Friday, April 5, 2013

Cinéfranco 2013, Apr 5-14

Cinéfranco, English Canada’s largest celebration of international Francophone cinema is celebrating its 16th anniversary with a treasure trove of films for Toronto audiences. This year’s film line-up showcases a variety of topical themes including women’s dignity (Les Femmes du Bus 678 (Cairo 678), La Mise à l’aveugle (Small Blind), Paulette; the plight of children (Catimini); justice (L’Affaire Dumont, Les Invisibles) and prison life (Tango libre (Dance to Freedom), Ombline, Dead Man Talking) along with spirited comedies (Comme un Chef (The Chef), Mince alors! (Big is Beautiful); intriguing dramas À Perdre la raison (Our Children), and adaptations (Le Prénom (What’s In A Name), Ce que le jour doit à la nuit (What the Day Owes the Night).

Returning to its roots at The Royal this year from Friday, April 5 – Sunday, April 14, 2013, Cinéfranco is once again the place to discover the depth and diversity of Francophone cinema. Films from Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Luxembourg, Morocco, and Switzerland will grace the big screen in Toronto’s beloved annual showcase of the best of Francophone cinema with 3 World Premieres, 7 North American Premieres, 13 English Canadian Premieres and 2 Toronto Premieres and a showcase of 25 features, 1 documentary and 6 shorts.

Marcelle Lean, Founder/Artistic & Executive Director of Cinéfranco says of this year’s festival, “Cinéfranco 2013 continues to strive for excellence in programming films with powerful topics (freedom, prison life, sex and love…) filmed by captivating directors whose presence will be a real treat. The mix of hilarious comedies and poignant dramas offer a vast range of choice to our sophisticated audiences.”

Opening night film, Luc Picard’s Esimésac, from Québec, is a beautiful tale of gentle giant Esimésac, who tries to help his starving village by creating a vegetable garden so that everyone can eat. He’s a child in a man’s body, who was born without a shadow. Opportunity knocks with a railway passing through St. Elie De Caxton, which would bring food, tourists and economic growth to the village. But would this be the best solution for their woes? Québec filmmaker Luc Picard, who will be in attendance, brings us on a magical journey.

Closing night film, Frédéric Fonteyne’s Tango libre (Dance to Freedom) from Belgium, stars François Damiens, Sergi López and Jan Hammenecker. JC, an ordinary prison guard falls for Alice at his weekly tango classes. He is surprised to see her visiting two prisoners, cellmates Fernand, her husband, and Dominic, her lover. When Fernand, furious to learn his wife tangos with the guard, asks the Argentinean boss for dancing lessons, the tango works its passionate magic and an air of freedom and fantasy blows through the prison.

Tango libre (Dance to Freedom) is not the only film this year to revolve around prison life. France’s Ombline, entirely shot in a real prison, is director Stéphane Cazes’ debut feature. Cazes delivers a powerful film about a young woman having to earn the right to raise her baby in prison. In Belgium’s biting satirical fable Dead Man Talking, in which prisoner William Lamers, condemned to death, is allowed to make his last statement … but law does not specify how long the statement can last.

This year’s Cinéfranco deals with social conscience and women fighting for their dignity in Egypt’s Les Femmes du Bus 678 (Cairo 678) and women fighting for their identity in Québec’s La Mise à l’aveugle (Small Blind)La Mise à l’aveugle (Small Blind) Director Simon Galiero and Actress Micheline Bernard will be in attendance.

The poignant film, Catimini, focuses on girls being bumped from one foster home to another. Québec Director Nathalie Saint-Pierre will be in attendance.

Many irresistible comedies can be seen at this year’s festival; mocking American soap operas (La Clinique de L’amour! (Sex, Lies and Surgery), the tyranny of a beauty-obsessed society (Mince alors! (Big is Beautiful) or the way seniors cope with life and marijuana (Paulette).

France’s quirky film, Queen of Montreuil takes us on a sweeping fantasy, where a widow tries to build her life back after the death of her husband and in Ich Bin Eine Terroristin, a precocious pre-teen looks for Rosa Luxemburg’s heritage.

Popular comedies at this year’s Cinéfranco include Comme un Chef (The Chef), Un Bonheur n’arrive jamais seul (Happiness Never Comes Alone), La Vérité si je mens! 3 (Would I lie To You? 3), Le Prénom (What’s In A Name), Camille redouble (Camille Rewinds) and Mariage à Mendoza (Welcome To Argentina), starring well-known actors like Jean Reno, Sophie Marceau, José Garcia, Patrick Bruel, Noémie Lvosky and Nicolas Duvauchelle.

