Festivals - Colcoa french festival : an excellent selection of french movies
Par Novias, Los Angeles, le 20 avril 2017
The Franco-American Cultural Fund is pleased to announce the dates for the 21st Anniversary of the COLCOA French Film Festival which will take place April 24 - May 2, 2017.
COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL, "9 Days of Premieres in Hollywood", was founded in 1997 by The Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique collaborative effort of the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, the Writers Guild of America West, and France’s Society of Authors Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM). COLCOA is also supported by l’Association des Auteurs-Réalisateurs-Producteurs (ARP), the Film and TV Office of the French Embassy in Los Angeles (French Consulate), the CNC, TVFI, and UNIFRANCE.
COLCOA is the acronym of “City of Light, City of Angels” the original name of an event celebrating relationships between filmmakers from two capital cities of cinema.
Since 2015, the festival’s name has officially become COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL. The festival takes place in April in the prestigious theaters of the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood (3 theaters (600, 160 and 37 seats), a 210 capacity lounge and a 1,500 capacity lobby).
The 21st Annual COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL COLCOA will have an exclusive program of 70+ French Films at this year's festival. This festival will take place in the Directors Guild of America - 7920 Sunset Blvd. - Los Angeles, CA 90046
COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is committed to promoting new French films in the U.S. and to showcasing in Hollywood the vitality and the diversity of French cinema and, since 2015, French television programs.
A bag of Marbles (Un sac de billes) (2017) (110mns)
Directed by: Christian Duguay
Written by: Alexandra Geismar, Jonathan Allouche, Benoît Guichard, Christian Duguay, Laurent Zeitoun
Cast: Dorian Le Clech (Joseph), Batyste Fleurial (Maurice), Patrick Bruel (Roman), Elsa Zylberstein (Anna), Bernard Campan (Ambroise Mancelier), Kev Adam (Ferdinand)
Synopsis: This heartwarming adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s enduring memoir tells the story of the Nazi occupation through the eyes of two young Jewish boys struggling to survive on their own. Paris, 1941: Joseph and Maurice are the sons of Roman, the local barber. At 10 and 12, the boys have so little understanding of the persecution of Jews that Joseph thinks nothing of swapping his yellow star for a bag of marbles. Despite their naiveté, Roman knows that their best chance to escape the Nazi roundup is to flee on their own to Vichy France, where their older brothers Albert and Henri have found safe haven. Always one false move from tragedy, these tenacious urchins survive on courage, ingenuity and more than a bit of cunning as they make their precarious way through France hoping to reunite with their family. More than anything, it’s their brotherly bond that gets them through their ordeals. Patrick Bruel resonates as the Jewish family patriarch Roman, while newcomers Dorian Le Clech and Batyste Fleurial register an almost agonizing vulnerability as hapless innocents trying to outrun the barbarous machinery of war.
Production Notes: When it comes to choosing subject matters for his films, writer/director Christian Duguay isn’t easily intimidated. After all, Joseph Joffo’s widely admired holocaust autobiography has sold more than 20 million copies over the years. On top of that, the book has been adapted once before, by the brilliant auteur Jacques Doillon in 1975, a film now regarded as an early masterpiece. But Duguay felt that the story still had enough untapped potential to warrant a version that more faithfully followed the book. Duguay was last represented at COLCOA in 2013 with his popular Jappeloup, about a friendship between a man and his miraculous show-jumping horse. A French Canadian, Duguay first made his mark directing Emmy and Golden Globe-winning television miniseries. His transition to the big screen began with genre films in Hollywood, including The Assignment (1997), starring Donald Sutherland and Ben Kingsley, and the Wesley Snipes actioner The Art of War (2000). Duguay pivoted to drama with the acclaimed miniseries Hitler, The Rise of Evil (2003), and Coco Chanel (2008), starring Shirley MacLaine and Malcolm McDowell.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4614/un-sac-de-billes
A kid (Le Fils de Jean ) (2016) (98mns)
Directed by: Philippe Lioret
Written by: Philippe Lioret, Natalie Carter
Cast: Pierre Deladonchamps (Mathieu), Gabriel Arcand (Pierre), Catherine de Léan (Bettina), Marie-Thérèse Fortin (Angie)
Synopsis : In this layered family drama, Stranger by the Lake revelation Pierre Deladonchamps delivers another sharply nuanced performance as Mathieu, a young Parisian divorcé who receives a call out of the blue. The caller tells Mathieu that his father, Jean, whom he has never known, has died and has left a package for him. Hoping to discover his roots, Mathieu decides to attend the funeral in Quebec. Upon arrival Mathieu is surprised to learn that his father died in a boating accident and that the body has still not been recovered. Jean’s best friend, a certain Dr. Pierre, convinces him to hide his true identity from Jean’s two adult sons from another mother. Mathieu’s precarious situation becomes even less manageable when, after the police call off the search, he joins his half-brothers as they continue to look for the body on their own. What they dredge up is mostly buried resentment and conflicting emotion. A Kid is a poignant examination of identity and paternity from one of contemporary French cinema’s most discerning eyes.
