French Movies at the 2014 AFI-EU Film Showcase

2014 AFI-EU Film Showcase The 2014 AFI-EU Film Showcase opens today at AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. Presented by the American Film Institute (AFI) in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and EU Member States, the festival showcases the best in current European filmmaking and this year’s selection includes more than 50 films shown throughout the month of December (the 27th edition of the festival runs from December 3-21, 2014.)

French and French-language films are well represented, as always:

  • The Dardenne brothers’ “Two days, one night” (showing Fri, Dec 12, 7:30 and Sun, Dec 14, 3:40), Belgium’s official selection for the Oscars
  • Girlhood (Thu, Dec 4, 9:45pm and Sat, Dec 6, 10pm)
  • Marie’s Story (Sun, Dec 7, 5:30pm and Mon, Dec 8, 9:15pm)
  • If you don’t I will (Sun, Dec 14, 1:30pm and Tue, Dec 16, 7:30pm)
  • Anne Fontaine’s Gemma Bovery which is premiering on the festival’s closing night and is a clever nod on Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (Dec 20, 8pm.) The screening will be following by a reception sponsored by the European Union Delegation to the United States.
  • Jackie in the Kingdom of Women (Sat, Dec 20, 10:10pm and Sun, Dec 21, 7:45pm)
Gemma Bovery, with Fabrice Luchini and Gemma Arterton

Gemma Bovery, with Fabrice Luchini and Gemma Arterton

On Saturdays December 6, 13 and 20, from 5-7pm, the theater is also offering wine samples from the countries showcased that particular day. That means French wine on the 20th! On the 14th, don’t miss a special free screening of 3 short films on December 14 at 5:45pm. The films include Castello Cavalcanti by Wes Anderson and a French language movie called Les Lézards.

Click here for more information on the 2014 AFI-EU Film Showcase and to view a full schedule.

Wine Wednesday: A Special Screening of American Wine Story on November 13

A couple of years ago, my husband and I ran the Lawyers Have Heart 10K through Georgetown to benefit the American Heart Association. That was fun. But you know what sounds like an even more fun way to benefit that same association? Not running, and watching a documentary on American winemakers followed by Q&A and tasting reception instead. Definitely.

American Wine Story Screening

You’ve heard the claims before… drinking red wine (in moderation) may lower the risk of heart disease, and every year the American Heart Association hosts an amazing 4-days wine auction event in Washington, DC, called Heart’s Delight. The fundraiser celebrates exceptional food and wine and has raised more than 13 million dollars for the American Heart Association over the past 15 years. This year’s auction will be held April 22-25, 2015 (so save the date for that too!) but until then, you can celebrate wine AND benefit the American Heart Association by attending a special screening of “American Wine Story” on November 13 at E Street Cinema. The film celebrates the men and women at the heart (pun intended) of the American wine industry, including Jimi Brooks, a young Oregon wine maker who died of a heart attack at the age of 38. When he passed away, just before harvest, his fellow winemakers banded together to make his wine. The film also profiles a number of passionate local winemakers like who put aside their initial careers to start over and follow their dreams of making wine. Among the winemakers highlighted in the documentary are Al and Cindy Schornberg of Keswick Vineyards in Virginia or Luca Paschina of Barboursville, also in Virginia. All three will be present, along with David Baker, who wrote, directed and narrated the film (which he funded through Kickstarter,) at a wine tasting reception and Q&A session following the screening.

For more information and ticket sales (tickets are $50) click here. Or, you know, you can start training for the Lawyers Have Heart 10K. It’ll be on June 13 next year 😉

 

 

Finding Your Identity at DC’s First Films on the Green

Since 2008, Francophile New Yorkers have been able to enjoy French flicks al fresco through Films on the Green, a free outdoor French film festival produced annually in New York City Parks by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy with the City of New York Parks & Recreation. This summer, they had the opportunity to catch Purple Noon at Central Park’s Cedar Hill, The Women on the 6th Floor and La Haine at Tompkins Square Park, Les Tontons Flingueurs at Washington Square Park and The French Minister at Columbia University. This year, thanks to American University and the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Washington, DC, we’re getting our own (shorter) edition of this outdoor French film festival.

French film festival, film francais a washington, outdoor screening

 

On September 4th and 5th, Films on the Green will set ground on the Woods-Brown Amphitheater on American University’s Campus. Both screenings (of All Is Forgiven on the 4th and Tomboy on the 5th) are free, open to the public and centered around the theme of Finding Your Identity. I haven’t seen All is Forgiven, but I have seen Tomboy (which is also available to stream on Netflix). It’s a great but at time difficult to watch film about a little girl who really wants to be a boy (basically…).

zo tout_est_pardonne_ii

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this first edition is successful so we can have an even bigger and better one next year, with more films and more venues! And while we’re on the topic of French films, don’t miss this screening of Alceste A Bicyclette (Bicycling with Moliere) at the Avalon on September 17th. Or I guess you can also just stream it on netflix…

 

Give Your DC Summer a French Twist

Stuck in the city for the summer? Luckily, there are a ton of events across town to help you pretend you’re in France.

