France once again intersects with Los Angeles April 19-25 for the 14th Annual City of Lights, City of Angels (COL•COA) Film Festival, ripe with 52 French films (32 features, 20 shorts) including four international and nine US and North American premieres. Opening the festival is Pascal Chaumeil’s “Heartbreaker” (“L’Arnacoeur”), a romantic comedy starring Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. The critically acclaimed Cannes 2009 film “In the Beginning” from Xavier Giannoli and starring François Cluzet (who starred in 2006’s “Tell No One”), will close the festival.
One day after its North American Premiere at Tribeca, “Gainsbourg: Je t’aime…Moi Non Plus,” from writer/director Joann Sfar, will screen at COL•COA. The film focuses on the life of famed singer (and father of “Antichrist’s” Charlotte Gainsbourg) Serge Gainsbourg, from growing up in 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris, through his successful song-writing years in the 1960s and his love affairs with Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, to his death in 1991 at the age of 62.
Mélanie Laurent, fresh out of Oscar season and her role in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” is featured in the comedy “The Concert,” from co-writer and director Radu Mihaileanu. The film tells the story of a renounced conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra who was fired 30 years ago for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a cleaning man at the same location, he stumbles upon information that could allow he and his old Jewish and Gypsy musicians to perform in place of the current Bolshoi orchestra at the French Châtelet Theater in Paris.
Other competition films from familiar writer-directors include Nicolas Boukhrief with “Sphinx,” Stéphane Brizé’s “Mademoiselle Chambon,” Albert Dupontel’s “The Villain,” Anne Le Ny’s “My Father’s Guests,” and Emmanuel Mouret with “Please, Please Me!” The festival also features 13 directorial debut films, including “Tête de Turc,” “Silent Voices,” Best First Film César award-winner “The French Kissers,” and “Immaculate,” as well as three documentaries that explore the history of French cinema, including Serge Bromberg’s “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno,” winner of the 2009 César for Best Documentary.
Restored classics, a special “After 10” horror series, LA area high school screenings, and Happy Hour Talks (topics include foreign film distribution and the influence of the French New Wave), and a first time free “Blind Date with a French Film” screening round out COL•COA’s highlights for French film lovers. For more information and a full line-up, visit the festival’s website.