Van­cou­ver’s French film fest brings the goods

The Georgia Straight - - Front Page - > BY ADRIAN MACK The Rendez-vous French Film Fes­ti­val runs from Fri­day (Fe­bru­ary 2) to Fe­bru­ary 10. More in­for­ma­tion is at www. ren­dezvous­van­cou­

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!

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