The Sad and Lonely Life of Poe is one of two short films in the festival about Richmond’s peripatetic poet. Photo courtesy VCU French Film Festival
Virginia Commonwealth University French professor and French Film Festival co-founder Peter S. Kirkpatrick explains that running a tricolor up the Byrd Theater's flagpole isn't that simple. Flags require city paperwork.
"It's a liability issue, in case one falls down," he says.
Despite the risk, the flags will fly for the 17th annual French Film Festival, scheduled for March 27 to 29, which this year is billed for the first time as a coproduction between VCU and the University of Richmond. Kirkpatrick's wife, Françoise Ravaux-Kirkpatrick, is a French professor at UR; the couple co-founded the festival.
More than a dozen feature films and 14 shorts will be shown, including four brief
films shot by students from VCU and La Fémis, the French national school of film. Two of the shorts, The Sad and Lonely Life of Poe and Drift, which last 10 to 12 minutes, pay tribute to Edgar Allan Poe.
The quality of the onscreen images may appear sharper and cleaner than usual because a Paris crew that maintains visual standards at the Cannes Film Festival will be coming to the Byrd to adjust projection equipment. (While they're in town, the team will also visit the former Carpenter Center to check out their projection setup, too.)
The festival's star wattage will be amped up with an appearance by actress Josiane Balasko, an actress, writer and director well known in France. Three of her films will be shown here: L'Auberge Rouge is a slapstick comedy, J'ai Vu Tuer Ben Barka examines the life of writer Marguerite Duras, and the third is about Francoise Dolto, a pioneering French child psychologist. The Dolto film was shown on French television, but the Richmond showing will be its world screen premiere. More information is available at frenchfilm.vcu.edu.