Productions Notes: Ten years before Stephen Spielberg’s The Terminal, writer/director Philippe Lioret exposed the hidden airport subculture of permanently stranded travelers with no legal standing in his feature debut Lost In Transit (1993), starring Jean Rochefort. Lioret, followed up with films starring favorite collaborators Jacques Gamblin and Sandrine Bonnaire, honing the lighter style he had already established. Lioret began his transition to realist drama with The Light (COLCOA 2005). His breakthrough film Welcome (COLCOA 2009 Audience Award winner), invited audiences to sympathize with the plight of illegal immigrants who risk everything for a better life in France. Despite the controversial subject, the film was nominated for ten César Awards, including best film, best director, and best screenplay. Today, Lioret is best known for his closely observed characters and thematically complex, impressionistic storytelling.
A tast of Ink (Compte tes blessures) (2017) (80mns)
Written and Directed by: Morgan Simon
Cast: Kévin Azaïs (Vincent), Monia Chokri (Julia), Nathan Willcocks (Hervé Vlanine), Julien Krug (Matthew)
Synopsis : This punchy but sensitive drama set in the Paris underground music scene marks the debut of a filmmaker to watch. On stage, post-punk singer Vincent (Azaïs) is an explosion of animal furies convulsing with emotional intensity. But back at home, with the mic unplugged, Vincent is more inclined to let his tattoos do all the talking. Since his mother died, Vincent’s feelings of alienation and disorientation have only increased. At 24, with a day job that won’t pay for his upkeep, he lives like roommates with his father Hervé. Everything changes when Hervé shacks up with a new girlfriend only a few years older than Vincent. Vincent’s anger, jealousy, and grief are soon roiling in a potent brew. But when his new “mother” becomes the object of his desire, the mix is ready to blow. Kévin Azaïs, who made an indelible impression with Love at First Fight (COLCOA 2015), brings a searing charisma to the role of Vincent.
Production notes: Winning the special mention of the jury at the 2016 San Sebastian International Film Festival, A Taste of Ink was the culmination of themes that writer/director Morgan Simon had been developing since his 2012 short American Football. The film, which revolved around a tattooed front man for a punk band, had already raised the question of alternative culture in a society where everything is commodified. His next short, Try To Die Young (2014) centered on a father/son conflict. With a background in biology, Simon enrolled in the writing department of La Femis. His script won the 2014 Prix Junior Screenplay Grand Prize, and was subsequently developed at the workshops of the Cannes Cinefondation Atelier, the Jerusalem International Film Lab, and Emergence, which gave him the opportunity to shoot some scenes and to meet actor Kévin Azaïs.
A woman’s life (Une Vie) (2016) (119mns)
Directed by: Stéphane Brizé
Written by: Stéphane Brizé, Florence Vignon
Cast: Judith Chemla (Jeanne), Jean-Pierre Darroussin (Le Baron), Yolande Moreau (La Baronne), Swann Arlaud (Julien), Nina Meurisse (Rosalie), Clotilde Hesme (Gilberte de Fourville)
Synopsis: Winner of the prestigious Prix Louis-Delluc for 2016, A Woman’s Life brings a formalistic rigor to Guy de Maupassant’s essential French novel Une Vie; the result is a rare costume drama that refuses to romanticize the world it depicts. Spanning the life of the aristocratic but essentially powerless Baroness Jeanne Le Perthius des Vauds, the saga begins in Normandy 1819, when Jeanne is leaving the convent where she has been raised and educated. Jeanne’s sheltered and idyllic upbringing sets her up for a lifetime of bitter disappointments beginning with an arranged marriage to Julien de Lamare. Her imagined prince charming quickly turns into a philandering ne’er-do-well after he gains control of Jeanne’s inheritance. Tight framing, elliptical scenes, and shifting timelines lend immediacy to this moving depiction of a woman boxed in by a repressive society organized first and foremost to preserve the privilege of a few highborn men. Judith Chemla’s meticulous performance as Jeanne earned a nomination for a 2017 Best Actress César Award.
