers and detective films). He will be present at the screening of the film R.I.F (Report on Missing Persons) and will be talking about his vast international experience with the FBI, Interpol, Scotland Yard in investigating missing persons and terrorism.

A round table with short film directors Izabel Barsive (Patsy), Aurélien Bodinaux (Up Your Black Ass! – A ton vieux cul de nègre!), Guillaume Courty (Apersona), Halima Ouardiri (Mokhtar) will take place on Saturday, March 24 after the screening of their films.  Daouda Coulibaly from Mali will join the debate through Skype (Tinye So).

Cinéfranco is always proud to showcase Canadian short films by promising filmmakers and celebrate the diversity of films from Francophone countries: the second session of short films on Sunday, March 25, will introduce Philippe Grégoire (Beep Beep), Charlotte Beaudoin-Pelletier (Mandala my love – Mandala mon amour), Andréa Cohen (Sheket), Moustapha Bako (Jean-Jacques) and Marc-André Girard (Mauser) who will be in attendance.

Cinéfranco will also be co-presenting an exhibition in honor of major artists from African and Caribbean cinemas, at the NFB Mediatheque, from March 23rd to April 1st. This exhibition, initiated by the Institut francais, in partnership with Cinéfranco, the NFB Mediatheque and The Consulate of France in Toronto, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Cinémathèque Afrique and aims at promoting the riches, diversity and talent of international Francophone emblematic filmmakers.

Another Cinéfranco highlight includes, “In Conversation with Professor Danièle Issa-Sayegh of U.of T,” which will deal with the concept of exile in the films The First Man (Le Premier homme) and The Disintegration (La Désintégration).

Cinéfranco’s exciting line-up for it’s 15th is a treat for all film lovers, centering around the universal theme of love and the trails and tribulations that come along with it … or the lack thereof.

Emmanuel Mouret, who is often called the French Woody Allen, directed the The Art ofLove (L’Art d’aimer). You know you are in love when you hear that little magic music inside you… Everybody is looking for that music in this charming comedy played by an ensemble cast with Julie Depardieu, François Cluzet, Frédérique Bel, Ariane Ascaride, all excellent very well known French actors.

Love can also be poisonous. Eva Ionesco in her first feature film My Little Princess recalls the vitriolic story of her childhood in the hands of an eccentric mother Hannah (Irina in real life). Eva’s mother used her 10-year-old daughter (Violette in the film) as a model for erotic/gothic pictures that she would sell. Eva Ionesco’s film is a catharsis for her childhood sacrificed on the altar of her stardom in 70s.

Anne Fontaine’s My Worst Nightmare (Mon Pire cauchemar) stars Isabelle Huppert as Agathe, a haughty contemporary art gallery director. She is hilarious opposite the Belgian actor Benoît Poelvoorde who is a chatty, uneducated jack-of-all-trades. Love has its ways in this superb comedy including the suave André Dussollier and the sweet Virginie Efira, two very popular French actors.

In Djamel Bensalah’s comedy, Beur sur la ville, a young incompetent would-be policeman is propelled into the frontline of a sensitive murder investigation. Josiane Balasko and Gérard Jugnot head a cast of very funny young stand-up comedians turned actors.

In My Piece of the Pie (Ma Part du gâteau), love translates into lust, sexual entitlement for a very rich trader Steve Delarue (Gilles Lellouch, winner of the romantic lead in Cabourg) who hires France as a cleaning lady. Don’t expect the Cinderella story all over again! The economic crisis is at the heart of the plot.

The economic crisis is also at the heart of the Swiss film Labour Court (Prud’Hommes) describing a society transformed by the changing working conditions in a fledgling economy where people are shown in conflict.

Only love will save Joël and Régis from slavery in Back to Square One (Casedépart). In this politically incorrect film, two half brothers are punished for disrespecting the inheritance their father left them: his emancipation certificate. Through some strange voodoo magic, Joël and Régis are propelled into the time of slavery as they fall into all the traps of discrimination in the Eighteenth Century.

Actor turned director Christian Clavier’s(The Visitors - Les Visiteurs) hilarious You Don’t ChooseYourFamily (On ne choisit pas sa famille) tells the story of a lesbian couple wanting to adopt a child from Thailand. When the adoption law changes, one of the women plans a scheme involving her brother as the pretend husband of her partner.  Jean Reno’s deadpan humor adds a twist to this fun film filled with vaudeville triggers.

