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Malaga French Film Festival - Alliance Française

Every year the Alliance Française in Malaga welcomes the autumn with a film festival brimming with the latest French films. France and Andalusia come closer together than ever in this unique opportunity to watch fantastic films projected in French with subtitles.


By:  B. A. Etxaniz
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French film festival
2012 Programme
Birth: 1994
Location: Malaga
Directed by: Bernard Frontero
Stands out for: screening films in French with subtitles
Did you know? the Alliance Française won the Príncipe de Asturias for Communication and Humanities Award in 2005

It’s 1967. The Alliance Française arrives in Malaga in the form of an association dedicated to teaching French. More than forty years later it has evolved into much more, providing language courses and forming part of the cultural offering from its location off calle Larios in the centre of Malaga. The highlight on their calendar? The Malaga French Film Festival, an event founded to give locals the chance to watch French films in original version with subtitles.

“It’s the most important French film festival in Spain,” comments Bernard Fontero, director of the Alliance Française in Malaga. “It’s an event that adds to an already bustling cinema program in a city that already hosts the Malaga Spanish Film Festival and Fantasy Film Festival”. The idea to create a French film festival in Malaga in collaboration with the Alliance Française was brainchild of a professor at the University of Malaga. The name changed from the Week of French Cinema to the Malaga French Film Festival in 2007: a celebration for faithful followers of the festival, francophiles and film buffs, as well as a meeting point for different cultures.

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For two weeks every year, the Alliance Française in Malaga screens films “that represent the films currently being produced in France,” explains Sébastien Rampon, one of the coordinators of the festival. “The programme is made up of a combination of more commercial films and arthouse cinema. Above all, films that have been well-received by French audiences and critics alike. All the movies screened are of a high quality and are new to Malaga-based audiences. The Alliance Française is filling a gap in the local market by offering up original language movies, a novel occurrence in a country that dubs most foreign films. The only cinema in Malaga projecting films with subtitles in their original language is the Albéniz Cinema where the films shown during the festival are screened.

The programme is made up of two different sections. On the one hand is the official section screening films in the evenings. On the other, the festival organizes special screenings for school children. “The task undertaken by the festival is twofold: culture and education. We aim to offer a programme that is attractive to both adult audiences and students,” explains Rampon. It seems that it’s a recipe for success. In the 2010 edition more than half of the 6,500 people who attended the festival were students learning French at school in Malaga. Since 2007 the organizers have had to double these sessions in order to satisfy the growing demand.

“Malaga is undergoing a transformation,” highlights Bernard Frontero. “No longer is it merely a tourist destination. It is now a cultural city opening its doors to the Mediterranean.” Audiences eagerly await the festival programme each year, as well as the closing ceremony which features a surprise film screening: spectators buy their tickets, they sit in the dark and just wait for the film to begin. It’s a little game in which, year after year, everyone takes part.

The festival includes anything from films directed by Jean Becker to films from young directors such as Carine Tardieu. One can’t speak of cinema without mentioning pioneers such as Georges Méliès. For that reason, the 2011 edition pays homage to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Georges Méliès who created some of the first narrative montages in film history. In it’s ninth edition in 2011, audiences will have the opportunity to watch A Trip to the Moon (1902) on the big screen.

The Alliance Française has an impressive network of allies when it comes to spreading French culture in Malaga: the University of Malaga, the town hall, the Malaga Provincial Council, Instituto Francés (the cultural office for the French government), the French Embassy in Spain and Unifrance (the organism in charge of supporting French cinema abroad). “Thanks to their support we are able to promote French culture in Spain, as well as Spanish and Andalusian culture in France. It’s a productive cultural exchange,” explains Frontero. In 2011 Cadena Ser, Renault and the Banco Popular Crédit Mutuel, amongst others, have come on board in support of this cultural initiative in Malaga.

“We hope to enrich the festival year by year. However, the most important thing is to maintain the essence of the event, it’s spirit. We also hope to develop the festival into a film market. We mustn’t forget that Spain is the second largest market for the purchase of French films”. No doubt there are more surprises in store as the Alliance Française continues to celebrate all things French in Andalusia.

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4 comments

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El 8 October 2010 a las 3:57 PM, ELENA dijo...

Muchas gracias por esta información tan poco difundida en Marbella.



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