Production Notes: Those who have followed the career of writer/director Stéphane Brizé might be surprised by his foray into period drama. His most recent films were the somber, Bergmanesque A Few Hours of Spring (COLCOA 2013) and the social realist drama Measure of a Man (2015), which boasted only one professional actor - repeat collaborator Vincent Lindon. But what might be a stylistic departure still contains common Brizé themes: the difficulties of romantic relationships and the seeming impossibility of communicating one’s deepest feelings to others. For the task of adapting Guy de Maupassant’s sprawling classic, Brizé reunited with co-writer Florence Vignon. The pair previously won a César Award for their adaptation of Eric Holder’s novel about forbidden love, Brizé’s fourth feature, Mademoiselle Chambon (COLCOA 2009). Among its many accolades, A Woman’s Life was awarded the coveted FIPRESCI Award at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.
Alibi.com (Alibi.com) (2017) (90mns)
Directed by: Philippe Lacheau
Written by: Philippe Lacheau, Julien Arruti, Pierre Dudan
Cast: Philippe Lacheau (Grégory Van Huffel), Élodie Fontan (Flo Martin) Julien Arruti (Augustin), Tarek Boudali (Mehdi), Nathalie Baye (Mme Martin), Didier Bourdon (M. Martin)
Synopsis : The comedy team behind the Babysitting franchise returns to COLCOA with another affable concoction of high-concept farce and below the belt gags. Grégory (Lacheau) is the founder of a startup providing a unique service. He and his associates Augustin and Medhi create and stage alibis for clients, mostly men, mostly who want to cheat, mostly on their wives and girlfriends. While striving for the lofty goal of semi-competence, the crew’s only code of conduct is summed up in the company motto: “a little lie is less harmful than the truth.” Naturally, Grégory has to keep his work a secret from his new girlfriend Flo, who happens to be repulsed by men who lie. But that’s only half his problem. When Grégory and Flo go to a resort town to meet her parents, he realizes that he knows the father. In fact, he’s one of Grégory’s clients. Alibi.com is a manic, take-no-prisoners excursion through a PC-free zone, so give your moral compass the afternoon off, and strap in for the ride.
Production Notes: With the popularity of his first solo directing effort, actor/co-writer/director Philippe Lacheau has staked solid ground in contemporary French comedy. The star and co-writer/co-director of the found-footage comedy hits Babysitting (COLCOA 2014) and its sequel All Gone South - Babysitting 2 (COLCOA 2016), Lacheau’s roots are in sketch comedy. Along with actor/co-writer Julien Arruti (Augustin) and actor Tarek Boudali (Medhi), Lacheau first gained notoriety as part of the French TV comedy troupe La Bande à Fifi. As Fifi, Lacheau was a host and presenter for FUN TV channel, and has appeared in many shows, notably Le Grand Journal de Canal+. Together with his usual writing partner Julien Arruti, Lacheau penned the script with newcomer Pierre Dudan. Lacheau plays the lead in Tarek Boudali’s directorial debut Mariage (blanc) pour tous, currently in post-production. A third installment of the Babysitting franchise is also in the works
Ares (Ares) (2016) (80mns)
Directed by: Jean-Patrick Benes
Written by: Jean-Patrick Benes, Allan Mauduit, Benjamin Dupas
Cast: Ola Rapace (Ares), Micha Lescot (Myosotis) Thierry Hancisse (Coach) Hélène Fillières (Altman),
Synopsis: This testosterone-fueled dystopian thriller is set in a demi-apocalyptic Paris of 2035. Disillusioned masses huddle in polluted shantytowns at the feet of monuments. Multi-national conglomerates control the government, including the police. As a diversion from the misery and poverty, much of the population turns to the Arena, a televised spectacle of ultraviolent gladiatorial contests. Competing pharmaceutical companies openly dope Arena fighters as a means of advertising their performance enhancing products. Ares, played by hunky Swede Ola Rapace (Skyfall), is a former contender long past his prime, but when his sister is arrested on trumped up charges, this badass with a heart of gold agrees to be a guinea pig for the latest wonder drug. If it works, he might win enough fights to buy her freedom. Only trouble is, no one has ever taken the drug and lived.
