RVA French Film Festival

Every spring Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond get together and organize a huge French film festival. This year they screened over 15 full-length feature films and a dozen or so short films. Impressive! For each feature film they bring over either the director or a principal actor to talk about the film a bit before it starts, then do a question/answer session afterwards.

A pass for the festival is a little pricey at $115 ($65 for students), but you can also buy individual tickets 30 minutes before the film starts for $15. Another bonus is that the festival is held at the historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown. This was our first time seeing a movie there – gorgeous! The only downside is the seats must be original because, well, let’s just say you can feel the springs.

James and I decided to see Attila Marcel, and while it wasn’t our favorite French movie ever, it was actually quite good. Attila Marcel the story of a man in his 30s, Paul, who witnessed his parents death at the age of 2, and then became mute. He lives in Paris with his two aunts and meets an eccentric neighbor who helps him remember his parents and what happened to them. It sounds a bit sad, but the overall theme of the movie is quite happy. The main character, Guillaume Gouix, is also in the super popular (and terrifying) French TV series, Les Revenants. (If you’re into thriller/scifi things, I’ve heard they’re doing a similar series in the US called Resurrection.)

I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival!

Bonnes fêtes from the Feess Family

We weren’t able to make it back to Missouri again this year, so we continued our tradition of eating Chinese/Vietnamese. The only good place I could find that served pho was closed, so we headed to Full Kee Chinese Restaurant. It was packed! We waited at least an hour for our food! They said Christmas day is the busiest day of the year for them. Who knew!?

For Christmas this year James gave me a sampler set of Kusmi tea and I love it! The St. Petersburg blend instantly reminds me of our little Paris apartment and Prince Vladimir is a new favorite as well. Can’t wait to try the others! (Aren’t those tins adorable?)

Assortiment Les Russes

Our first homemade buche de Noel

When we lived in Paris we opted for ice cream bûche de Noël from Picard. Not necessarily traditional, but soooo yummy! This year we decided we’d bring a little of the tradition back and try our hand at making the homemade cake version.

I searched online and finally settled on this recipe, basically because it calls for a cream cheese filling instead of whipped cream. Oui! The cake isn’t all that hard to make, just a little time consuming. Do make sure to generously grease the pan and the waxed paper. I thought I’d gone a little overboard, and it actually could’ve used more!

For the filling, I would recommend a thick layer and going almost all the way to the edge. We left the suggested 1 inch and it seemed like a bit much. The cake itself isn’t that sweet (or moist) so I feel like having more of the filling really helps.

James and I made the cake together one morning, but he gets all of the decorating credit! Isn’t it amazing! He cut off a couple inches of one end to make the little stump and then used more cream cheese icing to cover the entire cake. He sprinkled on some powdered sugar and green sprinkles, and voila, parfait!