Human tragedy is epitomized by two very different, yet compelling films in this year’s Cinéfranco, both films are based on true stories: À Perdre la raison (Our Children) chronicles the descent into hell of a mother played by award winning actress Emilie Dequenne. Québec’s L’Affaire Dumont, ‘Best Feature Film’ nominee at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, stars Marc-André Grondin (Goon) and Marilyn Castonguay who play a couple fighting against the Québec justice system and based on true story of Michel Dumont who was unfairly condemned for the rape of Danielle Lechasseur.

Ce que le jour doit à la nuit (What the Day Owes the Night) from France and directed by Alexandre Arcady, tells the tale of little Younes who is witness to his father’s descent into hell. A faithful adaptation of the novel by Yasmina Khadra, the film powerfully distils the gashing dilemma of the protangist’s legitimate place in his country.

Justice, or lack of it, also plays its role in the compelling documentary Les Invisibles, which focuses on men and women born in between the two world wars. Their stories are told in this documentary as they bear the scars of their fight for sexual freedom in a country (France) that considered homosexuality a mental illness until 1981. Monique Issele (Witness) will be in attendance.

The quest for law and order is prevalent in Mains armées (Armed Hands), a thriller in which Lucas, a 46 year old anti-arm trafficking official from Marseille and Maya, a 25 year old narcotics cop from Paris, find themselves bonding beyond the trails and tribulations of their job. Pierre Jolivet (Prix Polar Winner at the Festival du Polar de Cognac 2012) directs this action family drama which stars Leïla Bekhti, Marc Lavoine, and Roschdy Zem.

For the true cinephiles, Cinéfranco 2013 has programmed the following festival films:

Femme Écrite (Written Woman) by Moroccan Director Lahcen Zinoun is a sensual, poetic masterpiece paying tribute to the legendry Mririda, a Berber courtesan and poetess, who inspired the police investigation and the love story in the film.
Director Lahcen Zinoun will be in attendance.

Cassos by Philippe Carrese is a comedic lesson on how to cheat, rob, intimidate others without any scruples. Director Philippe Carrese and Producer Thierry Aflalou will be in attendance and will also give a Master Class – Cassos: The Art of Making A Successful Film With A Small Budget at The Royal on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

One O One by Franck Guérin defies the notions of time and space by delving into a man’s unusual search for a girl in a world plagued by a deadly virus. Director Franck Guérin and actors Yann Peira and Cassandre Manet will be in attendance and will also do an IN CONVERSATION WITH at The Royal on Sunday, April 14, 2013.

A round table with short film directors Marc-Olivier Comeau (Chloé), Sean Delecroix (Sunday Fucking Sunday), Jean-Pierre Desmarais, (Audience Award Acadian International Film Festival/S.W.I.T.CH.), Yani Dupont-Hébert (Les Choses de ma Vie (My Life’s Little Things), Andréanne Germain (Winner of Engage-Toi From NFB), Philippe Grégoire (Aquarium), Nadine Valcin (NSI Drama Prize Film) and Cinetfo will take place on Saturday, April 6 after the screening of their films at The Royal.

Guests at Cinefranco 2013:

-Luc Picard (Director – Opening Night Film, Esimésac)
-Micheline Bernard (Actress – La Mise à l’aveugle (Small Blind)
-Simon Galiero (Director – La Mise à l’aveugle (Small Blind)
-Thierry Aflalou (Producer – Cassos)
-Philippe Carrese (Director - Cassos)
-Nathalie Saint-Pierre (Director – Catimini)
-Monique Issele (Witness – Les Invisibles)
-Lahcen Zinoun (Director – Femme écrite (Written Woman)
-Franck Guérin (Director – One O One)
-Yann Peira, Cassandre Manet (Actors – One O One)
-Short Films & Round Table Attendees:
-Marc-Olivier Comeau (Chloé), Sean Delecroix (Sunday Fucking Sunday), Jean-Pierre Desmarais, (Audience Award Acadian International Film Festival/ S.W.I.T.C.H.), Yani Dupont-Hébert (Les Choses de ma Vie/My Life’s Little Things), Andréanne Germain (Winner of Engage-Toi from NFB), Philippe Grégoire (Aquarium), Nadine Valcin (NSI Drama Prize Film), Cinetfo.
0 Marc-André Grondin (Actor – L’Affaire Dumont)

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

Cinéfranco 2013 Box Office information:
Tickets: $12; Students and seniors: $10; Up to 18: $8 (proof of ID required)
Festival Pass (10 tickets): $99
Every day from April 5-14, starting 1hour prior to the screening: The Royal, 608 College Street

For advanced sales: T.O.TIX, 1 Dundas Street East, Yonge-Dundas Square or online at
* Surcharge on tickets purchased through T.O.TIX

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

For information on Cinefranco 2013 films in English & French, please go to website:

(Please note: on the upper left hand corner icon – indicates ENGLISH or FRENCH version of film information; just hit FLAG icon on version)

All films at Cinéfranco are screened with English subtitles

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