UK French Film Festival to go ahead despite cinema closures

UK French Film Festival to go ahead despite cinema closures

The popular festival will be offering online movie screenings and some showings will continue in Scotland

The 28th edition of the UK French Film Festival, due to start today (4 November) has been hit by cinema closures. More than 200 screenings at the popular festival will be postponed or rescheduled following the UK government’s lockdown restrictions. Some of the festival’s Scottish venues are able to stay open, however, and audiences will also be able to enjoy virtual screenings.

The festival celebrates the best of French language cinema and is set to open with the UK premiere of Mama Weed (La Daronne), starring Isabelle Huppert and directed by Jean-Paul Salomé. Its screenings at London’s Ciné Lumière and Edinburgh Filmhouse have been postponed, but the showings at Aberdeen Belmont Filmhouse and Chichester Cinema at New Park are to continue as planned.

All of the festival’s English venues, from Newcastle to Plymouth, are closed until 2 December. In Scotland, Covid-19 regulations affect Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Film Theatre, Stirling Macrobert Arts Centre and Dundee Contemporary Arts Cinema until at least 13 November. Elsewhere in Scotland, Aberdeen Belmont Filmhouse, Dumfries Robert Burns Film Centre, Inverness Eden Court, Oban Phoenix Cinema, and St Andrews Byre Theatre all remain open and will follow the programme as scheduled.

If you won’t be able to go to the cinema for this year’s festival, why not bring the festival to your home? From 27 November until 4 December, the festival will be going online and viewers will be able to watch a different Francophone film each day. Among the choices are How to Be a Good Wife (La bonne épouse), with Juliette Binoche, about the French women’s liberation in the Sixties, and Under the Stars of Paris (Sous les étoiles de Paris), about a homeless woman who helps an eight-year-old boy from Burkina Faso to find his mum in Paris.

Schoolchildren will also be treated to the crème de la crème of French cinema as part of the Learning programme, available to teachers in November and December.

The Festival’s director and co-founder, Richard Mowe, said: “Festival events always take months to plan and we realised starting out there was always a risk in a fast-evolving pandemic that screenings might have to be suspended. We are pleased that some venues can remain open and we will do our best in partnership with cinemas across the country to re-programme where possible. We also know that audiences will appreciate the fact that they can access some amazing titles at home as part of our virtual offer. We thank all our many colleagues in the cinema industry for their support and creative flexibility at this challenging time. Now more than ever we need the light and reflection that cinema can offer.”

Find out more about the 2020 UK French Film Festival.


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