In the cold weeks of November a small country under the Alps, Slovenia, dedicated their cinemas to French classical genre the criminal films. In their biggest cultural event LIFFE, the film festival, two of the categories represented French crime films.
The festival has a long history and is quickly approaching its 30th anniversary. The film festival LIFFE is the biggest film festival in Slovenia. According to one of the biggest Slovenian newspaper Delo, they sell approximately 45. 000 tickets annually. In the times that visit to the cinemas is generally declining, this is very encouraging figure. On 28th LIFFE visitors could see 97 feature films and 17 short films from 8th to 19th of November.
This year France was represented by 15 films by different directors. The most important one being ‘’Le cercle rouge’’ or The Red Circle. To all the film enthusiasts the movie represents the peak of French criminal genre. The organizers of the festival even included the famous epigram of the film into their editorial. They accompanied the excerpt with explanation on how they incorporated the core essence if the film into their festival¸¸: ‘’If people have to meet, they meet, this is the fundamental “truth” of reality and fiction that will either be intertwined or excluded at this year’s Liffe.’’
‘’The best examples are French criminals – the first being classical, escapist, the other contemporary, socially critical edge – they are a beautiful illustration of the inexorable power of the genre expression that Liffe presents this year in all its glory.’’ This is how the program director Simon Popek explained their decision to dedicate two of the categories to French crime films. The first category Retro presents the old French criminal classics. And the second category Fokus pays a tribute to them. ‘’They incorporate the new socially critical themes but still have the feel of the old films.’’
‘’Multiplexes outside of France are likely to experience these films as too intellectual, French. Very few were displayed outside the francophone area, although they discuss current topics: xenophobia, the rise of the right, and the consequences of French colonialism. But these are fantastic movies that absolutely deserve to be shown. I am very pleased that you can also see the selection of a classic French criminal films at LIFFE,’’ the program director continues his thought about this year’s focus of the festival in an interview published in Delo.
Alongside the French crime films the festival also offered ‘’a prestigious fan of variations on the “red circle”, from painful contemplative meetings (Men do not cry) to anarchic genre rampage on the extreme edges (Let the corpses blaze), as well as hunger comedy (Fun), dreamy metaphorics (About body and soul), satirical surviving delirium (Bar) or political thriller (Snake with thousands of incisions).’’
Film festivals around the world are of great importance to the film industry. Especially for those creators with less financial means and with non-commercial products. In the era of declining number of cinema goers, they are a nice way to re-introduce the branches of the seventh art to the public and give smaller film makers a voice in the crowd of overflowing number of commercial American films. A nice example for that are the film festivals in Sarajevo and Kosovo.