Alliance Francaise French Film Festival's Full 2023 Lineup Is Here and Packed with Must-Sees

Australia's annual French cinema showcase will screen 39 new and classic highlights throughout March and April.
Sarah Ward
Published on February 07, 2023

One of 2022's absolute best movies explored loss, time, childhood and mother-daughter bonds, and did so with playfulness and empathy. Another pondered a fraught reality for women mere decades ago, exploring a situation that sadly isn't confined to the annals of history. Both hailed from France from female filmmakers. Both wowed the international film festival circuit. Both Petite Maman and Happening also share something else in common: they were highlights of 2022's Alliance Française French Film Festival program.

It's worth remembering last year's standouts now that 2023's full lineup is here — because this new batch of flicks, some freshly announced and some revealed back in January as a sneak peek, will also contain some of this year's very best titles. In total, Australia's annual celebration of French cinema will screen 39 movies throughout March and April in its whopping 34th year, taking its selection on the road to Aussie capitals and a number of regional locations.

AFFFF's 2023 opening-night pick sits among the previously unveiled films, with Masquerade spinning a tale of glitz, glamour and the Côte d'Azur's far-less-glossy underbelly under La Belle Époque's director Nicolas Bedos' guidance — and with Pierre Niney (Yves Saint Laurent) and Isabelle Adjani (The World Is Yours) among his stars. As a bookend, it's now joined by Freestyle, which takes to the road with Benjamin Voisin (Lost Illusions) and Marina Foïs (Stella in Love), and promises to end the fest as memorably as it begins.

In-between, must-sees include AFFFF's big picks teased in its first program announcement: Saint Omer, with documentarian Alice Diop drawing from true events to craft a drama about a young Parisian journalist and novelist attending murder trial, then wading through the complexities it surfaces within her own family history; One Fine Morning, the latest film by Bergman Island's Mia Hansen-Løve, this time a family drama starring Léa Seydoux (Crimes of the Future); and The Innocent, as written by, directed by and starring Louis Garrel (A Faithful Man), based on his own experiences, and also featuring Noémie Merlant (Tár).

There's also Final Cut, a French remake of Japanese cult hit One Cut of the Dead from The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, starring Romain Duris (Eiffel); Winter Boy, the new film from Sorry Angel's Christophe Honoré, an autobiographical drama focusing on 17-year-old Lucas (newcomer Paul Kircher); Brother and Sister, with Marion Cotillard (Annette) playing a stage actor and sibling to Melvil Poupaud (Summer of 85); and Other People's Children, a Virginie Efira (Benedetta)-led effort about being a stepmother that's also inspired by director Rebecca Zlotowski's (Planetarium) own life.

That's not the end of highlights, either already revealed or just-dropped — with the latter spanning two Quentin Dupieux films. The director of Rubber and Deerskin adds both Incredible but True and Smoking Causes Coughing to the fest's lineup, as well as a sense of humour that only he possesses, anchoring AFFFF's comedy selection.

Plus, there's award-winner Playground, which focuses on a seven-year-old girl; On the Wandering Paths, which brings Sylvain Tesson's novel to the screen so swiftly after The Velvet Queen also turned his work into cinema (including at AFFFF 2022); and The Origin of Evil, an account of a dysfunctional family that's one of three AFFFF 2023 movies to star Full Time's Laure Calamy.

Or, viewers can look forward to Country Cabaret, which is based on a true story about a bold move to save a family farm; Sugar and Stars, adapting pastry chef Yazid Ichemrahem's autobiography to the screen; the Christmas-set A Good Doctor; and Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde, the fest's dose of action, adventure and laughs all in one.

This year's focus is firmly on the new over the classic, but when it comes to looking backwards, 1988 French box-office smash The Big Blue does the honours.

The full list of 2023 AFFFF titles goes on, as cinephiles have come to not just expect but thoroughly enjoy from a fest that's the largest celebration of French film outside of France.


Tuesday, March 7–Wednesday, April 5: Palace Central, Palace Verona, Palace Norton St, Chauvel Cinema and Hayden Orpheum Cremorne in Sydney
Wednesday, March 8–Wednesday, April 5: Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Astor Theatre, The Kino and Pentridge Cinema in Melbourne
Wednesday, March 8–Wednesday, April 5: Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Palace Raine Square and Camelot Outdoor Cinema in Perth
Thursday, March 9–Sunday, March 19: State Cinema, Hobart
Thursday, March 9–Wednesday, April 5: Palace Electric Cinema, Canberra
Wednesday, March 15–Wednesday, April 12: Palace James Street and Palace Barracks in Brisbane
Thursday, March 16–Wednesday, April 5: Palace Byron Bay
Thursday,  March 23–Wednesday, April 19: Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas and Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas in Adelaide
Friday, March 24–Sunday, March 26: Northern Festival, Chaffey Theatre, Middleback Arts Centre and Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre in Port Pirie, Renmark, Whyalla and Mount Gambier
Wednesday, March 29–Sunday, April 2: Riverside Theatre Parramatta
Wednesday, March 29–Sunday, April 16: Dendy Southport on the Gold Coast
Monday, April 3 and Monday, April 10: Victa Cinema, Victor Harbour
Friday, April 21–Sunday, April 23: Star Cinema, Bendigo
+ encore dates in some cities

The Alliance Française French Film Festival tours Australia from Tuesday, March 7–Tuesday, April 25, 2023. For more information, or to buy tickets from 9am on Thursday, February 9, visit the AFFFF website.

Published on February 07, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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