The American French Film Festival 2022 on fire!


It stumbled, but prevailed, through COVID. It’s been on line, it had a date change (it used to happen in April). Then it got a name change that no one overly loves. But nothing will put us off. We’re going to join the 26th annual joyous gathering of French-movie-loving film geeks in the generous lobby of the Director’s Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard for opening night of cinephilia formally known as COLCOA.

It’s out, out! with COLCOA and in, in! with The American French Film Festival.

Mesdames et Messieurs, here is your new acronym. TAFFF. TAFFF. Taaaaffffff.

Starting October 10, TAFFF is on fire. And that’s official. The Festival’s opening film (a by-invitation-only event to be repeated in a public screening on Friday, October 14) is a nail-biter, a cliff-hanger of a disaster film, a genre not very typical for the French, NOTRE-DAME ON FIRE. Called “a revelatory film that inspires faith” I’m hoping it is precisely that: a metaphorical journey into the power and super-strength of human beings to rise to the occasion to deflect the damage of the global disasters that seem to be popping up like a leaking dam.

Film recounts a real-life nightmare, the devastating blaze that engulfed Notre-Dame cathedral on April 15, 2019.  Inventively inter-cutting original dramatic scenes of firefighters and emergency responders doing their thing, with digital effects, smartphone videos and archival news footage, Film offers up a dazzling, blow-by-blow recreation of that terrifying inferno. There are plenty of pyrotechnics and lots of production value, with real spires collapsing and molten lead gushing from the mouths of gargoyles. 

NOTRE-DAME ON FIRE director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Name of the Rose and Seven Years in Tibet) will be among the panelists to be interviewed by Friend of Artsmeme (FOAM) Wade Major, one our town’s most articulate and knowledgeable of film critics.

TAFFF has loads of feature films as well as short films, documentaries, television programming, multiple talks planned, and special focuses (one on a film composer, one on a producer. Tickets and bundles are available here.

Here’s the full film list. Go shopping!

NOTRE-DAME ON FIRE | The American French Film Festival (Oct 10-16) | Director’s Guild of America Building | Oct 14

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