The 18th annual COL•COA French Film Festival debuted at The Director’s Guild Theater Complex in Los Angeles, where renowned director Claude Lelouch’s 44th film, “We Love You, You Bastard” was presented by Axel Cruau, French Consul General in Los Angeles. Produced by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, COL•COA is the largest French film festival outside of France, bringing together 60 writers and producers and 20,000 attendees.
Once the Champagne de L’Argentaine and food from some of LA’s popular restaurants like Church & State, 9021Pho and Lexington Social House was enjoyed, a throng of VIPs, actors, directors and other moviegoers proceeded into the theater for the feature presentation of “Salaud, on t’aime” AKA stateside “We Love You, You Bastard.” After the credits rolled, “Mad Men” creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner moderated a Q&A session.
The 17th annual COL•COA French Film Festival debuted at The Director’s Guild Theater Complex in Los Angeles, where director Danièle Thompson’s “It Happened in Saint-Tropez” was presented by Axel Cruau, French Consul General in Los Angeles. Once the Champagne de L’Argentaine and food from some of LA’s popular restaurants like Church & State, K-ZO and Estérel at the Sofitel Los Angeles was enjoyed, a throng of VIPs, actors (including Robert Forster and Shannon Wilcox), directors and other moviegoers proceeded into the theater. The screening of the short “Clean” was followed by the feature presentation of “Des Gens qui s’embrassent” AKA stateside “It Happened in Saint-Tropez.” The title was inspired by the Frank Sinatra song “It Happened in Monterey” which is featured in the movie along with the crooner’s hit “My Way.” Coincidentally, the music for that song was co-written by Claude Francois, whose movie biography “My Way” was the opener at the 2012 COL•COA! After the credits rolled, writer/producer/director Edward Zwick (Defiance, The Last Samurai, The Siege) moderated a bilingual Q&A session.
Yesterday, six movies were shown at COLCOA (City of Lights City of Angels), the French Film Festival in Los Angeles. I chose to watch “Les Adieux à la Reine” (Farewell My Queen) by director Benoit Jacquot. I am not sure it was the best choice…
Farewell My Queen takes place in Versailles over four days, starting with the decisive date of July 14, 1789. Through the eyes of Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux), we follow queen Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) during the beginning of what will become the French Revolution. Sidonie, who is the queen’s reader, walks us through the magnificent Hall of Mirrors of the castle of Versailles, through the dirty private hallways and shows us the intrigue between Marie-Antoinette and the infamous aristocrat Gabrielle de Polignac (Virgine Ledoyen).
The opening night of the 2012 edition of City of Lights City of Angels, the 16th time this French Film Festival has been held in Los Angeles, was explosive! While we enjoyed Nicolas Feuillate Champagne, the attendees were treated to an exceptional performance by Belgian actor Jérémie Rénier in the movie “My Way”, a biography of the singer/songwriter Claude François directed by Florent-Emilio Siri. Every French citizen is familiar with François, who is known by the nickname “Cloclo” (which is the French name of the film). For those who are not familiar with him, Frank Sinatra’s song My Way, written by Paul Anka, was based on François’ song Comme d’Habitude.
One of the documentaries, Step Up To The Plate, Entre les Bras, directed by Paul Lacoste, caught my attention. And if you are a foodie, you should try to see it as well. It is the story of chef Michel Bras at his Le Suquet restaurant in Laguiole in France. How talented is he? In 1988, we crowned him “Chef of the Year” and awarded him a rating of 19.5 (yes 19.5, even better than GAYOT’s top rating of 19 out of 20). Among his emblematic recipes is the Gargouillou, a dazzling mix of vegetables, leaves, fruits and flowers. Bras has decided to retire and let his son Sébastien take over Le Suquet. That will be a difficult task for Sébastien, who must honor his family heritage yet keep innovating as a chef, as his father has done for many years.