News

Sex symbol-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot is threatening to join actor Gerard Depardieu in Russian exile unless France halts the scheduled euthanasia of two sick circus elephants.

BFI London Film Festival exceeds great expectations with record-breaking crowds

The London film festival ended late on Sunday with the European premiere of Mike Newell's Great Expectations and the release of figures showing public attendance at screenings across the capital this year had risen 12 percent to a record 149,000.

DVD: The Artist

It's a cause for celebration that this year's big Oscar winner (five awards including Best Picture and Best Actor) was a French, black-and-white silent movie.

Paris cinemas protest at the degradation of culture

Two of the best-known independent cinemas in Paris have “abolished Christmas” to protest against the monopolisation of popular “art” films by the big, French cinema chains.

Rebel rebel: Why Vincent Cassel is Europe’s most dangerous movie star

He set the screen alight – and pulses racing – as Black Swan's lecherous ballet director, while as one half of Europe's movie power couple, he provoked the wrath of the Vatican. Now Vincent Cassel has a family, is he set to curb his inflammatory instincts? Not likely, he tells James Mottram

Potiche, François Ozon, 102 mins (15)

Deneuve is reunited with Depardieu in a deliciously retro boardroom farce

DVD: Adrift (12A)

Heitor Dhalia's family drama, set on Brazil's impossibly beautiful coastline, is a tale of nascent sexuality, infidelity and domestic dissolution.

King of the New Wave: BFI salutes the brilliant, groundbreaking French film-maker François Truffaut

If there is one scene that sums up the work of the French film-maker François Truffaut (the subject of a major retrospective at the BFI next month), it's a moment midway through his 1976 film, Small Change, about children growing up in a small town in France. A baby boy called Gregory is left alone in a high-rise apartment. He is playing with a pet kitten that refuses to come in from the window ledge and then gets stuck. Gregory playfully tries to rescue the kitten, loses his grip and falls downward to his certain death... but he doesn't die. "Gregory went boom!" the little youngster tells the adult onlookers as he dusts himself off on the ground dozens of floors below. His mother faints. Gregory makes no fuss. Nor does Truffaut. In his universe, no harm should ever be allowed to come to children. The film-maker was, as one friend described him, "a kind soul" and "a treasure trove of tenderness".

DVDs that shaped 2010: World cinema DVDs

The French New Wave is not so new any more, but it has had a resurgence with the DVD issue of films from Agnès Varda's real-time Cleo from 5 to 7 to Eric Rohmer's classic morality tale My Night with Maud, via two suspense-filled volumes of Claude Chabrol thrillers and one collection of Alain Resnais's dissections of love.

Ross to be face of French film channel

The irrepressible Jonathan Ross, who promised himself a year off after leaving the BBC this summer, is to return to television next week as the face of specialist French film channel Cinemoi.

Claude Chabrol

New Wave director known for his menacing thrillers set in bourgeois milieux

DVD: Micmacs (12)

A crackpot revenge tale of a group of misfits living in a scrap heap who take on two arms manufacturers, Micmacs aims for idiosyncratic charm.

DVD: The Essential Claude Chabrol Vol 1, For retail & rental (Artificial Eye)

This neat little package draws together three of Chabrol's more recent films, Inspector Lavardin (1986), Betty (1992) and Merci pour le Chocolat (2000).

Nicholas Jones: Baftas, Globes and Oscars – they're all becoming alike

An extraordinary lobbying process now influences the shortlists

Observations: Mon jour chez Eric Rohmer

The first words I heard Eric Rohmer speak were on my voicemail. "Bonjour, c'est Eric Rohmer", said a deep French voice. It was March 2006 and I was living in Paris. I had written a letter to the celebrated French film-maker a couple of weeks before, hoping to interview him for my dissertation. I never imagined anything would come of it.

Eric Rohmer: Prolific film-maker, critic and novelist whose pioneering work homed in on romantic tangles

"The cow is there." So begins E M Forster's The Longest Journey. That remark surfaces in Eric Rohmer's A Winter's Tale (1992) as an allusion by a character. But who, why, and when? Unlike Forster, Rohmer – often glibly called a novelist in film – leaves a blur of enchantingly civilised exchanges which do not always galvanise 90 minutes' traffic on the screen.

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