The festival’s French Revolutions section features premieres of 12 French films: 36 vues du Pic Saint-Loup (36 Views of Saint-Loup Peak), Les Beaux Gosses (The French Kissers), L'Enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot (Henri-George Clouzot's Inferno), L'Epine dans le cœur (The Thorn in the Heart), La Fille du RER (The Girl on the Train), Hadewijch, Ne me libérez pas je m'en charge (My Greatest Escape), Partir (Leaving), Persécution, Les Regrets (Regrets), Villa Amalia, and White Material. Micmacs à tire-larigot (Micmacs), Le Père de mes enfants (The Father of My Children), and Un Prophète (A Prophet) will also be screened at a gala evening, while a dozen other titles feature in the other festival sections.
A host of French artists will make the trip to London for the event, including Serge Bromberg for L’Enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot (distributed by Park Circus), Frederick Wiseman for La Danse - Le ballet de l'Opéra de Paris (Soda Pictures), Mia Hansen-Love and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing for Le Père de mes enfants (Artificial Eye), Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Micmacs à tire-larigot, (E1 Entertainment), Catherine Breillat for Barbe Bleue (New Wave Films), Claire Denis for White Material (Artificial Eye), Bruno Dumont for Hadewijch (New Wave Films), Jacques Audiard for Un Prophète (Optimum Releasing), and Jane Birkin for 36 vues du Pic Saint-Loup (New Wave Films). British distributors will coordinate media coverage for the event.
Elia Suleiman (Le Temps qu’il reste, aka The Time That Remains) and Riad Sattouf (Les Beaux Gosses, aka The French Kissers) will present their films, as will Gaspar Noé (Soudain le vide, aka Enter the Void), who will take part in an open discussion with audiences.
As a sidebar to the 2009 London Film Festival, Unifrance is hosting a series of Cinema Lessons with Catherine Breillat and Bruno Dumont at the prestigious London Film School, which has produced numerous renowned film directors and industry professionals, including Mike Leigh and Michael Mann. Catherine Breillat will present her film Barbe Bleue on October 19, while Bruno Dumont will present Hadewijch on October 21. Film screenings will be followed by discussions with students.
Since the start of 2009, around 30 French films have hit the screens in the UK. A number of these titles have been well received, such as Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel, released by Optimum Releasing), which attracted 500,000 spectators and ranks as the second most successful recent French-language film after Amelie, which was released by Alliance/Momentum Pictures in 2001 (783,000 admissions). The 3-episode Mesrine series (Alliance/Momentum Pictures) also hit the mark, registering a total of 200,000 admissions for the first two episodes.
On October 20, Unifrance and the French Institute are hosting a meeting between industry professionals from France and the UK. This event will give participants the opportunity to gain an understanding of their counterparts’ position across the Channel, and allow French sales agents to spend invaluable face-to-face time with British distributors.