Opening on Wednesday night, the 2012 Alliance Française French Festival gives Melburnians until the March 25 to sample some of the very best of French film on the big screen.

As usual, the program is highly eclectic. Showing more than 40 films, the festival boasts everything from romance (Audrey Tatou vehicle Delicacy) to provocative drama (American Translation and Early One Morning), to social commentary (17 Girls) and family-friendly fare (The War of the Buttons, Ducoboo, and the animated Tales of the Night).

Special events also abound, including the attendance of writer/director Mia Hansen-Love to answer questions following the March 15 screening of Goodbye, First Love, providing plenty of excuses to indulge in France’s famous food and wine as well as film.

Hosted across Melbourne’s Palace cinemas, the festival kicks off with a party and screening of Declaration of War at the Palace Como on March 7 and closes with drinks, canapés and a revisiting of Truffaut’s 1980 classic The Last Metro starring Gérard Depardieu on March 25.