COLCOA: French Films in LA

COLCOA is the acronym for City of Lights (Paris), City of Angels (Los Angeles).  This festival of French films, founded in 1997, is taking place from April 24 to May 2, 2017 at the DGA (Directors Guild), 7920 Sunset Blvd, in two theaters named Truffaut after Francois Truffaut, and Renoir after Jean Renoir, the legendary French directors.

Everyone's Life (c) Valerie Perrin
Everyone’s Life (c) Valerie Perrin

As a film critic and cinefile I have attended this event for years. I enjoy the crowded opening night gala, when restaurants offer appetizers and wine tasting in the large atrium of the DGA building. This year the latest movie by Claude Lelouch Everyone’s Life will be shown April 24 and again April 29. You are able to buy tickets online until midnight of Thursday April 20.

I only saw one movie so far, at an early press screening, the excellent documentary Why Do They Hates Us? (Pourquoi nous détestent-ils?), directed by an actor from Martinique, a comedian from North Africa and a journalist from Morocco.  I discovered that Lelouch is the son of an Algerian Jewish father, belonging to one of the three groups that are discriminated in France today: blacks, Arabs and Jews.  After the 2015 deadly attacks at the Charlie Hedbo satirical magazine and the Hypercasher kosher market, armed soldiers have been posted at the doors of Jewish schools and synagogues.  French Jews are held responsible for the policies of Israel against Palestinians.

Sweet Dreams (c) Simone Martinetto
Sweet Dreams (c) Simone Martinetto

Among the wealth of French movies offered at this festival, I was happy to find two Italian movies, French-coproductions. Like Crazy (La pazza gioia) directed by Paolo Virzì, starring his wife Micaela Ramazzotti and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, this year’s winner of 5 David di Donatello, the Italian Oscars. It was shown last November at the Aero in Santa Monica, by the American Cinematheque during the Cinema Italian Style series. And Sweet Dreams (Fa bei sogni) directed by Marco Bellocchio from the 2012 autobiographical novel by Massimo Gramellini.  Both movies had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016.

Many of the COLCOA programs are free, such as the restored comedy classic Playtime (1967) by Jacques Tati on its 50th anniversary.  But the tickets sell out quickly at this popular festival, so read the movie descriptions check the schedule, make your choices soon, and enjoy!

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