Production Notes: While the typical French filmmaker might shun pure genre, for his second feature writer/director Jean-Patrick Benes has embraced it. Looking at the economic crisis in Greece, Benes wondered what France would be like under similar circumstances. To create this devastated Paris on a restricted budget, Benes was quick to make use of every resource available to him, even filming in the chaos of Kiev’s Maidan occupation. Benes scored a surprise hit with his first feature, the cult comedy Ugly Melanie (2008) co-directed with Allan Mauduit. In 2012, the two created the canal+ comedy series Kabul Kitchen, about a French entrepreneur trying to succeed with a French restaurant in war-torn Kabul. For the Arès screenplay, Benes and Mauduit teamed up with the prolific series television writer Benjamin Dupas.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4624/alibi-com
Cease-fire (Cessez-le-feu) (2017) (103mns)
Written and Directed by: Emmanuel Courcol
Cast: Romain Duris (Georges Laffont), Céline Sallette (Hélène), Grégory Gadebois (Marcel Laffont), Julie-Marie Parmentier (Madeleine) Maryvonne Schiltz (Louise Laffont), Wabinlé Nabié (Diofo)
Synopsis: This classically elegant period drama explores the aftermath of war through the struggles of a French family to resume normal life after the traumas of WWI. Romain Duris puts on a rakish front as Georges Laffont, a man who has lost his way after horrific trench warfare leaves him emotionally scarred. It’s the beginning of the roaring 20s, but the era’s carefree decadence doesn’t touch the Laffonts. They are still reeling from the loss of an eldest son, gone missing on the field of battle, and the travails of Georges’ third brother, Marcel, who has returned from the war unable to speak or hear. Rather than confronting his own shellshock, Georges retreats to the Upper Volta colony of West Africa. There he roams the countryside recruiting laborers for Ghanaian plantations and spinning tales of the Great War with the aid of Diofo, another war survivor. But Georges’ aimless existence gets a course correction in the form of Marcel’s kindly and attractive sign language teacher Hélène.
Production Notes: Although this is the first feature by writer/director Emmanuel Courcol, his career in film spans some 25 years. After studying law, Courcol was bitten by the theater bug and spent several years acting for the stage. In the early 1990s he began to appear in feature films in secondary and supporting roles. A decade later he began a successful writing collaboration with director Philippe Lioret. They collaborated on four features, including Welcome (COLCOA 2009 Audience Award winner), for which both were nominated for a Best Original Screenplay César, along with Olivier Adam. For Courcol, whose grandfather fought in the trenches, the Great War is part of his own family story
Corporate (Corporate) (2016) (95mns)
Directed by: Nicolas Silhol
Written by: Nicolas Silhol, Nicolas Fleureau
Cast: Céline Sallette (Emilie Tesson-Hansen), Lambert Wilson (Stéphane Froncart),
Synopsis : This tightrope thriller takes a deep dive into the murky waters of corporate hierarchy to expose a high stakes game where the profit motive is eclipsed only by the prime directive: saving your own skin. Céline Sallette plays it cool as Emilie Tesson-Hansen, a woman who knows the rules of the game. As the head of Human Resources of a major conglomerate, she has mastered a calibrated femininity to match the ruthlessness and cold ambition expected from the higher-ups. When executive Stéphane Froncart (Lambert Wilson) devises a secret cost-cutting plan, he knows he can count on Emilie to implement it. What he doesn’t count on are the deadly consequences, and the resulting formal investigation into company practices launched by labor inspector Marie Borrel. Emilie recognizes herself in Marie, but where Emilie is guarded, Marie is spontaneous, even provocative. This spurs Emilie to question her role as a good company soldier, but as Stéphane tries to direct Marie’s probe in Emilie’s direction, she is torn between the welfare of her fellow employees and the prime directive.
Production Notes: This is the debut feature of writer/director Nicolas Silhol, who was first noticed for his 2009 short Tous les enfants s'appellent Dominique, winner of the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto, and Love Thyself, which screened in the Cannes Critics’ Week in 2010. The starting point for the story was a rash of suicides at France Telecom that scandalized Paris, but the social ramifications of the business world, especially the rigid hierarchies, always fascinated Sihol -- stemming from his father, who teaches at a business school and consults in Human Resources. Silhol developed the screenplay with newcomer Nicolas Fleureau.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4664/corporate
Dalida (Dalida) (2017) (124mns)
Written and directed by: Lisa Azuelos
Cast: Sveva Alviti (Dalida), Riccardo Scamarcio (Orlando), Jean-Paul Rouve (Lucien Morisse), Nicolas Duvauchelle (Richard Chanfray), Alessandro Borghi (Luigi Tenco)
Synopsis: In the tradition of French chanson a singer’s ability to sell the audience on the emotions of the song is everything. Few did this better than Dalida. Over the course of 30 years beginning in the 1950s, this Egypt-born Italian became a French idol with a guileless voice and sensual stage persona, selling 170 million records worldwide. But all that professional bliss came packaged with a fair amount of private torture. This glittery biopic faithfully chronicles the complexities of being a liberated woman in a less liberated era, as well as the ferocious passions of a life in which, despite all the triumphs, suicide became a recurring theme. Lavish recreations of Dalida’s most memorable performances, as well as cleverly edited archive material, distill her stylistic range, from her early incarnation as a yé-yé girl to the sequins and polyester of the disco diva years. Unknown Italian model turned actress, Sveva Alviti, breaks through with a star-making performance, landing both the privately insecure woman and the legendary chanteuse with uncanny aplomb.