Allez les bleusCHEER FOR LES BLEUS DURING THE WORLD CUP

Head to Redline on game day to join the French Expat Meet-Up and L’Union des Français de l’étranger de Washington in supporting l’Equipe de France as they fight to get out of Group H. And if you want to learn more about Les Bleus, head to l’Alliance Francaise after the game on Friday, June 20. Sports historian Lindsay Krasnoff will moderate a panel of sports journalists on the history and importance of the 1998 World Cup champions in French society.


LA FETE DE LA MUSIQUE

It’s one of my favourite events every year. New York goes all out with an awesome French concert at Summer Stage on June 21 (this year, M and Emilie Simon  are headlining – I really wish I could make it!) We’re not as lucky in Washington but there are still a number of fun musically filled events taking place:

The following week, Malmaison is hosting Dimitri from Paris for a special concert as well, and that should be pretty awesome!

dimitri from paris

 

CATCH A FRENCH MOVIE (OR AT LEAST ONE SET IN FRANCE) 

Lots of good options this summer:

14 juillet

CELEBRATE LE QUATORZE JUILLET 

Head to your favourite French restaurant on July 14 or check out one of these events:

Have a very French été!

Angelika Pop-UP at Union Market

Angelika Pop Up at union Market

The Angelika Film Center in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is a cultural institution for arthouse cinema. Its affiliate at the Mosaic District in Fairfax is FABULOUS! It’s an elegant, state of the art, 8 screens theater where you can nibble on tadoori popcorn and reserve your seat in advance. If it weren’t so far in Fairfax, I’d go there all the time! Luckily, soon enough, there will be an Angelika movie theater near Union Market, right here in downtown, DC. Until then (then being 2015), Union Market is giving us a little preview of what it will be like with an Angelika pop-up.

The pop-up opens this weekend with screening of Queen Margot, a French period drama featuring Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Adjani about the tension between the Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots fighting to control France in the late 16th Century.  You can watch the trailer here, but it’s basically full of love and murders… and blood. (Screenings 6/13 – 6/19 at 12:30pm, 3:45pm, 7pm as well as a 10:15p Friday and Saturday. Tickets here). It’s also showing Supermensh (more details here) and has a slew of great independent art-house films coming up for the rest of the summer.

French Films at the 24th Washington Jewish Film Festival

The Washington Jewish Film Festival kicks off its 24th year this week. Between February 27 and March 9, 64 films from 18 countries will be shown in the District. While the festival is honouring legendary Israeli film maker Avi Nesher and showcasing Polish cinema, there are (as always) a number of great French films on the agenda.

French Films at Jewish Film Festival

A complete schedule of the festival can be found on at wjff.org. One of the films I’m personally curious about is The Jewish Cardinal, about former Archbishop of Paris Jean-Marie Lustiger. Known as the Jewish priest, he maintained his Jewish identity despite converting to Catholicism at a young age and rising through the ranks of the Church. I’m also looking forward to John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo featuring Woody Allen and Vanessa Paradis.  Turturro, who directed and acts in the film, will be interviewed by WJLA-TV/ABC7 after the March 7th screening. I also think the closing night film “Cupcakes” sound adorable as does “Snuggle With the Stars,” a pajama-party at the Navy Memorial’s underground theater to watch the Oscars® broadcast on a giant 2-story HD screen, while sipping champagne and munching on snack food and pizza.

Léa Seydoux Graces Vanity Fair’s Annual Hollywood Issue Cover

Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood issue is out and getting a lot of praise for being one of its most diverse. Shot by Annie Leibovitz, the cover features a diverse group of A-listers. Some like George Clooney and Julia Roberts are Hollywood veterans, others are up-and-comers. I was particularly surprised to see fellow Frenchie Léa Seydoux in the bottom right corner, though I barely recognized her at first.

