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.
Last night was the opening of the 2011 COLCOA Festival, A Week of French Film Premieres in Hollywood. Quite a few prestigious and renowned French actors and directors made the trip from France, arriving just in time for the City of Lights, City of Angels event, including writer-director Bertrand Blier. Watch my exclusive video interview with the Oscar winner (“Get Out Your Handkerchiefs”) as he talks about his career.
Every year, COLCOA Director François Truffart invites an actress who represents French cinema and glamour. This year, I had the pleasure to mingle with two-time César-winning actress Nathalie Baye (“Day for Night,” “La Balance”). Baye will be presenting her latest movie, “De Vrais Mensonges” (Beautiful Lies”) this Saturday at 8:30 p.m.