French finesse

Weekend Glitz | Katie Hung 17 Nov 2017

French movies aren't always romantic as many people imagine - in fact, the Hong Kong French Film Festival is introducing a different but in-depth facet of French cinema.

Festival curator Xavier Mahe said that rather than just being mushy, French films offer a large diversity of style and substance.

The 46th edition presents 44 films with over 100 screenings from November 22 to December 10. Venues include Hong Kong City Hall and AMC Pacific Place.

One highlight this year is the exploration of social issues, with the movies related to themes like "identify, sexuality and love," "origin, family and dreams," and "unveiling the lives of great masters in history."

The opening film, Back to Burgundy, directed by Cedric Klapisch, centers around a family reunion of three siblings following their father's death, set around the vineyards.

Mahe explained that French filmmakers this year are focusing on social, economical and political issues, so the festival team decided to showcase the theme. But the main point is always to provide a large selection to Hong Kong audiences.

Mahe, from the south of France, finds it difficult to define a style for French movies. He believes people can always find good movies, including low-budget productions.

But what attracted him most to his home country's films is the creativity behind them.

"They are less conventional compared to Hollywood films, even if I love Hollywood films," he said. "It is very different in terms of writing, the screenplay, and also the way directors shoot the film."

Mahe said the selection team always chooses the best movies, and those that would be most appreciated by local audiences.

"French cinema keeps having a very close relationship with Hong Kong," he said. "Many Hong Kong directors, such as Johnnie To and Wong Kar-wai, are influenced by French directors."

Selected movies have been through screenings and intense discussions within the team. Movies include dramas, biopics, comedies, animations, and documentaries.

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