Vanity Fair's 2014 Hollywood Issue, Lea Seydoux, Vanity Fair

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, Idris Elba, George Clooney, Michael B. Jordan, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris, Brie Larson, Chadwick Boseman, Margot Robbie, Lea Seydoux

 

Currently known for her part (and blue hair) in Blue is the Warmest Color (la Vie d’Adele), mademoiselle Seydoux has been a feature of French cinema since 2006. She’s actually kind of French cinema royalty since her grandfather is the president of Pathé, one of the oldest film production company in the world, and her great uncle is the president of Gaumont, the first and oldest continuously operating film company in the world. She starred in a number of American productions, including Tarentino’s Inglorious Basterds and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. She’s currently nominated for a BAFTA’s EE Rising Star Award, along with fellow Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover girl Lupita Nyong’o. Whether she wins the BAFTA or not, I think we can agree Léa Seydoux is one of France’s most compelling young talents right now, and it’s great to see Vanity Fair recognize that.

My french Film Festival Point Com

 

MyFrenchFilmFestival.com was quite a success last year with 750,000 film viewings in different 189 countries so it’s not a surprise that the leading worldwide French film festival on the Internet is back on our computers. The 4th edition of MyFrenchFilmFestival.com takes place between 17th January and 17th February and feature 10 features and 10 shorts in 13 different languages.  That’s all great, but my favourite part of the whole festival? The poster! I find it quite brilliant of course 😉french film festival, french films, french movies, french, french culture, how to watch french films online, movie festivals

 

You can download the film on iTunes for a fee but if you’re in DC, you can also screen them for free at Malmaison and Napoleon Bistro and Lounge. Starting on February 3rd, Napoleon will screen Augustine and Le jour des Corneilles (2/3 at 7PM), Au galop and Comme un Lion (2/4 at 7PM) and J’enrage de son Absence and Mobile Home (2/5 at 7PM). After that the festival continues at Malmaison with La Vierge, les Coptes et Moi and Mariage à Mendoza (2/6 at 7PM) and all of the short films on the 8th.

I haven’t seen or heard much about any of the films (Augustine does screen on Netflix right now though) so I can’t really tell you much about them. Let me know if you see any of them and they are any good though!!

Fifty Shades of European Films

As the European Union gets bigger and bigger so does the AFI European Union Film Showcase . This year, some 50 films from 27 different European countries will be shown between December 5th – 22, 2013 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring. That’s 10 more than last year, and at least one film from every European country except Malta… Countries with large film industries, like France, Germany or the UK are represented with more than one film. And speaking of France… Here’s a schedule of French, French-language or somewhat related to France movies that will be shown during the two weeks festival:

  • La Tendresse (Belgium/France/Germany, in French with subtitles – Thursday December 12 @ 5:30PM; Friday December 13 @ 5:20PM; Sunday December 15 @ 7:45PM) a stripped down, sensitive family drama about a divided family forced to come together during a minor crisis.
  • L’Etrange Couleur des Larmes de ton Corps (Belgium/France/Luxembourg, in French, Flemish and Danish with English subtitles – Saturday December 14 @ 10:15PM, Thursday December 19 @ 9:35PM) this “art” film is probably not for everyone, with its close up shots and disorienting storyline…

AFI European Union Showcase 2013

  • Une Estonienne à Paris (France/Estonia/Belgium, in French and Estonian with English subtitles – Saturday December 7 @ 1:10PM, Tuesday December 10 @ 7:10PM) think Tatie Danielle, but with Jeanne Moreau as Frida, an elderly Estonian expat living in Paris and who is not thrilled about having to be looked after by an (also Estonian) caretaker.
  • Alceste a Bicyclette (France, in French with English subtitles, Friday December 6 @ 7:20PM, Sunday December 8 @ 5:30PM, Wedneday December 11 @ 5:20PM) I don’t even really need to know what this movie is about (though I assume bikes are involved and Moliere too since Alceste is the main character in his play The Misanthrope). Fabrice Luchini is in it, so it’s gotta be great film 😉
  • Le Passé (France/Italy, in Persian and French with English subtitle, Sunday December 8 @ 3:30PM) From the Iranian writer and screenwriter of (Oscar winning) A Separation comes another divorce, Iranian-style story. This time, it’s Marie, portrayed by The Artist’s Berenice Bejo, who needs a divorce from her estranged husband to marry her new love, Samir. Ahmad (the husband) flies to Paris from Tehran to finalize the divorce and becomes reintegrated into his soon to be ex-wife’s unconditional family structure.
  • Comme un Chef (France/Spain, in French with English subtitles, special presentation Friday December 13 @ 7:30Pm, also showing Sunday December 15 @ 4:15PM) It’s been a while since Jean Reno has been in a good movie, so I’m not sure what to expect of this one. Some critics say it’s pretty silly, others say it’s a decent comedy set in the Parisian culinary world… only one way to find out 😉
  • 2 Autumns, 3 Winters (France, in French with English subtitles, Friday December 20 @ 5:20PM and Sunday December 22 @ 7:40PM) is described as a melancomedie about hipster parisians in love with new wave inspired visuals… not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing though.
  • L’inconnu du Lac (France, in French with subtitles, Friday December 20 @ 10PM, Sunday December 22 @ 9:45PM) described as an erotic and lurid thriller, this film is a story of amour fou, with a dose of crime and lots of nude men…
  • Le Week-End (UK, in English, special presentation on Saturday, December 7 @8:30PM) this story of a british couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with a romantic getaway to Paris, where they honeymooned looks absolutely adorable. Plus it’s set in Paris…

