Are you ready for 4 days of cinematic magic in Cork?

As the Cork French Film Festival gets underway today, September 1, JOSSELIN LE GALL and VALÉRIE DAVID-MCGONNELL tell us about the highlights of the four-day event
Are you ready for 4 days of cinematic magic in Cork?

Josselin le Gall and Valérie David-McGonnell launching this years Cork French Film Festival. Photo Darragh Kane

THE 33rd Cork French Film Festival will kick-start in splendour aboard the Belem, a stunning 126-year-old French sailing ship. The four days of cinematic magic will sweep movie fans into a world of French-language culture, cuisine, intrigue and drama.

The Cork French Film Festival runs this year from September 1 to 4 at the Gate Cinema, with a fantastic 11 films. In addition, a 12th film will be screened for post-primary schools, on September 27 and 28.

This year’s edition comprises films by French, Belgian and Tunisian film makers, half of whom are female directors. All films are in French with English subtitles.

The Cork French Film Festival is organised by Alliance Française de Cork which proposes French classes for all ages and levels in Cork City. 

Alliance Française de Cork, which is part of an international network of 834 Alliances Françaises in 133 countries (including five in Ireland), will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this Autumn.

The festival will open with a film which is bound to delight lovers of French food: Délicieux is set right before the French Revolution in 1789 and sees Manceron, talented yet temperamental, sacked as head chef for the Duke of Chamfort. We follow him as he embarks on a revolution of his own, opening his first restaurant.

Délicieux speaks to Irish people’s long-standing devotion to French cuisine, and the Cork French Film Festival will throw on a culinary celebration to mark the opening night, with some tasty light bites kindly sponsored by The Imperial Hotel, Cameron Bakery and Hegarty’s Cheese.

Josselin le Gall and Valérie David-McGonnell launching this years Cork French Film Festival. Photo Darragh Kane
Josselin le Gall and Valérie David-McGonnell launching this years Cork French Film Festival. Photo Darragh Kane

A film that will appeal to those interested in subculture is Authentik (Suprêmes). In the underprivileged suburbs of Paris in the early nineties, a group of teens join to form a rap band as a way of expressing their emotions. As the hip-hop culture grows, it becomes the best means of revolt by the youth towards the police. 

As two young graffiti-artists turned musicians become the voice of their generation with their raw talent and defiant energy as real life rappers, they struggle to find their voice amongst racism, economic disparity, and police violence.

Délicieux and Authentik are just two of many excellent movies being shown at this year’s festival; the line-up has films with themes including drama, romance, and social justice. Also screening at The Gate Cinema will be the 1969 French political thriller Z, as well as The Sleeping Car Murders, another classic from the ‘60s, in homage to French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant who recently passed away.

We cannot think of a more fitting launch than aboard the Belem, a sailing ship steeped in history. Her colourful past would lend itself well to a movie plot - having escaped volcanic eruptions in the Caribbean, and serving as a luxury yacht for Hugh Grosvenor, the 2nd Duke of Westminster, she became the property of the Guinness Family in 1922, who renamed her the Fantôme II. The Hon. A. E. Guinness sailed the seven seas aboard the Fântome II in 1923 with his daughters Aileen, Maureen, and Oonagh. Having undergone more name changes and new ownerships, she finally came back to her home port in France as the Belem in January 1979. She is now owned by the Fondation Belem, flying the French flag and fully restored as a sail training ship. In 1984, the Belem obtained the title of French Historical Monument.

Cork is a Francophile city. There is a keen interest in different cultural aspects traditionally associated with France, such as food, fashion and cinema. 

The positive relationship between Ireland and France, its closest EU neighbour, has deep historical roots. Today, many Irish people travel to France for their holidays, and business ties between our two countries are strong and should continue to develop in this post-Brexit era.

French, which is an official language in 29 countries around the world, remains the most studied foreign language in schools in Ireland, and the Cork French Film Festival screenings for secondary schools are always very popular. This year, we are delighted to count two Francophone embassies among our sponsors.

The Cork French Film Festival brings a French-language cinematic experience to audiences in Cork, and every year cinema-lovers from all over Ireland travel to Cork to attend the festival. The Cork French Film Festival is not just for people who love and speak French, but for all cinephiles.

We are very grateful to our festival production team, Úna Feely and Mick Hannigan, for their fantastic work. We would also like to thank our sponsors and partners: the Embassy of France in Ireland, the Embassy of Belgium in Ireland, the Cork City Council / Arts Office, Amarenco, Eurotranslations, the Imperial Hotel, Cameron Bakery, Hegarty’s Cheese, the Gate Cinema, Institut Français, and the AIPLF (Irish Association of French-Language Teachers).

For more details about this year’s programme, please see

Tickets are available at the Gate Cinema and online:


Josselin Le Gall is Honorary Consul of France in Cork, Kerry and Waterford and Co-director of the Cork French Film Festival.

Valérie David-McGonnell is Co-director of the Cork French Film Festival and President of Alliance Française de Cork.

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