French Film Festival, ‘a mini Cannes,’ set to open at the Prytania Theatre

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New Orleans Film Society

Virginie Efira in “Madeleine Collins,” a psychological drama that opens the festival.

The annual New Orleans French Film Festival returns to the Prytania Theatre beginning Thursday, March 9, and running through Tuesday, March 13.

For its 26th festival, the New Orleans Film Society will bring together 13 features and three short films from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and the United States.

All screenings will be held at the historic Prytania Theatre or the Prytania Theatres at Canal Place. Part of the lineup will also be available to stream online here from March 9 to March 19.

The films will all be shown in their original French or Kouri-Vini (Louisiana Creole) language with English subtitles.

“For lovers of French film, it doesn’t get any better than this. This year’s lineup is full of the best contemporary French-language cinema out there, a bit like a mini Cannes Film Festival, shining a light on the brightest talents working in French film today, from directors like François Ozon and Michel Hazanavicius to actors like Virginie Efira and Laure Calamy,” said Clint Bowie, artistic director of the New Orleans Film Society. 

The festival starts with the psychological drama “Madeleine Collins,” Antoine Barraud’s 2021 official selection at the 78th Venice Film Festival. It airs at the Prytania on Thursday (March 9) at 7:30 p.m. Nine other films will be screened at the Uptown theater throughout the long festival weekend. 

New Orleans Film Society

“Tambou” is a narrative short film about a Creole grandfather who busks on the street when threatened with losing his New Orleans home.

The society also ensured Louisiana’s French community was well-represented at this year’s festival with two French shorts, one directed by Luke Hariss and titled “Tambou,” which won the 2022 #CreateLouisiana French Culture Grant. The narrative short film follows Emmanuel, who “takes to the streets to busk with his tambou drum when threatened with losing his home in New Orleans due to unpaid bills. With his grandson Junior in town, Emmanuel navigates the changing city and seeks a path to stay in the city he calls home.”

Autumn Palen’s documentary short film “Voices of Renewal” aims to “celebrate the modern revitalization movement for Louisiana Creole,” considering that the language is only spoken by 5,000 people today. The documentary features interviews with five people from three generations who are passionate about preserving the language and culture.

The two Louisiana Creole shorts will be screened at the Prytania Theatre on Saturday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m.

New Orleans Film Society

Documentary short “Voices of Renewal” examines the struggle to save the Louisiana Creole language

The films will be screened at Prytania Theatre and The Prytania Theatres at Canal Place from March 9 to 13. Part of the lineup will also be on the festival’s Virtual Cinema and will stream from March 9 to 19.  

The organization doesn’t stop once the festival’s over; year-round programming at the film society includes free and low-cost screenings for members and the greater New Orleans cinephile community, as well as filmmaker professional development programs designed to “nurture diverse voices in filmmaking in the American South.”

Visit neworleansfilmsociety.org/french-film-festival to see the full lineup and schedule, and to purchase festival passes or tickets.

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