For the first time ever, Unifrance is to organise a French film Panorama in Beijing (April 8-11) with the aim of boosting the profile of French cinema in China.
In conjunction with the Chinese authorities and the French embassy in China, ten French films have been selected by the Chinese Film Office for public screenings at the Chinese Senate.
The initiative is the fruit of months of meetings between the two countries and follows former culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon's official visit to China in December 2003. France's national film centre (CNC) and Chinese officials are currently negotiating a possible cooperation agreement for film between the two countries.
The programme was originally planned for 2005 but was fast-tracked for 2004 with a view to growing the event next year, extending it to different cities in China and with stronger local distribution support.
French films are often found on television in China, if not in theatres, but recent months have seen the theatrical release of such films as Gerard Krawczyk's Wasabi and Fanfan La Tulipe, Jacques Perrin's Le Peuple Migrateur and Jean-Paul Salome's Belphegor.
Films to be screened in the Panorama are: Diane Kurys' Je Reste, Les Amateurs by Martin Valente, Jeux D'Enfants by Yann Samuell, La Prophetie Des Grenouilles by Jacques-Remy Girerd, Effroyables Jardins by Jean Becker, Louis-Pascal Couvelaire's Michel Vaillant, Le Coeur Des Hommes by Marc Esposito, Le Cout De La Vie by Philippe Le Guay, Bruno Podalydes' Le Mystere De La Chambre Jaune and Ah, Si J'Etais Riche! by Michel Munz and Gerard Bitton.
Talent lined up to make the trip includes: Charles Berling, Diane Kurys, Yann Samuell, Christophe Rossignon, Sagamore Stevenin, Gerard Darmon, Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Charles Gassot.