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Le Festival


The Festival

La Rochelle International Film Festival is a three-way love story between a city in early summer, a curious and enthusiastic public, and films from around the world.

Created in 1973, La Rochelle International Film Festival celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2017.
A record turnout was achieved in 2017, with 161 features and 40 shorts presented to 90,072 spectators over 347 showings.



The programme

Each year the festival prides itself on proposing a high quality, eclectic and balanced programme of geographically and thematically diverse films. We maintain our decision not to give prizes or have a jury in order to preserve a spirit of comparison rather than competition.


Tributes paid to guest filmmakers and/or actors in their presence. In addition to the artist’s feature films, the festival presents any documentaries, shorts and television films they have made or produced, as well as any films in which they have appeared.

  • 1998 - Agnès Varda (France), Paul Schrader (United States), etc.
  • 1999 - Micheline Presle (France), Robert Wise (United States), etc.
  • 2000 - Danièle Dubroux (France), Alejandro Jodorowsky (Chile / France), etc.
  • 2001 - Pedro Costa (Portugal), Serge Roullet (France), Béla Tarr (Hungary), Fruit Chan (Hong Kong), etc.
  • 2002 - Juliette Binoche (France), Francesco Rosi (Italy), Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania)
  • 2003 - Anja Breien (Norway), Goutam Ghose (India), Amos Gitai (Israel), Marlen Khutsiev (Russia), Nicolas Philibert (France)
  • 2004 - Béatrice Dalle (France), Dominique Cabrera (France), Tian Zhuangzhuang (China), Peter Watkins (Great Britain)
  • 2005 - Blake Edwards (United States), Anna Karina (France), Rithy Panh (Cambodia), Sembene Ousmane (Senegal), Liv Ullmann (Norway-Sweden)
  • 2006 - Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan), Bulle Ogier (France), Roman Polanski (France), the Brothers Quay (Great Britain)
  • 2007 - Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lehmuskallio (Finland), Jean-Paul Rappeneau (France), Ulrich Seidl (Austria), Isao Takahata (Japan)
  • 2008 - Danielle Arbid (France/Lebanon), Raymond Depardon (France), Werner Herzog (Germany), Mike Leigh (Great Britain), the Stévenin Family (France)
  • 2009 - Ramin Bahrani (United States/Iran), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey), Jacques Doillon (France), Bent Hamer (Norway)
  • 2010 - Sergey Dvortsevoy (Russia), Pierre Etaix (France), Peter Liechti (Switzerland), Lucian Pintilie (Romania), Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon)
  • 2011 - Bertrand Bonello (France), Jean-Claude Carrière (France), Denis Côté (Quebec), Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad), Kōji Yamamura (Japan)
  • 2012 - Anouk Aimée (France), Joao Canijo (Portugal), Miguel Gomes (Portugal), Pierre-Luc Granjon (France), Agnès Varda (France)
  • 2013 - Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (France/Italy), Andreas Dresen (Germany), José Luis Guerin (Spain), Heddy Honigmann (Netherlands), William Kentridge (South Africa), Jerry Lewis (United States)
  • 2014 - Jean-Jacques Andrien (Belgium), Pippo Delbono (Italy), Bruno Dumont (France), Hanna Schygulla (Germany)
  • 2015 - Olivier Assayas (France), Marco Bellocchio (Italy), Hou Hsiao-Hsien (China), the Makhmalbaf Family (Iran)
  • 2016 - Alain Guiraudie (France), Barbet Schroeder (Switzerland/France), Frederick Wiseman (United States)
  • 2017 - Laurent Cantet (France), Rubén Mendoza (Colombia), Volker Schlöndorff (Germany), Katsuya Tomita (Japan), Andrei Ujica (Romania)


Retrospectives dedicated to deceased actors and directors. Where possible, their entire back catalogue is shown, with priority given to forgotten works and films previously unseen in France.

