Amb. Galey bares love for movies,
promotes 24th French Film Festival
Text, photos and video by Monsi A. Serrano
His Excellency Nicolas Galey, French Ambassador to Manila is not one to hide his love for movies.
In fact, he takes intimate pride in saying that cinema was invented in France through the Lumière brothers who did their first film screening in 1895 at a café in Paris.
So it came as no surprise that the good ambassador gamely engaged the media at the press conference for the 24th French Film Festival last week.
Amb. Galey shared his excitement and invited everyone in watching the entire program of the festival which will be staged in Manila, Cebu, Davao, and – for the first time – Bacolod City.
He said cinema still remains a very popular passion and a major form of expression of French’s cultural identity, which is very much open to the world, including our official institutions that are supporting foreign movies.
Amb. Galey also acknowledged how the Philippines has welcomed foreign films such as the ones from France and other countries through various film festivals. In the case of the 24th edition of the French Film Festival, audiences are encouraged to discover films that offer a particular French aesthetic and the stories that would make people laugh, cry, or reflect on the human condition in our society.
“French movies can take you to the banks of the Seine in Paris for a romantic get-away. To others, cinema is a medium for social commentary that provides a closer look at reality. French films do both, and much more,” Amb. Galey said.
There are a lot of interesting and heartwarming movies that the French Ambassador cited such as “Le Grand Bain” (“Sink or Swim”) that depicts the attempt of a group of men to overcome their mid-life crises in contemporary society, affecting their relationships with their family, friends, and colleagues. This inspiring drama, with its own fair share of moments of comic relief, was one of the biggest box office successes in France last year.
Interestingly, the French Embassy is delighted to have the venerable presence of French director Nils Tavernier, who will present his two most recent films, “De toutes nos Forces” (“The Finishers”) and “L’Incroyable histoire du Facteur Cheval” (“The Ideal Palace”). Based on true stories, both films are inspired by the love of a father for his children and his ability to overcome difficulties to make them happy.
The French Ambassador assured viewers that selection of films for the 2019 French Film Festival carries the theme of family and human relationships, some of which explore the place of women in society which will be appreciated by many Filipinos.
There will also be a forum to discuss issues that may be highlighted in the film “Bande de filles” (“Girlhood”) and see how these may be true in the Philippines as they are in France which will be co-hosted by SPARK! Philippines, headed by Mica Teves.
The French Film Festival is also a platform to showcase the growing relations between France and the Philippines through cinema.
“The Embassy of France is working closely with the Film Development Council of the Philippines to bring French expertise to the Philippines, not only in making films but also in providing support to the industry. Together, we have brought experts from the French National Center for Cinema (CNC – equivalent of the FDCP) and the Annecy International Animation Festival to share their knowledge and best practices with Filipino professionals – very, very talented professionals if I may say – in the field. We look forward to the Philippines’ ratification of the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity that will potentially open doors for a co-production agreement between our two countries,” he said.
Starting June 12, which is the 121th Philippine Independence Day, the French Embassy’s tradition of honoring Philippine cinema continues by featuring Filipino films that have either been co-produced with France or have been screened in prestigious festivals in France.
The line-up this year includes Pepe Diokno’s “Above the Clouds,” which was co-produced with funding from the Aide aux Cinémas du Monde program of Institut Français; the short film “Waiting for Sunset” by Carlo Catu which received the Audience Award at the 2019 Vesoul Festival of Asian Cinema; and Carlo Manatad’s “Jodilerks de la Cruz” which was featured in last year’s Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival.
Last but not the least, the French Embassy will honor National Artist for Film and Mass Communications Kidlat Tahimik by screening his “Perfumed Nightmare,” a film shot in Paris when he was working as an economist in the OECD in the 1970s.
Ambassador Galey said there is much to look forward to at the 24th French Film Festival which happens on June 12 to 18, 2019 – Metro Manila (Bonifacio High Street cinemas & Greenbelt 3 cinemas), June 20 to 22, 2019 – Cebu City (Ayala Center Cebu), June 28 to 30, 2019 – Davao City (Abreeza Mall Davao) and July 10 to 12, 2019 – Bacolod City (Ayala Capitol Central Mall).
For more information on the film-line-up, synopses, trailers, and screening schedule, visit www.ph.ambafrance.org or follow the Embassy of France to the Philippines on social media (www.facebook.com/FrenchEmbassyManila or @FrenchEmbassyPH on Twitter and Instagram).