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June 6, 2012

French Film Festival at the Shang Cineplex

With a strong following comprised of film aficionados, culture enthusiasts, everyday moviegoers and mall shoppers, the Citi-Rustan’s French Film Fest returns to Shangri-La Plaza from June 7 to 17 at the Shang Cineplex.

Seventeen of France’s most-loved film feats await cinephiles this year, which includes a seven-film retrospect on director-extraordinaire Olivier Assayas, one of the first European directors to pay attention to Asian films; and an eight-film treat from L’Institut Francais.

The festival opens with no less than the 2012 Academy award-winning movie The Artist, a black-and-white silent film that follows the life of George Valentin - a Hollywood silent film star - whose career has come to a close due to the collapse of the silent film industry. He attempts to revive his career by financing his own picture, which opens against a talkie starring up-and-coming young dancer Peppy Miller, who he develops a fascination for.

Kicking off the streak of Assayas films is L’Eau froide (Cold Water), a story that revolves around the individual lives of Gilles and Christine - both children of divorced parents - who eventually decide to hit the road together after Christine escapes a mental institution and meets up with Gilles at a party. The journey ends as they end up at the Massif central, where Christine disappears and leaves Gilles to face up to his future.

Next in line is experimental film Irma Vep, which stars Hong Kong action star Maggie Cheung as herself coming to Paris to play Irma Vep in a story that recreates Louis Feuillade’s Les Vampires. However, trouble arises as the fragile nature of French film-making and the director’s mental instability make the shoot a total catastrophe.

Les Destinées Sentimentales (Sentimental Destinies) takes on the heartwarming story of Jean and Pauline, whose sentimental destinies intertwine in the midst of a post-World War I society where certainties and industrial dynasties are crumbling. Even though Jean has resigned himself to the failure of his past marriage, they both find a love that is stronger than the past and the passing time.

Industrial espionage, corporate war and personal duels make for a plot for Demonlover, where young, seductive senior executive Diane de Monx becomes a pawn in global intrigues and treachery stretching from Japan to Mexico after the company she belongs to acquires Tokyo Anime, a Japanese company that produces animated pornography.

Emily Wang tries to get back on her feet in Clean, where she vows to give up drugs and change her ways in order to resume her role as a mother after being forbidden to see her son Jay. However, after getting to see Jay again and spending several wonderful hours with him, she finds herself confronted with a choice between her son and the chance to resume her singing career. The Film Clean won the Technical Grand Prize Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.

Capping off the Assayas anthology is Family tension intensifies within the Berthier family as conflicting ideas rise to the surface upon the death of their mother, Hélène Berthier, whose life has been devoted to preserving the legacy of her uncle - painter Paul Berthier. The children are left to deal with objects from the past and must decide whether to break up the collection or live with it, as well as what is to become of the family home.

Kicking off the film line-up from L’Institut Francais is Le Mariage à Trois (The Three-way Wedding), where playwright Auguste struggles to finish his play and his feelings towards lead star Fanny, who also happens to be his former wife. When Fanny informs him that she will be marrying Theo, his leading man, Auguste tries to prove himself by seducing Harriet - his young assistant - who he later finds to be the ideal fit for the play’s principal role.

Au fond des Bois (Deep in the Woods) stirs intrigue with the character of Timothee - a strange yet charismatic drifter who managed to impress everyone, including Doctor Hughes and her daughter, Josephine, with his talent for magic and hypnosis. But when he subjects Josephine to a brutal rape, his image is tainted and he leaves the village with Josephine in tow. Doctor Hughes is then left wondering if she is going off on her own free will or if he has mesmerized her into doing his bidding.

Le Refuge (Hideaway) revolves around the lives of Mousse and Louis - a rich, young, beautiful couple whose lives have been invaded by drugs. One day, they overdose and Louis dies. Mousse survives, but soon learns she's pregnant. Feeling lost, Mousse runs away to a house far from Paris. Several months later, Louis' brother joins her in her refuge.

Meanwhile, Roses à Crédit (Roses on Credit) is a drama centered on a woman whose life is taken over by greed. Struggling with the aftermath of World War II, Marjoline and her husband, Daniel, dig themselves deeper into debt with no end in sight as Marjoline’s lust for consumer products ceases to fade.

Journey with close friends Lila and Ely as they are lured by the Paris elite in Tout Ce Qui Brille (All that Glitters). Unable to resist, they begin to pick up tips and tricks on how to infiltrate the upper class and begin to carve unique paths for themselves; but the new social circles begin to take their toll both on a familial and romantic level - and the friendship between Lily and Ely begins to strain and crack under the pressure of social advancement. Tout Ce Qui Brille (All that Glitters) won the Best First Film Award at the 2011 César Awards.

Composed of several chapters, L’Art d’Aimer (The Art of Love) is a movie following the stories of several Parisian couples. Isabelle, who has not had sex in a year, declines Zoé’s offer to "lend" her husband - and ends up impersonating Amélie, who cannot bring herself to sleep with her buddy Boris. On the other hand, Achille prances around a possible new affair, a middle-aged couple’s marriage is threatened, and a pair of young lovers discovers the pangs of jealousy.

L’Ordre et La Morale (Rebellion) is a film set in Ouvea island in New Caledonia, where 30 policemen are held hostage by locals fighting for their independence. 300 members of the French Army Special Forces Unit are immediately sent on a mission, in an attempt to solve the situation through mutual trust and dialogue over violence.

Last but not least, L’arnac?ur (Heartbreaker) brings the festival to a close as lead character Alex, together with his sister, operates a business designed to break up relationships. Hired by a wealthy man to prevent the wedding of his daughter to an Englishman, they try to complete the seemingly impossible job of breaking up a relationship that looks like it has none of the usual flaws, thus putting Alex’s honorable principles to the test.

Contact Details:
For inquiries, please call (63 2) 633-7851 loc.113.
Shangri-la Plaza Mall
Shangri-la Plaza Mall

Shaw Blvd. cor. EDSA
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines

Thursday June 7, 2012 - Sunday June 17, 2012

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