The Sacramento French Film Festival offers six days of films and classic works that otherwise might never reach a big screen in Sacramento. Plus, there are often pastries and/or champagne. Here's a guide to the festival's 12th edition.
6-8 p.m. Opening-night reception
8:30 p.m. "Cloclo": Jérémie Renier ("L'Enfant") stars as the late French pop star Claude François, who sold tens of millions of records in Europe in the 1960s and '70s but remains virtually unknown in the United States.
11 a.m. "The Suitor": In this broad 1962 comedy, an emotionally underdeveloped man (Pierre Étaix) tries to leave his parents' nest and date women. Legal issues kept the films of actor- writer-director Étaix, now 92, out of circulation. They recently became available to the public again.
1:05 p.m. "Starbuck": The festival's first French Canadian film is a comedy about a man who discovers he fathered more than 500 children through his fertility-clinic donations years earlier. "Starbuck" director Ken Scott is making an English-language remake of his own film, called "Delivery Man," due later this year.
3:35 p.m. "Three Worlds": This "21 Grams"- esque drama follows the driver in a hit-and-run accident, a medical student who witnessed the crime and the wife of the comatose victim.
5:55 p.m. "Adieu Berthe": Bruno Podalydès directed and stars in this hilarious and very French comedy about a pharmacist with a dead grandmother, a wife and a mistress. The pharmacist would leave his wife if the prospect did not sadden him so much.
8:15 p.m. "The Wages of Fear": Yves Montand stars in Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic 1953 suspense film, in which a group of down-on-their-luck Europeans take the dangerous job of trucking nitroglycerine on South American roads. An American oil company has hired the men to help cap a well fire.
11:20 p.m. "Going Places": Every year, the festival offers erotic and/or exploitation films late at night or at midnight on Saturdays. This one's a 1974 dark comedy in which Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere play charmless criminals who harass women, steal purses and disregard all laws and ideas of decency. It's a 1970s male-journey movie in the vein of "Five Easy Pieces," but more gleefully nihilistic and misogynistic. Sometimes the humor's just dark and not comedy. But the young Depardieu is breathtaking.
Like all SFFF late-night exploitation movies, "Going Places" is for viewers 18 and older and will be followed by a light breakfast.
11 a.m. "Three Worlds"
1:20 p.m. "Starbuck"
3:50 p.m. "Aliyah": Drug dealer Alex (Pio Marmaï) leaves France for Tel Aviv, where he tries to remake his life and reconnect with his Jewish identity.
6 p.m. "The Suitor"
8:05 p.m. "Adieu Berthe"
6:15 p.m. "Delicacy": In this romantic comedy, longtime SFFF favorite Audrey Tautou (she's also in the closing-night drama "Térèse Desqueyroux") plays a widow who takes a chance on love with her Swedish co-worker.
8:45 p.m. "Le Grand Soir": A mattress salesman loses his job and joins his porcupine-haired, tattooed, middle-aged brother in assuming a punk attitude. God save the emperor? Comedy team Gustave de Kervern and Benoît Delépine wrote, directed and star as the brothers.
10 a.m. Breakfast with Belgian directorNicolas Guiot, who made the Cesar-winning short film "The Lobster's Cry."
10:30 a.m. Short film program. It includes "The Lobster's Cry," in which a young Russian girl just transplanted to France awaits her brother's return from the Chechen war, and "Bee," Folsom director Raphael Hitzke's story of an entomologist investigating the deaths of her father's honeybees. Guiot will speak after the shorts program.
12:50 p.m. "Delicacy"
3:15 p.m. "Louise Wimmer": Director Cyril Mennegun's intimate study of a destitute woman transfixes throughout because actress Corinne Masiero gives Louise a clear, unwavering personality. Prickly and proud, Louise engenders our sympathy by never seeking it. Divorced from her husband and her previously middle-class life and unwilling to ask her ex for help, Louise would be uncompromising if desperation did not interfere.
5:15 p.m. "The Dandelions": A 9-year-old girl finds liberation from her helicopter parents when she meets a free-wheeling new friend. (It's never too early to reject conformity.)
7:25 p.m. "In the House": The festival's first film by François Ozon, the clever, mystery-stoking stylist behind "Swimming Pool" and "8 Women." Here Fabrice Luchini plays a high school teacher enamored by the writing of a student who's enhancing true stories about a classmate's family. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the teacher's wife, who also gets caught up in the student's stories.
9:50 p.m. "Le Grand Soir"
Midnight "Aaltra": Before they made "La Grand Soir," collaborators de Kervern and Delépine made this 2004 dark comedy in which they play neighbors who hate and maim each other.
11 a.m. "In the House"
1:25 p.m. "Les Misérables": Considered one of the best screen adaptations of Victor Hugo's novel, this 1958 nonmusical stars the great Jean Gabin as hunted Jean Valjean. Chuck Zigman, author of a two-volume Gabin filmography will speak afterward.
5:45 p.m. "Louise Wimmer"
7:45 p.m. "Thérèse Desqueyroux": Tautou goes against type in a dramatic role as a free-spirited woman who finds herself unfulfilled after marrying for money. Director Claude Miller died after completing this 1920s period piece.
A closing-night party follows the film.
SACRAMENTO FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL
What: Six days of French-language films, with English subtitles
When: Today-Sunday and June 28-30
Where: Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento
Cost: Individual films: $11 or $10 for students, seniors and EFSac, Sacramento Jewish Film Festival, Alliance Française and Club Français members. Opening-night party and reception: $50. Multifilm passes start at $35. Closing night: $16/$15 for seniors, students and club members.
Information: (916) 455-9390, (916) 442-7378, www.sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org