Production Notes: Knowing that casting can be a big hurdle with biopic, writer/director Lisa Azuelos made a bold decision to go with an unknown. Her international search for the perfect lead took her as far as Greece and Italy. For some this might be an extreme approach, but this was a passion project for a filmmaker not especially known for tackling heavier material. Azuelos got her first foothold in the industry as a writer for television comedy. She hit pay dirt with her 2008 runaway hit LOL, Laughing Out Loud ®, a comedy that so neatly bottled the zeitgeist of a generation, she was invited to remake the feature in Hollywood in 2012. She followed that up with the Francois Cluzet and Sophie Marceau starring Quantum Love (COLCOA 2014). To squeeze the events of Dalida’s life into a 2-hour screenplay, Azuelos worked closely with writer Jacques Pessis, and Dalida’s brother and manager Orlando who with novelist Catherine Rihoit, penned a biography of his beloved sister in 2009.
Our review (French) : http://mulderville.net/critiques/4580/dalila
Elementary (Primaire) (2017) (105mns)
Directed by: Hélène Angel
Written by: Hélène Angel, Yann Coridian, Agnès de Sacy, Olivier Gorce
Cast: Sara Forestier (Florence Mautret), Vincent Elbaz (Mathieu), Patrick d'Assumçao (M. Sabatier), Guilaine Londez (Ms Duru), Olivia Côte (Marlène Peillard), Lucie Desclozeaux (Laure)
Synopsis : This earnest schoolyard drama probes the moral and ethical dilemmas a teacher faces when emotional entanglements put her on a collision course with her professional responsibilities. For Florence, teaching isn’t a job, it’s a calling. She is so devoted to her students that she sometimes forgets that she is a divorced mother with a son of her own for which to care. When Florence encounters Sacha, an angry and emotionally abandoned child, her protective instincts take over, and she makes it her mission to save him from both an abusive mother as well as the institutional indifference of foster care. But the teacher is forced to learn a thing or two when she meets Mathieu, the ex-boyfriend of Sacha’s mother. Impetuous, emotional, live-for-the-moment Mathieu may not be the best father figure for young Sacha, but those same traits make him romantically irresistible to Florence. Sara Forestier (Suzanne COLCOA 2014), whose star has steadily ascended since her César-winning turn in The Names of Love (2010), anchors the classroom scenes with a satisfying slice-of-life performance.
Production Notes: Although writer/director Hélène Angel is best known for social dramas like her Golden Leopard-winning debut, Skin of Man, Heart of Beast (1999), her films are remarkably eclectic. The Red Knight (2003) is a medieval fantasy starring Daniel Auteuil as an immortal knight on a mission for the Pope. Her 2007 Arté documentary Hôtel des longues peines examined the lives of women whose men are serving time in prison. Forbidden House (2011) slyly combines elements of psychological horror and ghost story. Angel was looking for a more immersive approach with Elementary. She spent two years in a grade school researching that universe. Angel wrote the screenplay with Yann Coridian, in collaboration with Agnès de Sacy and Chocolat co-writer Olivier Gorce.
Everyone’s life (Chacun sa vie) (2017) (113mns)
Directed by: Claude Lelouch
Written by: Claude Lelouch, Valérie Perrin, Grégoire Lacroix, Pierre Uytterhoeven
Cast: Éric Dupond-Moretti (The Judge), Johnny Hallyday (Johnny), Nadia Farès (Nadia), Jean Dujardin (Jean), Christopher Lambert (Antoine de Vidas ), Béatrice Dalle (Clémentine), Marianne Denicourt (Marianne), Mathilde Seigner (Mathilde)
Synopsis : Celebrating his 50-year career, director Claude Lelouch wanted to try something a little more daring and ambitious. So he gathered a veritable battalion of name actors in a provincial town in the Burgundy region. The result is a new film that playfully deconstructs narrative conventions while asking who among us has the moral right to sit in judgment of another? A jazz festival is swinging in the town of Beaune, but 12 men and 12 women have gathered for a different reason. A trial is taking place and they are here for the dispensation of justice, such as it is. Yet each of these judges, lawyers, or jurors--people from every walk of life--has a skeleton or two tucked in a closet: a billionaire who tries to seduce a tax inspector with a diamond necklace, an aging prostitute who confesses to a customer that he may play a role in the memoir she is writing, the real Johnny Hallyday who wants to press charges against a troublesome look-alike.
