Bangalore, Hyderabad, and now Delhi. The French Film Festival (FFF), part of that country’s Bonjour India 2013 celebrations, will reach the Capital, the third leg of its seven-city tour across India, on Friday. Six new French films, with English subtitles, will be screened for free at PVR Anupam in Saket over the coming three days.

Organized by the French embassy, the Institut Français en Inde, the French cultural centre Alliance Française’s India network, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the festival will travel to Mumbai from 2-5 March—to the Liberty theatre in south Mumbai and PVR Juhu in north Mumbai (the schedule is up at www.bonjour-india.in/content/french-film-festival-fff).

The response in Bangalore and Hyderabad was more than heartening, says Deborah Benattar, head of the film and TV office at the French embassy here. “The response has been good, the screenings have been full, but that’s not surprising since Indians love French films," she says. The movies being shown in India are fresh out of the laboratory and have been recently released in France, she adds.

The package for India ranges from romance to comedy. Populaire, starring French alt pin-up Romain Duris, is set in 1958. It’s the story of a boss who encourages his secretary to become the fastest typist on the planet. In Carine Tardieu’s The Dandelions, two young girls become fast friends at school and discover the pleasures and pains of life together. François Ozon’s latest movie, In the House, based on a play by Juan Mayorga, is about a 16-year-old’s increasingly intrusive involvement with a fellow student. The animated movie Zarafa, the only universal-rated film in the package, is about the adventure-filled journey of a young boy from Africa to France, with only a giraffe for company. A ballet dancer and a mirror-maker are irresistibly drawn to each other in the dance-themed Hand in Hand. Camille Rewinds is a French take on the Hollywood movie Peggy Sue Got Married—Camille wakes up one day and finds that she has gone back in time to the 1980s.

French distributors have, with some help from their country’s cultural department, tried to distribute films like Vertige and The Intouchables in India, but they have largely failed to enter the local market. “Commercial distribution is a bit complicated," Benattar says. “There are so many new Bollywood and Hollywood films every Friday in India that the multiplex screens are very busy. We did have some success with The Artist, but that movie won many Oscars and was well promoted. It is not easy to promote each and every French film." Of the six titles being shown in India, Populaire is likely to be released later in March by local distributor Top Entertainment.

Another multi-city screening, this time of short films, is taking place simultaneously (bonjour-india.in/content/evening-short-films). Seventeen such films will be screened at the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai on 18 March, over around four-and-a-half hours. Entry will be free, with passes available at the venues and Alliance Française.

The Indo-French lovefest will continue at this year’s edition of the Festival de Cannes. India is the country in focus at Cannes, and a bunch of Indian films, new and old, will be screened at the seaside town from 15-26 May.

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