By Levi Michaels, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – French film exposition Festival Varilux will return to Brazil beginning Wednesday, May 1st through Thursday, May 16th. The third installment of the festival will bring fifteen of the best French films made in recent years to 45 cities in Brazil, showcasing a variety of genres, from comedy and thriller to drama and historical fiction.
This year’s festival will also include a series of workshops, lectures and other special events unique to Rio de Janeiro, including an homage to Benoît Jacquot hosted by Instituto Moreira Salles that will run from Saturday, May 4th through Sunday, May 12th.
The director himself will make an appearance on Saturday, May 4th following a screening of his newest film, “Farewell, My Queen,” adapted from Chantal Thomas’ acclaimed historical novel about the final days of Marie Antoinette’s reign in 1789. Tickets are available starting at R$8 for students and R$16 for general admission.
For students of cinema, the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) will host a workshop with Jacquey, as well as filmmakers Phillip Le Guay and Jean-Pierre Amári on Sunday, May 5th. For Brazilian film professionals, RioFilme is sponsoring a screenwriting workshop with French specialists that will run from Monday, April 29th to Saturday, May 4th.
According to their website, over 70,000 people attended Festival Varilux in 2012, and this year organizers expect an audience in excess of 100,000 across Brazil. To this end, the festival is expanding to two week-long phases that will visit over forty cities and eighty cinemas, a fifty percent increase in capacity from last year.
The first phase will run from Wednesday, May 1st through Thursday, May 9th and include the following cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cotia, Curitiba, Campinas, Florianópolis, Fortaleza, Goiânia, Indaiatuba, João Pessoa, Jundiaí, Macaé, Nova Friburgo, Porto Alegre, Recife, Resende, Ribeirão, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Santos, São Gonçalo, São Paulo, Sorocaba and Vitória.
Between Friday, May 10th and Thursday, May 16th, the festival will visit Aracaju, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Blumenau, Floripa, Londrina, Maceió, Manaus, Maringá, Natal, Palmas, Santa Maria, São Luís and Tubarão.
“Our greatest satisfaction is that our high-quality selections will be much more accessible to the public than in years past,” said festival curator Christian Boudier. He added that they will have the “honor to participate in the democratization of cultural practices in Brazil” by bringing French cinema to an unprecedented number of Brazilian audiences.
“As a cinema lover, I’m very glad to see that French cinema has its place in Brazil, completing the offer of American Hollywood blockbusters and Brazilian productions,” said Bastien Blanc, French transplant and head of Marketing and Communications at Europartner.
“French cinema has been imposing its very own artistic perspective for generations, taking its distances from a Machiavellian bipolar opposition of good and evil, bringing rich and complex emotions and reflections on the big screens.”
For more information about the festival program, ticket prices, and the films being shown, visit the official Festival Varilux website.