The 49th edition of La Rochelle Cinema Festival (Fema) will present, from June 25 to July 4 2021, around 200 films from all over the world: fiction, documentaries and animated films.
After a blank year, the FEstival La Rochelle CinéMA returns with its usual format at the start of summer 2021 and a very high quality program. The FEMA team is also dedicating this 49th edition to all spectators and private operators of their cinemas for more than six months and anxious to bring cinema back to life on the big screen. The particularity of FEMA, which claims to be the “puzzle of the world’s cinemas”, is that it has always been non-competitive, putting films accessible to the 86,000 spectators who flock there on an equal footing.
This year, the Festival is devoting major retrospectives to major directors. First to Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977) with the programming of fourteen feature films, mostly in restored version, including Stromboli and Rome, open city. As part of a Rossellini Route, a critic specializing in the Italian filmmaker will comment on one of his films every day. Then to the director René Clement (1913-1966), often presented in the Italian press as “the French Rossellini”, and of which we will be able to see six feature films, including Mr. Ripois and Full Sun. This is also his film The day and the hour which will be screened during the opening night of the Festival on Friday June 25.
Finally, a retrospective is dedicated to Maurice Pialat (1925-2003), with ten of his feature films, including We won’t grow old together and Louie and a “Meeting around Pialat” is organized on Tuesday, June 29, in the presence of Sylvie Pialat.
Several tributes will also be paid to various directors, in their presence and with the possibility for festival-goers to (re) discover their feature films on the big screen. So Xavier Beauvois, including the last film Albatross will be in preview Sunday June 27, will present all of his films and will be the subject of a “Meeting” on June 28.
The composer Gabriel Yared will also be in the spotlight with the programming of several films that he has set to music, including Goodbye Bonaparte and The talented Mr. Ripley. He will also be giving a “Music Lesson” on Sunday July 4th. A tribute will also be paid to Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige during a “Meeting” on Thursday 1er July and the programming of their landmark films, including a preview Memory Box.
FEMA 2021 also gives pride of place to women. First by giving the opportunity to spend the night of Saturday July 3 with the actress Sigourney weaver, one of the greatest icons of Pop Culture, in five of his iconic films, including Ghostbusters and Working girl. And then by (re) discovering the films of six female directors revealed at the Critics’ Week, which celebrates its 60th anniversary, Since Otar left of Julie bertucelli, Serious of Julia ducourneau and You deserve a love of Hafzia Herzi. Chloe mazlo will come, for its part, to present in preview Under Alice’s Sky.
A Zoom is also made on the Stop-Motion, this technique which consists in giving the illusion of movement and life to objects, toys, articulated puppets and plasticine figurines filmed frame by frame. The essentials are thus programmed The strange Christmas of Mr. Jack of Henry selick and Fantastic Mr Fox of Wes anderson.
Finally, the Here and Elsewhere Category brings together 38 fictions and documentaries, films of a great diversity, favorites of the selectors and whose common point is to tell the present time and to bring together a fragmented world, by denouncing sometimes intolerable situations. This category generally gives pride of place to fictions and documentaries discovered in the official selection of the Cannes film festival … Which is held this year exceptionally for health reasons from July 6 to 17, just after FEMA.
About twenty filmmakers will come to present their films in preview, selected at Cannes in 2020 or at other prestigious festivals. So Kaouter Ben Hania, whose The man who sold his skin, the first Tunisian film nominated for an Oscar and whose main actor Yahya mahayni, who delivers an extraordinary performance, won the Orizzonti Prize for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. Canadian Pascal Plant will come and present Nadia, Butterfly and Bulgarian Kamen Kalev February, films both selected in 2020 at Cannes. We also look forward to seeing The translator, first feature film by the Syrians Rana kazkaz and Anas Khalaf, after their remarkable and chilling short film Mare Nostrum in 2018. Also worthy of note are two preview documentaries without the presence of their directors but already praised by numerous awards: The collective affair of Alexander Nanau and Dear friends of Andrei Konchalovsky.
In short, as usual, a beautiful and rich program! For more information, go to on the festival site.
Sylvie-Noëlle will be at FEMA for Le Blog du Cinéma!