RENDEZ-VOUS FILM FESTIVAL
Vancouver’s French film fest brings the goods
It can sometimes fly under the radar, but the Rendez-vous French Film Festival consistently brings topnotch and hard-tosee cinema to Vancouver. Last year’s festival beat VIFF to the punch with its local premiere of Québécois filmmaker Sophie Goyette’s towering Still Night, Still Light—opening at long last at the Cinematheque on Thursday (February 1). Now in its 24th year, Rendez-vous again provides access to cinema that usually remains on the other side of the francophone language barrier for Vancouver moviegoers, while also extending its scope to Europe.
Arriving from France, Vino Veritas opens the festival on Friday (February 2) with a documentary tour of organic and “biodynamic” European vineyards—an expert choice for our city’s ever more epicurean palate. An organic winetasting and reception follow the screening at Auditorium Julesverne (5445 Baillie Street).
The festivities continue at the same venue with titles including Simon Lavoie’s gothic period piece La Petite Fille Qui Aimait Trop les Allumettes (The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches), and a first look at Mathieu Amalric’s metabiopic on the glowering Parisian chanteuse Barbara (both February 4).
Rendez-vous then moves to the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts on Tuesday (February 6) with a matinee presentation of the sweet animated feature Ernest et Céléstine en Hiver, making its return to Vancouver after a visit back in 2013. (Also for les enfants: Claude Barras’s batty claymation favourite Ma Vie de Courgette [My Life as a Courgette], on February 9.)
The screenings continue at Goldcorp with titles including Robin Aubert’s critically acclaimed, ruralquebec-set zombie flick, Les Affamés (The Ravenous), along with the latest from Red Violin director François Girard, returning to the big screen with the century-spanning historical epic Hochelaga: Terre des Âmes (Hochelaga: Land of Souls), both Wednesday (February 7).
Other high-end treats include Olivier Asselin’s mind-and-timebending Second World War atomicbomb thriller, Le Cyclotron (February 8), and François Ozon’s L’amant Double (February 9). Part Brian De Palma and part Georges Bataille, Ozon’s audacious thriller left Cannes audiences aghast last year at its, let’s say, poetically graphic imagery.
It all ends on February 10 with the Vancouver premiere of Les Rois Mongols (Cross My Heart), a family drama that slyly parallels the 1970 October Crisis. Like some of the other features coming to Rendezvous this year, namely Les Affamés and La Petite Fille Qui Aimait Trop les Allumettes, Luc Picard’s film dominated the major categories in the just-announced nominations for the Canadian Screen Awards. Yet big-screen engagements out here on the West Coast remain aggravatingly rare.
There is much more besides 30 films in all, including a program of African-themed shorts, a preview of TV5’S new series Terres d’exploration, and La Sociologue et l’ourson, a documentary about France’s same-sex-marriage advocate Irène Théry, directed by her son and featuring, intriguingly enough, reenactments made with teddy bears!