En français

Nino Castelnuovo and Catherine Deneuve sing their way through romance in <i>The Umbrellas of Cherbourg</i>.

Nino Castelnuovo and Catherine Deneuve sing their way through romance in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

Mon dieu! There are so many films packed into the three days of the third annual Sacramento French Film Festival, you will be hard pressed to see them all. It can be done, but only with the utmost dedication and a completely free weekend. Here’s how:

First, buy your all-festival pass for $58 at the door of the Crest Theatre on Friday night at 6 p.m. Then, tilt your beret to one side, slip your French phrase book into your pocket and join the festival’s opening reception. Spend two hours drinking wine and sampling cheese, fruit and patés from local eateries while enjoying live music and practicing your “bonsoir!” with other francophiles. View the opening film, the César-winning Se Souvenir des Belles Choses, and stick around for coffee and discussion afterward.

Return Saturday morning at 11 a.m. for a selection of contemporary French films that have yet to be distributed in the United States, including Une part du ciel and 17 fois Cécile Cassard. These films play concurrently with a quartet of 1960s French classics, like the adorable musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and François Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player.

Break for dinner at any nearby restaurant with good bread and wine, but be sure to return for the steamy midnight movie, Jean-Claude Brisseau’s Secret Things. This intense thriller features some of those lengthy, graphic sex scenes French cinema is rumored to entertain.

Sunday is another full day of cinéma français that closes with the awarding of the festival’s audience prize and a screening of The Battle of Algiers at 8:30 p.m.

All films are at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street. Admission to single films is $8.50, and a festival pass (without the opening reception) is $32. Visit www.afdesacramento.org/filmfest for a complete schedule and more information.