Of course, those are only a few of the 50 movies that will be shown as part of the AFI European Union Film Showcase. You can see a complete schedule here. Are you planning on seeing any films or have you seen some of the films that will be shown? I’d love to hear all about it…

5 New (Delicious) Reasons to Visit Union Market This Weekend

It’s been a few months now since I published my “10 Delicious Reasons to Visit Union Market This Weekend” post. Some of the reasons I listed are still relevant. It’s still great to support local food artisans, Gina Chersevani still makes a mean egg cream and Rappahannock Oysters still has the best crab cake in the city (the lamb and clams is pretty standout as well!). But I’d like to add in a few more reasons, delicious or otherwise, why you should visit Union Market before the end of the summer.

1) Gin and Tonic on Tap at Red Apron Butchery – Cocktails on tap are popping up all over the city (Sangrias at Hogo, Margaritas at Bandolero, Rickeys and Americanos at Teddy & the Bully Bar etc.) but there’s something about the house-made sage and green apple tonic that Red Apron Butchery uses that makes it a favourite of mine*. The Green Hat gin helps too 😉

gin and tonic on tap, union market, green hat gin, red apron butchery

2) FRESHFARM Markets is now running a farmers’ market at Union Market – From July 21 through October 2, there will be even more fresh produces and other artisanal local products (like McCauley’s roasted pepper relishes or draft only WildCraft Soda‘s botanical sodas) available at Union Market every Sundays, from 10AM-2PM! One of my current food obsession, Number 1 Sons, sells their pickles and kimchi at the new farmers’ market and that’s reason enough for me to go! (if you can’t make it to Union Market, Caitlin Roberts also sells her delicious kale kimchi and other fermented goodies at the Bloomingdale’s Farmers’ Market on Sundays as well…)

3) ♥ macarons (updated) – you can no longer pick up a box of six DC Patisserie macarons at Righteous Cheese (though you can still pick up some amazing fromages – like burrata to pair with heirloom tomatoes…) but you can pick up a selection of Alexandrine’s macarons at Pearl Fine Teas. And while you’re there, try the moroccan mint ice mint too!

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Picture courtesy of Pearl Fine Teas.

4) Meet A Top Chef and Cookbook Author – I usually try to avoid stepping into Amanda McClement’s Salt and Sundry shop because, well, I want to buy everything and that’s just hard on my wallet! But occasionally, like when she also hosts fun events like the recent Red, White and Blueberry: an Afternoon of Sweets, Sips and Shopping (featuring Whisked‘s classic American pies) or book signings with notable local cookbook authors and then I venture in (while trying to resist buying 18 different bitters I really want but don’t really need). Coming up? A series of vegetables focused book signings starting with Joe Yonan, food and travel editor for The Washington Post and author of “Eat Your Vegetables“, on Saturday August 10th (1-2:30PM) and with Domenica Marchetti, author of “The Glorious Vegetables of Italy” on Saturday, September 7th, (1-2:30PM).

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5) Get a Dose of 1950s and 1960s Nostalgia – Both Gina Chersevani’s Suburbia and Union Market‘s Drive in movie theater will transport you to a time you may or may not have known. Your last chance to attend the drive-in is actually this weekend, with the screening of No Way Out featuring Kevin Costner (Friday August 2, 9PM). While I’m eternally grateful to my friend DC Daybook and her boyfriend for letting me and my husband come with them in their jeep (I had a reserved parking spot, they had a car, it was a match made in DC double date heaven) you don’t actually really need a car to enjoy the experience. Come very early (like 6:30PM) to get a spot on the grass otherwise bring a chair and set it up on the parking lot in front of the cars.  And while you’re waiting for the movie to start, grab a refreshing frozen drink at Gina’s Suburbia – a silver Airstream outfitted with frozen drink machines (open Friday through Sunday.)

DC Drive in movie theater, drive in, union market drive in

Check in in another few months, I’ll probably have another set of 5 or 10 all new delicious reasons why you should visit Union Market 😉

* The Green Hat and Tonic with home-made sage and apple tonic was developed for Red Apron by Columbia Room mixologist JP Fetherston and co-owner Derek Brown. It’s now also available, on tap as well, at Shaw’s Mockingbird Hill.