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Sight & Sound presents Fantastique: The Dream Worlds of French Cinema

October-November 2018

Incorporating fantasy, horror and science fiction, the French fantastique genre has a weird and wonderful tradition of its own.

Introduction by Sight & Sound’s James Bell



“What pleases is what is terrible, gentle, and poetic”
Georges Franju

From the very first films by the Lumière brothers, French cinema has been perceived as tending towards the real; but there’s an alternative tradition that also stretches back to the dawn of cinema – that of the fantastique. It incorporates elements of fantasy, horror and science fiction into bizarre, atmospheric tales in which the unexplained and the supernatural intrude into reality. From the magical illusions of Georges Méliès, the fantastique flourished again during the German occupation, reached poetic heights in the films of Jean Cocteau and Georges Franju, found parallel expressions in Belgium, and was revitalised in the post-New Wave 1970s and beyond.

James Bell


See our screenings of Orphée.

Ciné Lumière dedicates a season to Jean Cocteau to accompany the release of Orphée from 22 October.

Pick up Sight & Sound’s November issue for more on this season.

Visit BFI Player for more fantastique films, and pick up Cocteau’s La belle et la bête now on BFI Blu-ray in cultural partnership with Le fantastique: A Curious Tour of the French Weird.

       Deep Focus

In cultural partnership with

Institut Francais


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