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This weekend's French Film Fest has foodie flavor

The New Orleans Film Society's 18th annual French Film Fest returns this Friday.

The New Orleans Film Society's 18th annual French Film Fest returns this Friday.

The New Orleans Film Society’s 18th annual French Film Festival will provide a real feast for the senses.

“There are two films that deal with food and drink which are always popular topics,” says John Desplas, the artistic director for the New Orleans Film Society. Steak (R)evolution (July 19, 2:30 p.m. at the Prytania Theater), directed by Franck Ribiere, takes viewers on a trip around the world to meet chefs, farmers, butchers and food critics as they discuss the revolution currently taking place within the world of beef.

A Year in Champagne (July 18 at 5:00 p.m. at the Prytania) follows renowned wine importer Martine Saunier behind the scenes into the production of the sparkling wine, from small independent makers where each bottle is still turned by hand, to illustrious houses like Gosset and Bollinger.

A reception with champagne tasting will follow the film, says Desplas.

Presented in partnership with the Conslulat General de France a la Nouvelle-Orleans and the Prytania Theater, the weeklong festival kicks off July 17, with Francois Ozon’s Hitchcockian drama The New Girlfriend (July 17, 7:15 pm and July 20 at noon, the Prytania).

“The last two or three years we’ve had the latest Ozon film,” says Desplas, “so it’s kind of fitting that we open with his latest film.”

Other highlights among the twelve films include the Louisiana premiere of Bertrand Bonello’s dark, decadent fashion biopic Saint Laurent (July 20 at 7:15 p.m.and July 22 at 12:30 p.m., the Prytania), and two classics from celebrated auteur Alain Resnais.

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (July 19 at 12:30 p.m., the Prytania) Resnais’ first film, has been digitally restored, and Je t’aime, Je t’aime, (July 23 at 5:30 p.m., the Prytania) follows a man who is asked to participate in a mysterious experiment in time travel when he leaves a hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

“It actually has never been shown theatrically in New Orleans,” Desplas says.

Resnais passed away last year, “so this year’s festival is sort of like a mini-tribute to him,” says Desplas.

Fans of French cinema and culture can pursue their interests beyond the last day of the film festival. At 7 p..m. on the first Friday of every month, the Alliance Francaise de la Nouvelle Orleans (1519 Jackson Ave.) hosts its Cine Club, in which a French film is screened with a discussion of the movie – completely in French – held afterward over wine and cheese. Cine Club is also held the last Monday of the month at Café Instanbul in the New Orleans Healing Center (2372 St. Claude Ave.), also at 7 p.m.

 

For a complete schedule for this year’s festival or to purchase tickets, visit www.neworleansfilmsociety.org.

Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.