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French Film Festival 2008 

Revengeful romances, sentient balloons, ménages a six: With summer cineplexes burdened by some less-than-incredible hulks, the Festival du Cinema Franais is a tres welcome sight indeed. The annual event, co-presented by the New Orleans Film Society and the local Consulat Général de France, smartly targets bravura over bulk. Its six selections span an impressive range of styles and moods, from Nicolas Klotz's Heartbeat Detector, a moral thriller in the mold of Michael Clayton, to Alain Resnais' Parisian love-hexagon Private Fears in Public Places and Jacques Rivette's The Duchess of Langeais, which pens a new chapter in the volume of gender-sparring period pictures like Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont. Most intriguing is the Saturday double feature of Albert Lamorisse's The Red Balloon (pictured) and White Mane, two acclaimed short films from the 1950s, followed by Sunday's screening of Flight of the Red Balloon, a 2007 expansion of the former and the first European feature by the visionary Taiwan auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Visit the Web site for a complete schedule. Tickets $8 general admission, $6 NOFS members; three-film passes $20 general admission, $15 members. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

Friday-Sunday, July 11-13

Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 891-2787; target="_blank">www.neworleansfilmfest.com

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