  • 1998 - Henri Decoin (France)
  • 1999 - Orson Welles (United States)
  • 2000 - William Wyler (United States), Brigitte Helm (Germany/France/Great Britain)
  • 2001 - Joseph L. Mankiewicz (United States)
  • 2002 - Douglas Sirk (Germany/United States), Jacques Tati and Sophie Tatischeff (France)
  • 2003 - Guy Gilles (France), Anthony Mann (United States), Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (Germany)
  • 2004 - Charley Chase and Leo McCarey (United States), Vincente Minnelli (United States)
  • 2005 - Louise Brooks (United States), Michael Powell (Great Britain)
  • 2006 - John Huston (United States), Harold Lloyd (United States), Maurice Ronet (France)
  • 2007 - John Ford (United States), Delphine Seyrig (France), Eroticism and Silent Film
  • 2008 - Nicholas Ray (United States), Erich von Stroheim and Josef von Sternberg
  • 2009 - Joseph Losey (United States), Ladislas Starewitch (Russia/France), the Prévert Brothers (France), Hypnosis and Silent Film
  • 2010 - Elia Kazan (United States), Eric Rohmer (France), Greta Garbo (silent era)
  • 2011 - Buster Keaton (United States), David Lean (Great Britain)
  • 2012 - Benjamin Christensen (Denmark), Raoul Walsh (United States), Charlie Chaplin (United States), Teuvo Tulio (Finland)
  • 2013 - Max Linder (France), Billy Wilder (United States)
  • 2014 - The Golden Age of Soviet Silent Cinema, Howard Hawks (United States), In Memory of Bernadette Lafont, Long Live Czech Animation!
  • 2015 - Louis Feuillade and Musidora (France), Luchino Visconti (Italy), Alexander Mackendrick (United States /United Kingdom)
  • 2016 - Carl Theodor Dreyer (Denmark), Jean Vigo (France), Alberto Sordi (Italy)
  • 2017 - Andrei Tarkovski (Russia), Alfred Hitchcock (Great Britain), Michael Cacoyannis (Greece)


Discovery of young filmmakers as-yet unknown in France and little-known directors through the screening of their work in their presence.

  • 2003 – Latest Lights from German Cinema
  • 2004 - Vincent Pluss and New Swiss Cinema, Ali-Reza Amini (Iran), Andrew Kötting (Great Britain)
  • 2005 – From the East Side with Pawel Pawlikowski (Great Britain/Poland)
  • 2006 - Nikos Panayotopoulos (Greece), Dito Tsintsadze (Georgia/Germany)
  • 2007 – Contemporary Iranian Filmmakers
  • 2008 – The Effervescence of Belgian French-language Cinema
  • 2009 – Young Malaysian Filmmakers
  • 2010 – New Indian Cinema
  • 2011 – Mexican Documentaries
  • 2012 - Pema Tseden (China/Tibet)
  • 2013 – New Chilean Cinema
  • 2014 - Midi Z (Burma/Taiwan)
  • 2015 – Modern-day Georgia
  • 2016 - Yesim Ustaoglu and Turkish Women Directors
  • 2017 - Israelian Cineam Today

  • 2002 - Karel Zeman (Czech Republic)
  • 2005 - Jannik Hastrup (Denmark)
  • 2006 - Lotte Reiniger (Germany)
  • 2007 - Isao Takahata (Japan)
  • 2008 - Du praxinoloscope au cellulo : Segundo de Chomón, Émile Cohl / Paul Grimault & cie (France)
  • 2009 - Ladislas Starewitch (URSS/France)
  • 2011 - Kôji Yamamura (Japan) / Chapi-Chapo (cine concert, Polish shorts)
  • 2012 - Pierre-Luc Granjon & Folimage studio (France)
  • 2013 - William Kentridge (Afrique du Sud) / Animated painting : Florence Miailhe (France), Gianluigi Toccafondo (Italy)…
  • 2014 - Czech animation : Jiří Bárta, Jiri Trnka, Zdenek Miler, Břetislav Pojar
  • 2015 - Shanghai Animation Film Studio
  • 2016 - Animated documentary : Ari Folman (Israel), Marjane Satrapi (Iran), Anca Damian (Romania)…
  • 2017 - Tove Jansson & The Moomins (Finland) / Astrid Lindgren & Pippi Longstocking (Sweden)


A selection of recent releases – features and documentaries – from around the world, previously unseen in France.


