French Films at FilmFest DC 2013

Filmfest DC, the DMV’s International Film Festival, is back for its 27th edition. Last year, the festival had a huge “French touch,” opening and closing with two French language comedies, Quebec’s Starbuck (which you can currently see at E Street) and France’s Les Intouchables (available on Netflix.) This year, between April 11 and April 21, Washingtonians will be treated to some 80 films and shorts, from over 35 countries, at some of the area’s best venues and many of its embassies. There’s fewer French language movies showing in 2013, but there’s still a good number of interesting offerings. I personally have only seen a few of them myself, but here is a quick recap of French finds at Filmfest DC 2013.

I’ll start with the two I have seen: Thérèse Desqueyroux and In the HouseThérèse is an adaptation of a classic French novel about a young aristocratic woman in the 1920s. She finds herself very unhappy in her arranged marriage to a plain man and tries to escape but ends up trapping herself even more. It’s a beautifully conceived drama, though it’s slow like the country-life that oppresses Thérèse (played by Audrey Tautou). It’s very French in that it doesn’t have a proper ending. I don’t know what it is about French screenwriters and directors, but they just don’t know how to provide closure at the end of their films! In the House, on the other hand, does have a decent (and witty) ending, at least for a French film. The main reason to see it is Fabrice Luchini who is brilliant as always. He plays a cynical and jaded creative writing high school teacher whose curiosity is peaked by the stories of one of his students, Claude. He writes about his desires to infiltrate the house of a bourgeois classmate of his and as the teacher encourages the literary efforts of his pupil, he soon becomes so wrapped up and entangled in the story that he ends up losing control of his own life. I recommend! [Thérèse is showing at the FrenchEmbassy on April 19th and at the Avalon Theater on the 20th. In the House is also showing at the French Embassy on April 19th, at 9PM following the screening of Thérèse, and at the Avalon Theater on the 12th.]

Other French offerings include:

Laurence Anyways – Photo courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

Of course, there’s plenty of other films in all sorts of different languages besides French showing during Filmfest DC 2013 and I encourage you to go through the schedule online (you can sort by venue, date, language and country… it’s super convenient!) to see what awesome international films are showing in D.C. over the next 10 days! 

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