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Vive le cinéma at the French Film Festival UK

Ace animator Sylvain Chomet who made Les triplettes de Belleville and has moved his production outfit to the UK, will preside over this year's 13th anniversary French Film Festival UK running from 15 November until 5 December 2004.

Chomet who lives in Edinburgh with his wife Sally, declared himself delighted to be named honorary patron "now that I have made my home and work place in Scotland."

He added: "Although the festival has grown enormously and spread its wings to such English cities as London and Manchester it is still rooted in Scotland. It has helped to forge links with France, entirely appropriate for the land of the Auld Alliance, and I guess we're part of that. The selection for this year's festival looks vibrant and varied - and, of course, I am pleased to see animation represented by La prophétie des grenouilles which was such a big hit in France."

Richard Mowe, festival director, said: "Sylvain unquestionably will prove to be a sympathetic and supportive patron. He's an example of the Auld Alliance in action and we're overjoyed at his participation."

One of the highlights of the Scottish Screen-supported festival will be a tribute to one of the undisputed icons of international cinema Alain Delon. The actor who has made more than 80 films, currently has been enjoying a revival for a whole new audience with the re-emergence of such titles as Le Cercle Rouge (1970), his masterwork with Jean-Pierre Melville; Plein Soleil (1950) for René Clément and Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and The Leopard (1963). The selection for the tribute embraces such rarely seen classics as Mélodie en sous-sol with Jean Gabin, La Piscine with Romy Schneider, Joseph Losey's Mr Klein and Trois hommes à abbatre.

The critic David Thomson once described him as "the mysteriously lethal angel in a trenchcoat and a fedora." Many of his roles introduced the dangerous undercurrent beneath Delon's placidly handsome surface. He has worked with most of the major French directors, among them Patrice Leconte, Bertrand Blier, Louis Malle, and Jean-Luc Godard as well as Melville. Currently he is retreading the boards in Paris at the Théâtre Marigny until February 2005 playing in Les montagnes russes, a contemporary drama by Eric Assous (a previous FFF guest for Les Randonneurs and La femme defendue) , directed by Anne Bourgeois and also starring Astrid Veillon.

The festival will screen some of the biggest successes of the French cinematic year such as Les Choristes with Gérard Jugnot (a cultural phenomenon in France, scoring more than 10 million admissions and due for a UK release through Pathé in February) in addition to cutting edge talents with L'Esquive by Abdellatif Kechiche and Le Clan from actor/director Gael Morel among the gems in store, as well as documentaries, and a selection of shorts. The Panorama section will feature films by such established names as François Dupeyron, Jean-Pierre Améris, Francis Veber, Dominique Cabrera, Tony Gatlif and Benoît Jacquot.

The public will have the chance to meet guest actors and directors who will accompany their films and talk about them in a slew of stimulating Meet the Audience sessions. Included so far are Kechiche and Morel. In addition the FFF UK broadens its horizons to embrace Quebec with a choice of four titles including one of the most popular successes of the year La grande séduction, a comedy with distinct overtones of Whisky Galore and other Ealing classics.

Thousands of students, pupils and teachers will have a chance to sample French film as part of the popular education programme, devised specifically with their needs in mind. Films under scrutiny are Les choristes, Malabar Princess and Genesis (a new feature from the team who made the hit Microcosmos). The documentary section discovers a Gallic take on George Bush, as well as Maria de Medeiros's sly look at the critics, Je t'aime moi non plus.

The FFF UK marks the culmination of a year in which many classics of French cinema have been screened exclusively under the festival banner in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France and supported by the Scottish Executive. This season continues in to December and will be part of Edinburgh's Hogmanay Cebrations organised by Unique Events.

Besides screenings in Edinburgh (Filmhouse), Glasgow (GFT), Aberdeen (Belmont), and Dundee (DCA) the event has expanded for the first time to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith in addition to the CinéLumière, Knightsbridge, and the UGC Shaftesbury Avenue.

"Between these three screens London audiences will have the chance to sample the whole festival - and it's probably the biggest concentration of le cinéma français in London over three weeks that there has ever been," concluded Mowe.

THE COMPLETE LINE-UP

TRIBUTE ALAIN DELON

MÉLODIE EN SOUS-SOL (15)

NOTRE HISTOIRE (15)

LA PISCINE (18)

MR. KLEIN (18)

TROIS HOMMES Á ABBATRE (18)

PANORAMA

A TOUT DE SUITE (18)

EXILS (15)

FOLLE EMBELLIE (18)

INGUELEZI (15)

NOTRE MUSIQUE (15)

POIDS LEGER (15)

TAIS-TOI! (12A)


CINEMA VERITE

GENESIS (PG)

JE T'AIME MOI NON PLUS (15)

LE MONDE SELON BUSH (15)

QUEBEC FOCUS

20h 17 RUE DARLING (18)

CQ2 (18)

LA GRANDE SEDUCTION (15)

QUEBEC-MONTREAL (15)

NEW WAVES

BRODEUSES (18)

LES CHORISTES (12A)

LE CLAN (18)

L'ESQUIVE (15)

JANIS AND JOHN (18)

JE SUIS UN ASSASSIN (18)

MALABAR PRINCESS (12A)

LA PROPHÉTIE DES GRENOUILLES (PG)

LES SENTIMENTS (15)


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