You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Colcoa to Kick Off Its 23rd Edition With ‘Les Miserables’

In a city where film festivals often struggle for stability and longevity, the City of Lights, City of Angeles (Colcoa) French Film Festival has long been a happy outlier, scheduling a week of French film premieres in Los Angeles every April, year after year. That makes it all the more disorienting to see the fest’s 23rd edition kick off tonight, deep into September.

Though prompted by the renovations to its longtime home at the DGA – whose refurbished theater, now tricked out with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, will see its grand reopening tonight – Colcoa’s move to fall nonetheless comes with plenty of advantages.

Previously scheduled before the start of the Cannes Film Festival, Colcoa now has the benefit of picking and choosing from several months of festival lineups. Tonight’s opening film, Ladj Ly’s “Les Miserables,” won the jury prize at Cannes on its way to becoming France’s foreign language Oscar entry, joining Nicolas Bedos’ closing night film “La Belle Epoque,” Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Young Ahmed” and Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body” among the fest’s several Croisette-approved features.

“It’s always challenging to change the date of a very well established event, but so far we are very happy with it,” Colcoa’s executive producer and artistic director Francois Truffart says. “We were very impressed that sales companies and distributors decided to follow us and to support us with their films. … People wanted to be part of this new event.”

Perhaps the most notable change in programming is the abundance of auteur names in the lineup. In years past, Colcoa was notable for booking the types of French titles that rarely otherwise get much play on the international festival circuit – romantic comedies, family films, and other more populist fare. Truffart acknowledges that this year’s fest doesn’t have any of the broad, Dany Boon-style French comedies that Colcoa has often programmed, but still sees the festival offering a wide-angle view of French filmmaking.

“The strength of this program has always been that it is very eclectic, and we will continue to show the diversity of French cinema,” Truffart says. “We do have a lot of drama this year, but not only drama. On Saturday we have several family films. Our closing film, ‘La Belle Epoque,’ is a comedy. We also have the U.S. premiere of ‘Cyrano, My Love,’ which is a pure comedy.”

In addition to French Oscar entry “Les Miserables,” Algeria’s foreign language selection, Mounia Meddour’s “Papicha,” will play at the fest, as well as “Adults in the Room,” the latest from Costa Gavras. Claire Burger will be under the spotlight for the fest’s Focus on a Filmmaker program on Thursday, with a screening of her first solo feature, “Real Love,” as well as a panel discussion and a free screening of her 2014 feature with Marie Amachoukeli and Samuel Theis, “Party Girl.”

As Truffart is keen to point out, 40% of the titles playing this year were directed by women. “And in competition, it’s actually 50-50.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Alexander Skarsgard in the front rowGiorgio

    Film News Roundup: Alexander Skarsgard Joins 'Passing' With Tessa Thompson

    In today’s film news roundup, Taryn Manning, Shane West and Alexander Skarsgård have new roles, and Warner Bros. unveils a modernized logo. CASTINGS Alexander Skarsgård has signed on to join Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and André Holland in “Passing.” The film marks Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut and is based on a screenplay that Hall adapted [...]

  • Spike Lee

    Spike Lee to Direct Hip-Hop Love Story 'Prince of Cats'

    Spike Lee will direct a big-screen version of the hip-hop love story “Prince of Cats,” based on Ron Wimberly’s graphic novel. Legendary has been developing the project with Janet and Kate Zucker of Zucker Productions. Lee, who won the Academy Award for adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman,” will also re-write the “Prince of Cats” script with [...]

  • DOLEMITE IS MY NAME!, 2019, DOL_Unit_06284.RAF

    'Dolemite Is My Name' Writer Larry Karaszewski Recalls 10-Year Journey to Make Rudy Ray Moore Biopic

    “Harriet” writer-director Kasi Lemmons was in a reflective mood at Tuesday night’s “Behind the Scene” event at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West. The biopic, starring Cynthia Erivo as slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been receiving buzz since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s Lemmons’ [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Abrams Artists Agency Signs Writers Guild Deal

    In a major triumph for the Writers Guild of America, the Abrams Artists Agency has signed the WGA’s Code of Conduct, allowing the agency to return to representing WGA members again. Chairman Adam Bold made the announcement Wednesday, saying that the agency wants to put its clients back to work. He also noted WGA West [...]

  • Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis

    Holocaust Experts Debate 'Jojo Rabbit' at Museum of Tolerance Screening

    With its comedic, cartoonish portrayal of Nazis, Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler youth tale “Jojo Rabbit” has polarized critics and audiences alike. And that division continued to be stirred at Tuesday night’s screening of the film at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where Liebe Geft, director of the museum, moderated a heated panel discussion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content