Previews of a selection of rare films, either restored or re-released.

  • 2009 - Philippe Sarde, Le Sacre du Tympan & Matthieu Cheddid, Jean Guidoni
  • 2010 - Georges Delerue, Traffic Quintet
  • 2011 - Maurice Jarre, Chapi Chapo & les Petites musiques de pluie
  • 2012 - Francis Lai, TrioInvite, Angelo Debarre, Moreno, Tchavolo Schmitt, Ninine Garcia
  • 2013 - Jean Claude Vannier, Christine Ott & Tortsen Böttcher, French Cowboy & the One
  • 2014 - Bruno Fontaine, Laurent Petitgirard, Orval Carlos Sibelius
  • 2015 - Jean-Claude Petit, Aquaserge, Jozef Van Wissem
  • 2016 - Maurice Jaubert, Michel Legrand, Nicolas Courret et David Euverte, Karol Mossakowski
  • 2017 - Bruno Coulais, Jean-Michel Bernard, Arnaud Fleurent-Didier, HO99O9



Each year the festival holds special events that are sponsored by private or institutional partners. Screenings of previews or classic masterpieces enable our partners to invite their staff, clients and suppliers and treat them to a cocktail at the end of the film.

2017 - Conseil Départemental de la Charente Maritime, CCAS-CMCAS, Conseil Régional Nouvelle-Aquitaine


Screening of silent films restored by Lobster Films, accompanied by the pianist Serge Bromberg.
For more information, visit www.lobsterfilms.com


Each year the festival ends with an all-night screening of 5 thematically connected films, followed by breakfast at dawn on the Old Port.

  • 1998 – All-night with the Devil
  • 1999 – On the Rails
  • 2000 – On the Road
  • 2001 – Gothic Film (5 films by Terence Fisher – Great Britain)
  • 2002, 2003 – Film Noir
  • 2004 – Katharine Hepburn
  • 2005 – Marlon Brando
  • 2006 – Les Editions Fayard
  • 2007 – Robert Mitchum
  • 2008 – Marlene Dietrich
  • 2009 – Extreme Cinema from Asia
  • 2010 – Georges Delerue
  • 2011 – Unexpected Films from the Cinémathèque française
  • 2012 – Silvana Mangano
  • 2013 – Trains and Cinema
  • 2014 – Escape Films
  • 2015 – John Carpenter
  • 2016 – Forbidden Planets
  • 2017 – A night with Schwarzie!


Daily meet-and-greets hosted by a film critic or film specialist are organised with a guest director. These events, held in the Salle de Rencontres at La Coursive, are open to all and attract around 300 spectators.

Autograph sessions are also organised.

A photography exhibition is usually displayed in the main foyer of La Coursive.



La Rochelle International Film Festival has brought together prestigious actors, actresses and directors from France and overseas since 1973 :

Anouk Aimée, Chantal Akerman, Gianni Amelio, Theo Angelopoulos, Fernando Arrabal, Olivier Assayas, Rakshan Bani-Etemad, Giuseppe Bertolucci, Juliette Binoche, Jane Birkin, Gérard Blain, John Boorman, Sandrine Bonnaire, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Claudia Cardinale, Jean-Claude Carrière, Alain Cavalier, Pedro Costa, Béatrice Dalle, Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne, Jules Dassin, Manoel de Oliveira, Michel Deville, Bruno Dumont, Atom Egoyan, Stephen Frears, Amos Gitaï, Shohei Imamura, Otar Iosseliani, Joris Ivens, Miklós Jancsó, Pierre Jolivet, Niki Karimi, Anna Karina, Mika Kaurismäki, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Robert Kramer, Ken Loach, Dusan Makavejev, Carlo Mazzacurati, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jirí Menzel, Sarah Miles, Claude Miller, Avi Mograbi, João César Monteiro, Yolande Moreau, François Morel, Nanni Moretti, Bulle Ogier, Rithy Panh, Nico Papatakis, Michel Piccoli, Manuel Poirier, Roman Polanski, Micheline Presle, Frères Quay, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Satyajit Ray, Arturo Ripstein, Dino Risi, Francesco Rosi, Serge Roullet, Jacques Rozier, Raoul Ruiz, Dominique Sanda, Jerry Schatzberg, Daniel Schmid, Paul Schrader, Hanna Schygulla, Ettore Scola, Ousmane Sembene, Abderrahmane Sissako, Jerzy Skolimowski, Alexandre Sokourov, Fernando Solanas, Alexandra Stewart, Alain Tanner, Liv Ullmann, Agnès Varda, Andrzej Wajda, Peter Watkins, Peter Weir, Wim Wenders, Bo Widerberg, and many others.


