Cinemania celebrates its 20-year anniversary

Niels Arestrup and André Dussollier in Diplomatie, Volker Schlöndorff’s presented at this year at the Cinemania festival.

The francophone film festival will be screening the best of what France and Belgium have to offer

Cinemania, the francophone film festival, is back and celebrates its 20th edition with an extended program of 55 films, all with English subtitles, and special guests.

Screenings will include 33 premieres that the chief programmer Guilhem Caillard defined as “the best of French and Belgian cinema,” at the festival’s press conference on Oct. 28. His goal is to screen films with big names as well as rising stars. Each film will display different aspects of the vibrant French-language film industry.

Niels Arestrup and André Dussollier in Diplomatie, Volker Schlöndorff’s presented at this year at the Cinemania festival.

Seven of the films that will be screened at the festival were featured at the Cannes Film Festival this year and three were in the running for an award: Bertrand Bonello’s Saint-Laurent, a profile of the famed fashion designer starring Gaspard Ulliel in the title role; Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Deux jours, une nuit, a drama with Marion Cotillard as a factory worker trying to save her job; and Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, an account of the relationship between an aging actress (Juliette Binoche) and her assistant (Kristen Stewart).

One of the highlights in the lineup is Volker Schlöndorff’s masterpiece, Diplomatie. For its Canadian premiere, Diplomatie will enjoy a special presentation on Sunday to honour the performance of the actors. The film recounts the 1944 historic duel between General Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup), who prepares to execute Hitler’s direct orders to destroy Paris, and Swedish consul Raoul Nordling (André Dussollier).

Gemma Bovery will open the festival on Thursday. This modern version of Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary, starring Fabrice Luchini, will be presented by director Anne Fontaine (Coco avant Chanel) at the Opening Gala at the Imperial Cinema.

Other guests will be present, such as Adèle Haenel, for the gala screening of Les Combattants – Love at first fight next week. Aged 25, the French actress gained an instant iconic reputation and a César award, the highest film honour in France, for Suzanne in 2013. Her career will be celebrated at the Cinémathèque québécoise with two movies, Naissance des pieuvres (2007) and Les Diables (2002).

Party Girl, winner of Caméra d’Or and the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes 2014, will close the festival on Nov. 16. Angélique Litzenburger performs in a semi-autobiographical role of her life of entertaining men in a seedy bar near the French-German border. She will be in attendance with Samuel Theis, who is one of the co-directors as well as her son, in real life and on the screen.

Cinemania’s guest of honour will be Lambert Wilson. A special tribute will celebrate his career with a retrospective of nine films, including Five Days One Summer (1982), co-starring Sean Connery, at the Cinémathèque québécoise. His international career was prolific and as a reflection of his altruistic and compassionate nature, Des hommes et des dieux (2010) and Hiver 54, l’abbé Pierre (1989) are two must-see French movies.

The 20th Cinemania film festival will take place Nov. 6 to 16 at the Imperial Cinema, Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Parc. For tickets and information, visit

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