Production Notes: With a feature count fast approaching 50, writer/director Claude Lelouch remains a fixed point in the firmament of French cinema, a remarkable achievement given his reverence for chance and unpredictability on the set. According to first-time writing collaborator Grégoire Lacroix, the veteran director’s working motto is "accept the inevitable in order to be available for the unexpected." This approach served Lelouch well in 1966, when his sentimental love story, A Man and a Woman, rocketed him to international fame, along with a Palme d’Or and a Foreign Language Oscar. Although some have tended to brush Lelouch aside in recent years, his previous film Un + Une (COLCOA 2016) was a major success. Always looking for ways to translate his personal experience onto the screen, Lelouch was inspired this time by a court hearing he attended. From there, Lelouch developed the script with Lacroix, along with his longtime writing partner Pierre Uytterhoeven (with whom Lelouch shared a Best Screenplay Oscar in 1966), and his companion, Valérie Perrin.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4655/chacun-sa-vie
Farewell Bonaparte (Adieu Bonaparte ) (1985) (115mns)
Directed by: Youssef Chahine
Written by: Yousry Nasrallah, Youssef Chahine
Cast: Patrice Chéreau (Bonaparte), Michel Piccoli (Caffarelli), Mohsen Mohiedine (Aly), Hassan Hussein (The father), Mohsena Tewfik (The mother), Mohamad Hatef (Yehia)
Synopsis: COLCOA is pleased to present this beautifully restored historical fresco from Egypt’s most celebrated filmmaker, Youssef Chahine. In 1798, the Turks have retreated and Napoleon’s army occupies Egypt. Arriving with the science expedition, General Caffarelli (Piccoli) falls under the spell of Egypt’s exotic aromas and people, especially Aly and Yehia, two young and idealistic Egyptian brothers, both refugees in Cairo, and both fascinated by Caffarelli’s extravagance and worldliness. While Napoleon, in a ferocious turn by Patrice Chéreau, sells his military adventure as liberation, Aly and Yehia see it as trading one oppressor for another, and seek ways to resist. Caffarelli, torn between his passions and his duty, must decide whose side he is on. Alternating between historical landscape and intimate portraiture, Farewell Bonaparte paints a prophetic picture of Egypt’s strained relationship with the West.
Production Notes: In 1985, writer/director Youssef Chahine was at the peak of his career. Just two years before, he had been invited to Cannes as a jury member. Now he was back presenting his 28th film, a big-budget opus he’d hoped would consolidate his growing international reputation. Instead the film was met with boos and attacked as anti-French. Today, Chahine’s work is being reassessed, and history seems to have vindicated his most pessimistic intuitions about the Middle East. Chahine’s prolific career began at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he studied acting. Never shying from controversy, his films tackled topics from repressed homosexuality to globalization. Chahine was given a lifetime achievement award in 1997 at Cannes, 46 years after his first appearance there. He died in 2008. This restoration is part of an ambitious effort by partners including La Cinémathèque française, the CNC, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund to restore and conserve Chahine’s entire body of work.
Heaven will wait (Le Ciel attendra) (2016) (105mns)
Directed by: Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar
Written by: Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Emilie Frèche
Cast: Noémie Merlant (Sonia Bouzaria) Naomi Amarger (Mélanie Thenot), Sandrine Bonnaire (Catherine Bouzaria), Clotilde Courau (Sylvie), Zinedine Soualem (Samir Bouzaria)
Synopsis : With so many terrorist attacks in France over the last decade, radicalization has become the hot-button issue. Heaven Will Wait takes the topic head on with two disturbing stories about teenage girls heeding the siren call of ISIS. Sonia is just 17 when she is arrested for involvement in a planned jihadist attack. Angry at being prevented from joining her confederates in Syria, Sonia is placed under house arrest. A deprogrammer is called in to reintegrate her, but her shocked and devastated family fears she is lost forever. Then there’s Melanie, the studious, aspiring cellist, picture-perfect daughter. Her single-parent mother has no idea that she has fallen for her “prince”, an online ISIS recruiter posing as a trusted advisor and promised husband. A timely drama mixed with documentary-like sequences of deprogramming conducted by real-life indoctrination expert Dounia Bouzar, who heads an organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of radical Islamic recruitment in France.
Production Notes: On the heels of her successful Once In a Lifetime (COLCOA 2015 Audience and Critics Special Prizes) about a class of suburban students reflecting on the horrors of the Holocaust, writer/director Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar once again shows her gift for decoding the doubts and contradictions that come with being a teenager. Before moving to directing, Mention-Schaar found success as a producer, notably with Wah-Wah (2005) starring Gabrielle Byrne and Emily Watson, and Twice Upon a Time (COLCOA 2007) with Charlotte Rampling and Jean Rochefort . In 2012, her drama Ma première fois was nominated for a Best First Film César Award. That same year she directed the comedy, Bowling. From there, Mention-Schaar went looking for a more authentic approach that included documentary elements, and the use of non-actors to bring greater credibility to her storytelling.
