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Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
National Film Center holds French film fest
By MARK JARNES
For many, new year is a time for reflection. A chance to look at the past with fond, albeit critical hindsight. A film festival in Tokyo is doing just that by ringing in 2011 with a retrospective look at French cinema from the last two decades.
Since the inception of the French Film Festival in 1993, Unifrance, the organization behind the festival, has brought a wide selection of French flicks — both shorts and features — to Japan. Over a two-month-long program, the National Film Center (NFR) will play host to a total of 54 works from different directors selected from the festival's back catalog covering the years 1992-2005, in a comprehensive representation of modern French film.
"There will be a huge variety of film on show," says Yuko Akasaki, assistant curator for the National Museum of Modern Art and home of the NFR. "None of the titles are distributed in Japan, so this event will offer a rare glimpse into the world of French cinema."
Included in the lineup is "Interview," an out-of-the-box short directed by Xavier Giannoli and starring Mathieu Amalric. The film won the Golden Palm grand prize in the short film category at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998.
Among the full-length feature films showing, highly recommended titles include Xavier Beauvois' "To Mathieu" and romcom "A Man, a Real One," directed by brothers Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu.
"Movie buffs and first-timers to French film alike will be able to experience a piece of French culture," says Akasaki. "No matter what your impressions of France may be, they will no doubt be cast under a different light."
"A Portrait of Modern French Film" runs till Feb. 27 at the National Film Center in Kyobashi (¥300-¥500;  3561-0823). For details, visit www.momat.go.jp/FC/fc.html.