The festival is attended by a remarkable group of film enthusiasts who have no hesitation in visiting La Rochelle in mid-summer to discover little-known films and enjoy retrospectives by legendary filmmakers.

Audience survey

To find out more about the people attending, the festival commissioned local marketing consultancy Les Nouveaux Armateurs to conduct an audience survey in 2013. Here is a summary of the results:

• Over half of the festival-goers (57%) come from the Poitou-Charentes region, 47% of them from La Rochelle itself.
• The second highest concentration (14.5%) comes from Île de France (Paris and the surrounding departments), including 10% from Paris. The remaining 30% comes from other parts of France.
• The public appreciates the ambience and convivial spirit of the festival, with 73% qualifying the atmosphere as excellent.
• Festival-goers have attended on average 10.2 of the past 41 editions, reflecting a great loyalty and attachment to the festival.
The festival-goers are dedicated film enthusiasts: 54% go to the cinema at least once a week, 23% several times a week.
• More than half of visitors (54%) stated that they had come to see the entire programme.
• Of those attending the festival from outside the region, 88% came to La Rochelle specifically for the film festival.
• The financial impact of the festival on local businesses is estimated at €1,180,000.



"A not-to-be-missed film-marathon!"

"Here’s why I love this festival: it’s full of discoveries and films you’ll never see elsewhere, it’s a great opportunity to meet people, and I enjoy spending the week dipping in and out of the programme.”

"Every year I put aside one week to spend in La Rochelle. During the festival I’m like a solo navigator; I see four films a day and keep three hours for enjoying the city."

July 2012: "I’m writing this email to thank you for what was undoubtedly the best holiday I’ve ever had. As a committed film enthusiast, I travelled from Belgium especially for the festival and didn’t regret it for a second. The intelligent programme alternating between old and new films, big names and up-coming directors, was beyond perfect. Thanks to your wonderful and enthusiastic team, I travelled around the world and came home with stars in my eyes and an irresistible desire to come back next year.”

July 2013: "End of a weekend. I watched five films with my children aged 13 and 10: two Billy Wilders, two Jerry Lewis’ and a Mokashi. We had a blast. And ice-cream between films. I told them, ‘This is the only place you’ll see these at a cinema.’ I can’t thank you enough.”

"If you want to make a film buff drool, just show them the programme at La Rochelle. The problem is, if they don’t come in person you’ll never be able to make them understand what the festival is all about. At first sight it’s a cornucopia of films. It’s the pleasure of visiting four or five countries or eras in one day, of listening to as many different languages. You revisit the classics, discover rare films and enjoy hotly-awaited previews. But this isn’t what counts most, as anyone who has ever visited the festival will tell you, whether they’re film enthusiasts, industry professionals, filmmakers, cinema managers, journalists or simply tourists. Here in La Rochelle, those who make the films, show the films and see them not only mingle together, but also share their views and passion more easily and naturally than at the big competitions. You see the same faces over the years; you forge friendships. There are people who live in the same town or Paris arrondissement but only ever meet and speak in La Rochelle. The time we spend at the festival is often too short: Shall we have dinner together? Wait, what film was I supposed to be seeing? Is it on at another time? If I leave tomorrow, what film will I be missing? What debate? What party? Which friend who is coming for three days? Which idol I’ve dreamed of meeting for the past 10 years?” N. T. Binh (film critic for Positif)


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