COLCOA Film Festival by Film Critic Jean Oppenheimer


If you love French cinema, the Directors Guild of America is the place to be this
week, as the 18th annual City of Lights, City of Angels (COLCOA) Film Festival gets underway. The festival, which runs from April 21st through the 28th, will be screening a total of 61 features, documentaries and shorts this year, the majority of which opened in France during the past calendar year. Although some of these films already have American distribution, many will never be released in the U.S. This year’s program includes new films from directors Claude Lelouch, Francois Ozon, Cédric Klapisch, Catherine Breillat and Roman Polanski –-as well as restored classics from Henri-Georges Clouzot (1942’s L’Assassin Habite au 21), René Clement (1960’s Purple Noon) and Jean Cocteau (the incomparable 1946 film, La Belle et le Bete).

COLCOA is remarkable not only for the quality of the films that screen but also for the number of French directors, producers and actors who show up to support their films. Most screenings are followed by interviews with filmmakers and cast members, and panel discussions called Happy Hour Talks are held every afternoon. COLCOA is also notable for how relaxed and intimate it is. Unlike so many film festivals, there is no hierarchy. You don’t have to be an A-list player to talk to the filmmakers and actors. Everybody is approachable.

For information about the program and how to buy tickets, visit