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French film festival back with a bang in Hollywood
JPA
JPA

Hollywood's French film festival unveiled its line-up Monday, with organizers hoping to capitalize on a pandemic-sparked shift towards non-English language programming in the United States.


The 25th edition of COLCOA -- the world's largest festival dedicated to French film -- will open with "Between Two Worlds," in which Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche goes undercover to expose the insecurity of the gig economy.


The film, which has a largely non-professional cast, leads a field of 55 movies and series, as well as 19 shorts designed to showcase the best in Gallic cinema.


"Contrary to what could have been expected after all these months of lockdown, this very eclectic and high-profile program reflects the amazing number of films actually produced in France during the last two years," Francois Truffart, the festival's executive producer and artistic director, said.


The raging Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of last year's event, as audiences retreated inside.


But, says deputy director Anouchka van Riel, the boom in non-English language films and television during lockdown is proof that there is a sizable market -- and appetite -- for things other than Hollywood's usual fare.


"In a world that had to shelter in place for a year due to the pandemic, French stories went global while individuals were isolated at home," she said, citing French-language series "Lupin" and "Call My Agent."


Continuing hits such as Netflix's smash Korean-language "Squid Game" underline the point that audiences do not find subtitles off-putting, says van Riel.


Other titles on offer this year include "Lost Illusions," writer-director Xavier Giannoli's adaptation of Honore de Balzac's novel of the same name, and "Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle," the story of a Japanese soldier who refuses to believe World War II has ended and fights on for decades.


COLCOA, which stands for "City of Lights, City of Angels" -- the nicknames of Paris and Los Angeles, respectively -- runs from November 1-7. — AFP


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