Preview: French Film Festival in Auckland

The fourth annual French Film Festival begins in at the Rialto Cinemas in Newmarket on February 10th with what the festival organisers are labelling a “world ‘avant-première’”—the film being shown, Tony Gatlif’s Korkoro (Liberté) will not open in France until February 24th.

Gatlif is perhaps best known outside France for Exils, a road movie starring Romain Duris, and his new film follows a Gypsy family—Gatlif has Gypsy heritage—during the Second World War as they travel across France. Eventually encountering problems with the Vichy régime, they start off for greener pastures, but not before having taken an orphan under their collective wing. The life of gangster Jacques Mesrine, whom a friend of mine once said “could school [John] Dillinger any day,” is given the spotlight in a pair of César-winning films by Jean-François Richet entitled L’instict du mort and Public Enemy N° 1.

Vincent Cassel stars in the title role, and the films have become a massive success in France. The films have been praised as “Scarface en Français”. Elsewhere in the programme: Costa-Gavras’ Eden à l’Ouest, which the director has called his most personal film to date, Claude Chabrol’s Bellamy, and Jennifer Devoldère’s Jusqu’à toi, a rom-com starring Mélanie Laurent.

The festival concludes on February 18th with Stéphane Brizé’s Mademoiselle Chambon before moving on to Wellington and Christchurch. Student tickets are $13 Mon-Thu or $14 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions. For screening times and more information, see


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