With the world’s eyes on France in yet another controversial election, it’s nice to get back to the basics of what we all love about France – French cinema, culture and food. No better place to see that displayed than at Monday’s Opening Night celebration of the COLCOA French Film Festival in Hollywood. Celebrating its 21st edition, COLCOA, which stands for City of Lights, City of Angels, is a festival that celebrates French media by showcasing much the year’s best.

To launch the festival, the program began with a cocktail hour consisting of French wine, Champagne de L’Argentaine and other savory delicacies from L.A.'s fine French restaurants like Chez Prunette, French Market Café, K-Zo, Le Petit Paris, Luxe, Spring, Sweet Temptations and Taix.

Let’s just say festivalgoers were well sated and cheery as they headed into the Renoir and Truffaut Theatres to catch the North American Premiere of writer/director Claude Lelouch’s newest film, “Everyone’s Life” (“Chacun sa vie”).

The French classic Melville's ‘A Day in a Clown’s Life’

Before the Feature presentation, Festival Executive Producer & Artistic Director Francois Truffart opened the event by welcoming the public, the event’s artists, and sponsors. He also announced the screening the World Premiere of the restored French classic short, “A Day in a Clown’s Life” (1946), written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville (“Le Cercle Rouge,” “Bob le Flambeur”). This delightful narrated short follows a day in the life of acclaimed clown Beby between shows at the Circus Medrano. We tag along with Beby at his performance onstage to backstage, to his home and wife, and then morning neighborhood strolls with his clown partner Maiss, and his dog Swing.

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France’s finest assemble in Lelouch’s ‘Everyone’s Life’

For the main event, which honors his fifty years in cinema, Academy Award-winning Claude Lelouch (“A Man and a Woman”) lined up fifty French actors for his latest intricate examination of French morals. Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), French favorite Johnny Hallyday, Christopher Lambert, Beatrice Dalle, Mathilde Seigner, Nadia Fares, are just a few who grace the screen.

Set in the town of Beaune in the Burgundy region during a jazz festival, the film is bookended with a trial of sort and asks who has the right to judge as we examine the inner-life of the participants. Weaving jazz through the narrative is a neat mirroring of deconstruction for both music and story. Attending the performance was Lelouch, his wife and co-writer Valerie Perrin, and stars Johnny Hallyday and Nadia Fares.

COLCOA, a partnership between Hollywood and France

From April 24 through May 2, this nine-day festival will showcase a record 82-programs comprised of feature films, documentaries, classics, shorts, television series and web series at the Directors Guild of America.

Considered the World’s largest festival solely devoted to French media, the festival is sponsored by the Franco-American Cultural Fund in partnership with the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, the Writers Guild West, and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music, to name a few. Basically, COLCOA in the heart of Hollywood is the place to be for all Francophiles and lovers of French cinema (or cinema in general).