Beijing's film fans are in for a treat as a rare feast of classic French films comes to the capital.
The French Cinema Retrospective 2005 is being held at the Movie Theatre of the China Film Archive until March 30.
Jointly organized by the China Film Archive and the French Film Archive, the retrospective features 41 French masterpieces produced between 1895 and 2003 by 25 top French film artists.
It is the largest French cinema retrospective in China since 1986, and is part of the ongoing Year of France in China.
And it also marks the 110th and 100th anniversaries of French and Chinese cinema respectively.
Called "From the Classic to Modern," the film festival toured Hong Kong last month and will move to Shanghai on April 1, organizers say.
The films are presented in five categories - Eternal Classics, Mother of the New Wave, Achievements of the New Wave, Wild Youth, and Comedy and Others.
Some prominent French film directors have been invited to attend the Beijing screenings, including Agnes Varda, a film legend known as Mother of the French New Wave.
A similar film festival was held by the China Film Archive in 1985, during which 40 French films were shown in five Chinese cities.
From December 1984 to February 1985, an exhibition entitled "Retrospective of Chinese Cinema" was staged by the French Film Archive and Centre Pompidou in France, with 132 Chinese films shown in several French cities.
Between November 2003 and March 2004, 110 Chinese films were shown in France.
French cinema has been encouraged by generous state subsidies.
And the vigorous industry was producing about 140 films each year by the early 1990s.
Over the past few years, the French film industry has maintained its vitality producing at least 220 features per year, even in the face of overwhelming box office competition from Hollywood.
Chinese film buffs have developed a growing interest in French films since the early 1980s when the comedy "La Grande Vadrouille" was released in China.
The 1966 film is still regularly screened on some Chinese TV channels.