Kings and Queens

World Film Panorama





Europe in Short


Cinema Taking French Leave

Simon Popek
Programme director



Liffe has always had a productive partnership with the French cinematography; our November festival program regularly featured Gallic favourites. Until recently. Two years ago the number of French films at Liffe decreased dramatically, to scarcely five titles. “Where have all the good French movies gone to?” we asked ourselves. Where are the vitality and unceasing ability of regeneration? It turned out that French cinema is alive and well, we’ve only searched for it in all the wrong places. It was ‘hiding’ in ‘non-artistic’ forms, the classical genre of thrillers, outside the festival circuit, where works of this kind are programmed, if selected at all, in the so-called midnight series.


It needs to be said matter-of-factly: the French are undisputed masters of good thrillers, and when these include elements of burning social and political issues what emerges is an explosive, incredibly attractive mixture that far surpasses the social and political ‘edge’ of the so-called Europuddings, films whose forced concerns are at best adapted for the glamorous festival scene, and at worst an insult to the honourable tradition of ‘issue cinema.’

In 2017, Liffe will thus direct its Focus on the recent French production, genre-coded works addressing acute present-day issues (xenophobia, migrants, financial crisis, rise of the right-wing populism) or the historical excesses that France cannot steer clear of (colonialism, the exploitable economy in the third world, Algeria).

France boasts a venerable tradition of such films, and thus it is only fitting that contemporary filmmakers Eric Valette, Frederic Schoendoerffer and Olivier Marchal are presented alongside historically relevant names whose heyday were the 1970s, directors that include Alain Corneau, Bertrand Tavernier, Yves Boisset and Jacques Deray.



  • 18. 11. - 28th Liffe Awards Ceremony
  • 19. 07. 2017  - Film submisions
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