Hedi (Hedi, un vent de liberté ) (2016) (93mns)
Written and directed by: Mohamed Ben Attia
Cast: Majd Mastoura (Hedi), Rym Ben Messaoud (Rim), Sabah Bouzouita (Baya), Hakim Boumessoudi (Ahmed)
Synopsis: Winner of the Best First Feature at 2016’s Berlinale, this sensitive, absorbing drama is set in the historic Islamic city of Kairouan, in contemporary Tunisia. Hedi is a dutiful young man working as a car salesman. Apart from his passion for drawing and comics, Hedi is passively going through the motions of a life that his domineering mother Baya has laid out for him. This includes an impending arranged marriage to the docile, incurious Khedija. Then, on a business trip he meets Rim, an activities coordinator for a resort hotel. Rim is everything Khedija is not: independent, ambitious, worldly, free-spirited. For the first time in his life, Hedi sees a possibility to escape the suffocating dictates of his mother, and to pursue his passions on his own terms. But can he turn his back on deep-seated tradition and family obligation? Like an entire generation of post-revolution Tunisians, Hedi is torn between the old forces of social convention and the heady, seductive pull of liberation. Majd Mastoura won Berlinale’s Silver Bear for his portrayal of the conflicted Hedi.
Production Notes: In 2011, Mohamed Ben Attia, a promising writer/director with several award-winning shorts under his belt, saw Tunisian president Ben Ali swept from power during the Jasmine Revolution. The ensuing era of social upheaval would become the inspiration for Hedi. Ben Attia has even compared the sullen melancholy of his main character to the prevailing mood in Tunisia. Ben Attia studied finance before sidestepping to a career in film. One of his first jobs was that of a salesman, just like Hedi. As with most of his short films, Hedi is a character-driven story. This is partly why the Dardennes brothers joined the project as producers. They were close advisors during the script development phase, and the finished film echoes the compassion and bare bones naturalism that has become a signature of their work.
Our review (French) : http://mulderville.net/critiques/4588/hedi-un-vent-de-libert
Ladies (De plus belle) (2017) (98mns)
Written and Directed by: Anne-Gaëlle Daval
Cast: Florence Foresti (Lucie), Mathieu Kassovitz (Clovis), Nicole Garcia (Dalila), Jonathan Cohen (Frédéric), Olivia Bonamy (Manon), Josée Drevon (Yvonne)
Synopsis: Cancer survival is an established trope in film, but this empathetic debut feature tells the less familiar story of a woman trying to recover from her recovery. Comedian Florence Foresti shakes off her brash persona to inhabit the role of Lucie, a skittish and insecure single mother. Lucie’s breast cancer is in remission, but she left her self-esteem back in a hospital bed. Naturally she is dumbfounded when local lothario Clovis (Kassovitz) shows interest of the romantic sort. She can’t understand how anyone could love her. Then she meets Dalila, a vivacious dance teacher who knows what to do. Dalila convinces Lucie to enroll in a dance class tailored to women like her, a class that will culminate in a display of public nudity. Dispensing equal doses of touching intimacy and acerbic humor, De Plus Belle throws down a convincing challenge to conventional standards of feminine beauty.
Production Notes: If the themes of positive body image and questioning notions of beauty seem ambitious for a first film perhaps it’s because writer/director Anne-Gaëlle Daval had come to them in a roundabout way. Initially, Daval was motivated to write a script that would allow her to create cabaret costumes. Since 2003, she has worked as costume designer for film and television. Daval was the costume supervisor for Kaamelott, the hit M6 comedy sendup of the King Arthur legend that ran from 2005 to 2009. After nearly 300 episodes of the show, she desperately wanted a break from all the armor and robes. But what began as a vehicle for cabaret soon evolved into a story about recovery and womanhood. Daval had expected to work with less established actors, so when Mathieu Kassovitz joined the cast, she rewrote the script to make his role more consequential.
Latest news fom The cosmos (Dernières nouvelles du cosmos) (2016) (85mns)
Written and Directed by: Julie Bertuccelli
Synopsis: At the age of 8, Hélène Nicolas was diagnosed with severe autism and placed in an institution. But this 2017 Best Documentary César nominated film is not about disability, but rather the discovery of a special ability. Dissatisfied with Hélène’s progress, her mother Véronique quits her job so that she can devote herself full time to Hélène’s care. Up to this point Hélène had been completely unable to communicate, but Véronique is astonished to discover that Hélène is able to place letters in a sequence, like a scrabble game, in order to make words. Not only that, but Hélène has a gift for language, creating surreal and playful poems with wit and insight. In the decade since Véronique made the discovery, Hélène has fashioned an alter ego for herself called Babouillec and published several books of poetry. These works, adapted to the stage by the prestigious Avignon International Theater Festival, are a window into a mischievous mind reveling in a liberated inner world, yet capable of striking observations about the outer world. While Hélène’s creative process is explored, it’s the glimpses of her relationship with her patient and dedicated mother that touch us most.
