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A man wearing a red beret, spandex shorts, black motorcycle boots and a black leather vest posed for photos, and local DJs Christophe and Roger spun French music in the background at the Crest lobby during the opening reception of the Eighth Sacramento French Film Festival Friday night. Meanwhile, French film enthusiasts sampled wine, cheese, chocolate fondue, wraps and flatbreads from local restaurants and businesses.
The man’s unmistakably French attire may have caught your eye while passing this year’s SFFF posters around town, on which he appears equipped with a Martian helmet and an Eiffel Tower gun wearing the same costume, with the words “It came from Bordeaux!” above him and a space invasion setting behind him.
In an entertaining staged skit during the evening’s opening ceremony, the poster’s two stars – the French space invader and his victim damsel-in-distress shown on the poster – were asked a series of questions in French about the film release of It Came from Bordeaux!, to which the two replied in English “There is no movie,” “We’re not actors” and “It’s just a poster!”
Enough people mistook this year’s festival poster for an actual movie scene, as the interviewer had done, that the poster’s designer made an announcement that he has decided to turn his poster concept into a locally made film that will be shown at next year’s festival.
Kent Lacin, a local professional photographer and the SFFF poster designer, said he has no plan yet for the film’s plot and is still pondering questions such as “What would the French alien ship look like?”
Following the opening ceremony, a screening of Cedric Klapisch’s 2008 film Paris played to a packed theater house.
A dramatic comedy, the film focuses on nightclub dancer Pierre, played by Romain Duris, who discovers he has a potentially fatal heart condition and recedes into isolation in his apartment overlooking the city. Around Pierre and his sister Elise, played by Juliette Binoche, emerge a web of interconnected Parisians and their confrontations with aging, loneliness, death and above all, sex and intimacy.
Some of the film’s most convincing and uncomfortable moments show a college professor’s obsession with his student, Pierre’s struggle to find a sex partner and a spontaneous evening spent between models and market workers.
The film provides an unromanticized, authentic sense of Parisian life as each character reveals their experiences in the local marketplace, the pastry shop or their apartments.
“Paris, you have a thousand faces,” says one character – “trashy Paris,” “happy Paris” or “singing Paris.”
The festival could not have been opened with a more appropriate film. With midnight around the corner, audience members filed out of the theater, while a small crowd stayed for coffee and a discussion about the film conducted by Kevin Elstob, professor of French at CSUS.
The French Film festival will resume this Friday.
For more information on the French Film festival, visit this link.