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French Film Festival returns Feb. 23- March 1 

Classic and recent award-winning French films screen at Prytania Theatre

click to enlarge nocturama.jpg

The New Orleans Film Society's French Film Festival presents a slate of recent award-winning and Academy Award-shortlisted films from France and Francophone countries at The Prytania Theatre Feb. 23 to March 1. Before many screenings, there's music by Helen Gillet, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Bart Ramsey and others.

  The festival opens at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 with Cesar-winning (France's version of the Academy Awards) director Cedric Klapsich's Back to Burgundy, in which three siblings reunite and reconcile their relationships after inheriting their father's winery (also screening at noon Feb. 26). The festival includes three movies by French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda, including her 1965 film Le Bonheur, 2000 film The Gleaners and I about people who live as scavengers and her 2017 documentary project with photographer and muralist JR, Faces Places. There's also a screening of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless.

Among this week's screenings is director Bertrand Bonello's Nocturama (pictured), an at times tense and at times listless drama about disaffected young people lashing out in a violent plot. The diverse group ranges from cynical university students to people frustrated with social and economic stagnation. They carry out a meticulous plot and take refuge in an odd — but cinematically useful — space in Paris. As they wait out the aftermath of their strike — and we glimpse a burning statue of Joan of Arc in flashbacks — their minds wander and their discontent becomes more bizarre and unsettling. It screens at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 24.

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