Alliance Française French Film Festival: top ten picks

Over 40 films are playing at the 2024 French Film Festival – here's our top ten.
Film still from The Taste of Things. Three women and one man stand around a table in a French provincial kitchen.

The Alliance Française French Film Festival returns to all major Australian cities from 5 March to 21 April 2024.

The newly revealed program of 41 films features some of the greatest directors (Catherine Breillat, Michel Gondry, Albert Duponte) and biggest stars (Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, Daniel Auteuil, Laure Calamy, Camille Cottil) of the French silver screen.

‘For over three decades, we’ve showcased the finest in French cinema, known for its profound simplicity and relatable humanity. Our stories reflect struggles, triumphs, passion, and possess an extraordinary ability to touch hearts,’ said Karine Mauris, Festival Artistic Director and Cultural Attachée to the French Embassy in Australia.

‘Embracing The Three Musketeers’ motto, “All for one and one for all,” our festival dives into a diverse
array of 41 movies from heart-warming comedies to gripping dramas, each offering its unique charm
and allure.’

Here are our top picks of the program.

To see what other film festivals are on this year, head to our 2024 guide.

ReadAustralian Film Festivals Guide 2024

The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan (Les Trois Mousquetaires – D’Artagnan)

Synopsis: Young D’Artagnan arrives in Paris, trying to find the attackers who left him for dead. He instead finds a real war brewing and joins the king’s three musketeers – Athos, Porthos and Aramis – as they work to ensure the future of France.

Directed by: Martin Bourboulon.

Cast includes: Francois Civil, Vincent Cassel.

The Taste of Things (La passion de Dodin Bouffant)

Synopsis: Set in France in 1889, the film follows the life of Dodin Bouffant (Benoît Magimel) as a chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie (Juliette Binoche). They share a long history of gastronomy and love but Eugénie refuses to marry Dodin, so the food lover decides to do something he has never done before: cook for her.

Directed by: Tran Anh Hung.

Cast includes: Juliette Binoche, Benoît Magimel.

Second Round (Second Tour)

Synopsis: Miss Pove, a political journalist demoted to reporting the soccer news, is called on to cover the ongoing presidential campaign. The frontrunner is the fiftysomething scion of a powerful French family who is a total novice in politics. Intrigued by this candidate, an old acquaintance whose past is less spotless than he claims, Miss Pove undertakes a surprising and oh-so-exulting investigation.

Directed by: Albert Dupontel

Cast includes: Cécile de France

Mr. Blake at Your Service! (Complètement cramé !)

Synopsis: A widowed British businessman takes the job as a butler of a manor house in France to keep memories of his late French wife. His life takes a turn as he navigates the eccentric behavior of the lady of the manor and the household staff.

Directed by: Gilles Legardinier

Cast includes: John Malkovich, Fanny Ardant

Iris and the Men (Iris et les hommes)

Synopsis: Iris has a seemingly flawless husband, two wonderful daughters, a dental practice with a relentless stream of customers, a nice apartment in an area she loves, friends who understand her… And she’ll soon be 50. And then a stranger plants a seed in her head: “Take a lover”. Iris open Pandora’s box and candidates emerge as if from nowhere – as if it were raining men.

Directed by: Caroline Vignal

Cast includes: Laure Calamy, Vincent Elbaz

A Difficult Year (Une année difficile)

Synopsis: Two swindlers, deep in debt, infiltrate a group of climate activists when they are attracted to the free food and drinks they are offered.

Directed by: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano

Cast includes: Noémie Merlant, Pio Marmaï

Bonnard, Pierre & Marthe

Synopsis: When aspiring French painter Pierre Bonnard (Macaigne) – a protégé of Claude Monet – meets Marthe de Méligny (de France), he has no idea that this self-proclaimed aristocrat will become the cornerstone of his life and work. From this moment, though she appears in over a third of his work, she’s more than just a muse; together over five decades, the couple will explore creative fulfillment, love and jealousies that challenge the standards of the time, as the film interrogates the great mystery around their relationship.

Directed by: Martin Provost

Cast includes: Cécile de France, Vincent Macaigne

The Book of Solutions (Les Livre De Solutions)

Synopsis: Marc is a director whose life and career are in upheaval. He takes his film crew to continue filming the small village in the Cévennes where his aunt, Denise, lives. There, Marc rediscovers his creativity and is full of ideas. He has so many ideas that he decides to write the Book of Solutions, a book full of advice. 

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Cast includes: Pierre Niney

The Animal Kingdom

Synopsis: When a convoy bringing hybrids to a new facility crash in a forest, paranoia spreads in the local community as the surviving creatures scatter into the wild. François and his 16-year-old son Emile embark on a desperate search for his missing wife Lena who disappeared after the crash. As François clings to the family’s past, he progressively loses his grip on Emile, who has started to notice transformations in his own body, leaving his fate increasingly uncertain. But as he secretly bonds with creatures he met in the forest, Emile opens his eyes to their humanity, leaving him and his father forever changed as the authorities close in.

Directed by: Thomas Cailley

Cast includes: Romain Duris, Paul Kircher

Àma Gloria

Synopsis: Paris, present day. Vivacious, personable young Cléo lives with her widowed father, but has mostly been raised by her beloved Cape Verdean carer, Gloria, in whose comforting arms she finds refuge and emotional stability. So when Gloria’s mother passes away – a life-changing blow for both of them – Gloria must return to her homeland to care for her own children. To ease the anguish of the impending separation, Gloria invites Cléo to her island community to spend one last summer together… There, the young girl will discover an entirely different culture and a new family, and must learn to understand that the world does not revolve around her.

Directed by: Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq

Cast includes: Louise Mauroy-Panzani, Arnaud Rebotini, Ilça Moreno Zego

The Alliance Française French Film Festival takes place from 5 March to 21 April 2024.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports