Festival guests include Alexandre Desplat and Carole Bouquet.

Joachim Lafosse’s Our Children (A Perdre la Raison), a production of Belgium-Luxemburg-France-Switzerland, was awarded best film at the 14th Athens Francophone Film Festival (April 4-14).

This Archipel 35 production, best foreign film award at this year’s Cesars, deals with the stormy relations of a newly married young couple with an old doctor.

The award, sponsored by the French public channel TV5 and the Athens Municipality, carries a purse of €9,000 to back the Greek release by distributor One From The Heart.

Gilles Bourdos’ biopic Renoir received a special mention. The French Fidelite Films produced film was bought for distribution in Greece by Takis Veremis’ Strada Films.

The four-member-jury was comprised of the French-Greek actress Ariane Labed, Greek film director Thanos Anastopoulos, French musicologist Alejandra Norambuena Skira, and Greek writer Dimitris Stefanakis.

The audience award, backed by Fischer Breweries with €6,000, went to the French-Belgian comedy Populaire by Regis Roinsard starring Romain Duris and Berenice Bejo. The film deals with the relation of a young insurance broker and his typewriting-gifted secretary that takes an unexpected twist when he decides to enter her in a typewriting contest.

The film’s screenwriter Daniel Presley and Feelgood Entertainment’s Irene Souganidou, who bought the film for distribution in Greece, were on hand to receive the prize.

French-Greek composer Alexandre Desplat (Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, The King’s Speech) served this year as president of the festival. He was also on had to introduce Renoir, for which he composed the score.

The festival launched with the world premiere of Anthony Marciano’s Naughty Guys (Les gamins), which was acquired for distribution in Greece by Strada Films.

The veteran celebrated French director Patrice Leconte was on hand to introduce his latest film, the 3D animation feature Suicide Shop (Le magasin des suicides), which closed the event. The film was bought for local distribution by Zinos Panagiotidis’ Rosebud.   

Films by French-speaking directors and countries formed part of the 16 title-strong selection of the non-competitive Panorama of  French speaking cinema. Titles included War Witch (Rebelle), The Virgin, The Copts and Me, The Unknown Father and The Invisibles.

Standing out among the side events were the tribute to French star Carole Bouquet, the homage to the pionners of the French animation school showcasing 10 short films from 1908, the carte blanche to the third Be There: Corfu International Animation Film Festival as well as the  master class “Luis Lumiere’s Children”  on French cinema organized by the Athens International Film Festival-Opening Nights, partner of the FFF.    

Carole Bouquet, named godmother of this year festival, was present to receive a career award and introduce a selection of four films she stars in directed by the likes of Andre Techine, Bertrand Blier, Patrick Mille and Brigitte Rouan who took the stage to introduce her film Works (Travaux).  

Desplat was joined at the head of the event by Olivier Descotes, director of the Athens French Institute (IFA) and Elise Jalladeau, audiovisual attachee and FFF artistic director. Unifrance is among the backers of the events.

Greek distributors acquire 10% of the annual French-speaking production which translates in over 50 films released theatrically in the country year after year.

After screening in Athens, the festival programme is repeated April 11-17 in Thessaloniki.