Isabelle Nanty and Jean-Paul Rouve, two outstanding comic actors, deliver a colorful performance as the parents of three children in The Tuches (Les Tuche), where a poor family is cemented by love, until they win the Euro lottery and discover the power of money and the luxuries of Monaco.

In Holidays By the Sea (Ni à vendre ni à louer) love needs no words to describe lust, routine love, that first time when two people look at each other and fall in love or the practices of a dominatrix.  Pascal Rabaté manages to pay tribute to Jacques Tati in this fresh, delightful film filled with a dazzling cast (Jacques Gamblin, Maria De Medeiro)

In Trash (Décharge),Benoît Pilon’s (The Necessities of Life- Ce qu’il faut pour vivre) second feature at this year’s festival, altruistic love is not enough to save a person who does not want to be saved. Pierre, a happy father and a loving husband, comes across young Eve, a drug addict prostitute. This encounter brings back memories of his battles against addiction. By attempting to extract Eve from her life, Pierre has to fight his demons all over again.

On the beat (Sur le Rythme) showcases the talent of Nico Archambault, the first winner of So You Think You Can Dance Canada competition and brings music and love together through modern dance. Beautiful Delphine is looking for a new partner to audition for a gig in New York. She meets hunky Marc and in spite of their differences they fall in love. Their dancing is a feast for the eyes of dance lovers.

Annabel Loyola’s documentary A Mad Venture: in the Steps of Jeanne Mance (La Folle entreprise: sur les pas de Jeanne Mance) is a labor of love. The filmmaker celebrates the courage, the tenacity and the infinite love, devotion of Jeanne Mance, co-founder of the city of Montreal, for the poor and the sick in the XVIIth Century.

In Free Men (Les Hommes libres), Franco-Moroccan filmmaker Ismaël Ferroukhi uncovers the little known story of the Imam of Paris Mosque who, in 1942, saved many Jewish lives either by hiding the persecuted families in the Mosque or delivering religious certificates. The film is remarkably carried by a rising star of the French cinema, Tahar Rahim revealed in the stunning film The Prophet (Le prophète).

La Désintégration (The Disintegration) offers a different view of Muslim youth in France. It is the chilling account of how disenchanted young men are manipulated into joining terrorist cell. Filmmaker Philippe Faucon chronicles the different stages of this tragic reality.

The First Man (Le Premier homme)mixes love and hatred in a film adapted from the last unfinished novel by Albert Camus. Jean Cormery goes to visit his beloved mother in his native Algeria where he encounters two angry peoples: the French colonialists against the freedom fighters. While he is supporting the latter, Jean Cormery will reminisce his childhood with his strict grandmother, his loving mother and uncle. He remembers his playmates and his schoolteacher who enabled him to become a French respected author.

In the Franco-Belgian The Long Falling (Où va la nuit), a battered wife Rose Mayer, played by the impressive Yolande Moreau, kills her abusive husband to join her son in Brussels. Pain, resentment, anger spewed at her by her son come to rock the fragile freedom Rose Mayer just yanked from her past life.

Guilt (La Vérité)revolves around the death of a man caused by two teenagers. Quebecois Marc Bisaillon describes the spiraling into remorse, regret and bad conscience of one protagonist versus the other protagonist who continues living as if nothing happened.
In the intense love drama The Rif Lover (L’Amante du Rif), Aya, who is used as a pawn by her brother to get his own cannabis field, falls in the arms of the Rif drug lord who robs her of the romantic life she has dreamed of. Director Narjiss Nejjar adapted the novel based on a true story written by her mother. In the stunning décor of the Moroccan mountain range, the female filmmaker details the lives of women in prison and their conditions in a male dominated family and society.

The illustrious Saâd Chraïbi’s  Femmes en miroirs is another reflexion of how life and its guiding principles in Morocco dictate the lives and love of each woman. The film had an impact as it took third position in the Moroccan box-office and got an official selection in the National Film Festival of Tangiers in spite of some very controversial points of view on Moroccan women.

In Headwinds (Des Vents contraires), Sarah mysteriously vanishes leaving her husband Paul and their two children in great distress. Benoît Magimel, a seasoned actor, expresses the torment of the loving father trying to start his life from scratch in spite of his bad luck. Directed by Jalil Lespert, himself a superb actor, the film is getting a buzz for the top French film awards, les César.

R.I.F(Report on Missing Persons) by Franck Mancuso follows Stéphane, police captain in Paris, in his frantic search for his wife who suddenly disappeared. Clashing with the local police, Stéphane is suspected of murder. Yvan Attal as the deserted husband gives an incredible performance full of nuances opposite another great French actor Pascal Elbé as a “gendarme” who foils all Stéphane’s efforts to find the culprit because of administrative protocol.

