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French Film Festival
$70 (Festival pass). All films are presented in their original language with English subtitles.
3.00pm – Farewell Mr Haffmann
Occupied Paris, 1941: all members of the Jewish community are instructed to come forward and identify themselves to authorities. Dedicated jeweller Joseph Haffmann (Auteuil), fearing the worst, arranges for his family to flee the city and offers his employee François Mercier (Gilles Lellouche) the chance to take over his store until the conflict subsides. But his own attempts to escape are thwarted, and Haffmann is forced to seek his assistant’s protection. It’s a risky proposition for both men, and one that Mercier’s wife Blanche (a wonderful Sara Giraudeau) is sceptical of. As the couple move in to the Haffmann home, the agreement turns into a Faustian bargain, one that will forever change the fate of all… Superbly directed by Cavayé, Farewell Mr Haffmann masterfully guides the viewer through the world of Vichy France, where lives are irrevocably shaped by the twin scourges of war and the black market. Rich in moral complexity and empathy, with several twists too good to spoil, this is grand, big-screen adult entertainment at its finest. Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Gilles Lellouche, Sara Giraudeau; Directed by Fred Cavayé
6.00pm – Maigret
Paris, 1953. The body of a beautiful young woman is discovered at Place Ventimille, dressed in an elegant evening gown. There is nothing to identify her, and no witnesses. Pensive and world-weary Inspector Jules Maigret (Depardieu) endeavours to piece together her story, and in doing so uncovers details about her past and character. In his enquiries, he encounters Betty (Jade Labeste), a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the victim, but who also reminds him of one even closer to his own life… Simenon (and Leconte’s) formidable protagonist – a French counterpart to Agatha Christie’s Poirot and P.D. James’ Dalgiesh – has been brought to the screen before, but Depardieu leaves an indelible stamp on the character, bringing tenderness and dignity to a man prepared to listen before he speaks, and to stand up for those without a voice. Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Aurore Clément, Mélanie Bernier, Jade Labeste; Directed by Patrice Leconte