The festival showcases 75 years of unity between the French Republic and the Philippines.
Twenty-twenty two marks a special year for France and The Philippines. This year celebrates both 75 years of diplomatic relations for the two countries, as well as the 25th edition of Manila’s French Film Festival at the Greenbelt 3 cinemas. For it’s first run since the pandemic hit in 2020, the event is bringing forth a star-studded audience along with some of the most highly-acclaimed films in French cinema.
Award-winning actress Isabelle Huppert, who was named the world’s second best actor in the 21st century by the New York Times, beating out Hollywood legends like Daniel Day-Lewis and Willam Dafoe, was in attendance at the opening night of Manila’s French film fest last night, October 21.
Two of the renowned performer’s films, A Propos de Joan and The Promises, will be screened for audiences, alongside a film called Captive by none other than Brillante Mendoza, which stars Huppert as his lead. Huppert been a familiar face to the Philippines for quite some time, having shot Mendoza’s 2012 film in Batangas, Subic, Tanay, and Quezon.
The film Eiffel by Martin Bourboulon opened the festival, and will accompany French selections like Lost Illusions by Xavier Gianolli, Farewell Mr. Haffman by Fred Cavayé, and Notre Dame on Fire by Jean-Jacques Anneaud, and more. In honor of our two countries coming together, Filipino director Erik Matti’s film On The Job: Missing 8 will also be screened. His prequel film On The Job was shown at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival. Tickets can be purchased at the Greenbelt 3 cinema lobby.
A Collaborative Future
Also in attendance at the French Film Festival’s opening night were H.E. Michèle Boccoz, the Ambassador of the French Republic to the Philippines and Chairman of The Film Development Council of the Philippines, Tirso Cruz III. Both the FDCP and the French Embassy have been working together to pass a new co-production agreement that would make collaboration opportunities easier and more accessible between the two countries.
Ambassador Michèle Boccoz tells Vogue Philippines, “I’m very happy that we can have this opportunity to showcase films both from France and also the Philippines because we’re very close together in terms of creation and what we’re interested in.” She details how the co-production agreement has been in the works for quite some time and with the amount of support it’s been receiving, things are looking to be well on their way.
“I’m also very excited because there have been some Filipino films being shot in France and I think this is going to grow if they can sign the agreement” she continues, “Even during the COVID times, we managed to get some directors to France to shoot so it’s a very strong dynamic that has not been affected by the pandemic. ”
Sigrid Bernardo was one such director lucky enough to continue shooting on location in France, alongside actor Piolo Pascual. Their film is now currently in post-production. Boccoz tells us she has high hopes that this momentum of collaboration continues, sharing that another project is in the works for February, a collaboration between a French Director and Brillante Mendoza.
She shares how she had the opportunity to meet Mendoza and discuss his vision, “As you know, he’s extremely popular in Europe, very popular in France. He received a number of awards and he’s been extremely successful. So I think his creations are so deeply felt. He brings up essential themes [and] questions . . . He has this capacity to turn them into images and into beauty.”