A mother leaves her two sons in their deceased grandfather’s home in the remarkable Belgian film, The Giants (Les Géants). Left to fend for themselves, Zak and Seth joined by their Dany, get in serious trouble with criminals and drug dealers. They roam the stunning region of the Ardennes to find food, shelter and money to survive. Director Bouli Lanners delivers a coming of age story full of charm, tenderness, vulnerability and enormous charisma from the young actors.

Filmmaker Régis Wargnier’s  (Indochine)The Straight Line (La Ligne droite) shows us the struggle of a young athlete, Yannick, who lost his sight after a car accident. His love for his sport inspires him to continue to pursue his racing career, but to do so he must find another athlete who can train with and coach him. Leila played by the magnificent Rachida Brakni, just out of prison and an athlete herself accepts to accompany him on the racetracks. In their needs to rebuild their lives, Yannick and Leila clash.

War of Buttons (La Guerre des boutons) is the brilliant remake of the 1962 Yves Robert’s film that became a classic in the French cinema. Directed with sensitivity and great humor by Yann Samuell, the film opposes two gangs of children belonging to two warring villages. The teachers interpreted by great comic actors Alain Chabat and Elie Simoun, are no better. Adults egg the children to carry on the generation long conflict with hilarious arguments and attitudes. To those who have nostalgia for the 60s, this charming family comedy brings back the values of that era mixed with a more contemporary flavor.

Cinéfranco 2012 would not be possible without the support of all of our valued sponsors.
Cinéfranco would like to thank our major sponsors: Skylink  Group of Companies– Skylink Aviation –Telefilm Canada – Bureau du Québec à Toronto – Patrimoine canadien/ Heritage Canada – Easton’s Group of Hotels , A Steve Gupta Company.

Cinéfranco is very grateful to: Affaires Francophones de l’Ontario - Air Canada - BMO Nesbitt Burns – Borealis –  Cassels Brock – CIBC - Conros Corporation - Consulat général de France – Consulat général de Belgique – Consulat général de  Suisse à Toronto - Dominion of Canada –- Element Financial – Endeavour Marketing - Ivanhoe – KMH Cardiology – Magna – Manulife -Molson Coors Canada – National Bank - RBC – Scotiabank – SNC Lavalin – TD Bank Financial Group – Toronto Arts Council -Turtle Island – Ted & Anastasia ManziarisParnerships with : Club canadien de Toronto – La Semaine de la FrancophonieThank you to our media sponsors: CBC Radio Canada – TFO – CIUT Pot Pourri – The Scene in TO – Utan Media

Guests at Cinefranco 2012 Dominic Desjardins, Mark Chatel, Damien Robitaille (Opening night film, La Sacrée)-Commandant Patrick Baudot (Crime Squad of 36 quai des Orfèvres)-Professor Danièle Issa-Sayegh (U of T)-Round Table on concept ofexile in films (The First Man – Le Premier homme and The Disintegration– La Désintégrationwith Izabel Barsive (Patsy), Aurélien Bodinaux (Up Your Black Ass! – A ton vieux cul de nègre!), Guillaume Courty (Apersona), Halima Ouardiri (Mokhtar) + via Skype Daouda Coulibaly  (Tinye So) – Saturday, March 24, 2012- The second session of short films on Sunday, March 25, will introduce Marc-André Girard (Mauser)-Sophie Desmarais (Trash/Décharge)-Marc Bisaillon, Pierre-Luc Lafontaine & Emile Mailhiot (Guilt / La Vérité)-Annabel Loyola (A Mad Adventure : in the Footsteps of Jeanne Mance/La Folle entreprise : sur les pas de Jeanne Mance)-Stéphane Goël (Labour Court /Prud’hommes)*Saâd Chraïbi (Femmes en miroirs)

Note: The presence of guests may be subject to last minute changes.

Cinéfranco 2012 Box Office information:Tickets: $12; Students and seniors: $10; Up to 18: $8 (proof of ID required)Festival Pass (10 tickets): $99Walkup: 10am to 10 pm daily –TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West+Online: phone: 10 am to 7 pm daily 416-599-TIFF (8433) or toll free 1-888-599-8433+Surcharge on tickets purchased online or by phone
For box office, ticketing, schedule and program info please go to:

For information on Cinefranco 2012 films in English & French, please go to website: note: on the upper right hand corner icon – indicates ENGLISH orFRENCH version of film information; just hit icon)

All films at Cinéfranco are screened with English subtitles

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