Production Notes : As a chronicler of contemporary French society, writer/director Julie Bertuccelli honed her craft in television, where she made documentaries on subjects ranging from the judicial system to the day-to-day workings of the giant Paris department store, Galleries Lafayette. In 2013 she struck a chord with audiences for School of Babel, an uplifting report on a special school for foreign students aimed at integrating them into French society. The film went on to be nominated for a Best Documentary César. Although known as a documentarian, Bertuccelli won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize in Cannes, and the César award for Best First Film for her 2003 feature debut Since Otar Left. Her second feature, The Tree (2010), a drama about family bereavement, earned Charlotte Gainsbourg a César nomination for best actress.
Le cercle rouge (Le cercle rouge) (1970) (150mns)
Written and directed by: Jean-Pierre Melville
Cast: Alain Delon (Corey), Bourvil (Inspector Mattéi), Gian Maria Volonté (Vogel), Yves Montand (Jansen), François Périer (Santi)
Synopsis : In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Jean-Pierre Melville, the filmmaker who transformed the crime thriller into high art, COLCOA is proud to present his most acclaimed picture, Le Cercle Rouge. With a formidable cast including Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and Bourvil, the boilerplate plot involves a suave criminal mastermind, a vicious escaped convict, a washed-out ex-cop with a knack for hitting bulls-eyes before he started hitting the bottle, and a relentlessly nasty, cat-loving detective methodically hunting them down before they can knock off a prominent jewelry store on Place Vendome. Ostensibly a heist movie, what elevates it is the Melvillian flourishes – finely-honed visuals, poignant fatalism, and an explicit code of honor and loyalty. In Melville’s universe, a Gauloise cigarette is as essential as a gun, and which side of the law you’re on is less important than whether or not you betray trust. Another signature touch, balletic precision, is on glorious display in the film’s 20-minute show-stopping robbery sequence. Presented with the World Premiere of Melville’s restored first film, 24 hours of a Clown’s Life.
Production Notes : 1970 was a very good year for writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville. Le Cercle Rouge had just crowned a string of successes including Le Samouraï (1967) and Army of Shadows (1969). Melville’s recent box-office triumph might have surprised some: after all, his films were often bleakly pessimistic, his characters could be grimly laconic, and their endeavors, no matter how heroic in effort, often came to pointless ends. Known mostly for his gangster epics like Bob le Flambeur (1955), Melville re-imagined the criminal world as a battleground of moral and philosophical ideas, much the same way the West had functioned in American cinema. In this arena, a man’s conduct was beyond the dictates of state and law, subject to something more essential within him. It is possible that Melville’s preoccupation with honor began in WWII, during which he fought in the French Resistance. For him, the resistance fighter and the gangster both live in a kind of underworld where loyalty is the primary currency. Sadly, despite the ringing kudos of 1970, Melville would go on to complete only one more film, Un Flic (1972), a lackluster effort that he would disown shortly before his death in 1973.
Like Crazy (Folles de joie) (2016) (116mns)
Directed by: Paolo Virzi
Written by: Paolo Virzi, Francesca Archibugi
Cast: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Beatrice Morandini Valdirana), Micaela Ramazzotti (Donatella Morelli), Bob Messini (Pierluigi Aitiani), Sergio Albelli (Torrigiani)
Synopsis : Actresses Valerie Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramozzotti are at the height of their games as comically mismatched escapees from a mental institution. The story begins in a stately Tuscan villa converted into a retreat for unstable women. Beatrice (Tedeschi) is an entitled, manically motor-mouthed compulsive liar. Donatella is a withdrawn depressive, deeply damaged by life. As much as Donatella dwells on the past, Beatrice lives for the moment, so when she sees an opportunity to get away from hospital staff, she seizes it, with Donatella in tow. The two hit the road on an outlaw odyssey that includes sexy cars, expensive dinners, fortunetellers, an ex-this and a former-that, and any manner of self-medicating, all without a Euro to scrounge between them. They aim to find happiness, but that turns out to be a tricky thing to nail down. Even a lighthearted jaunt in the Tuscan sun can take you to a deeper, more emotionally resonant destination.
Production Notes: Known for comedies built around unhappy situations, writer/director Paolo Virzi is a latter day torch-bearer for the Commedia all'italiana tradition. Virzi got his start as a screenwriter for features and television, often teaming up with childhood friend Francesco Bruni. The pair wrote Virzi’s debut feature, La bella vita, in 1994, which took the David di Donatello Award for Best New Director. Virzi has worked with both of his leading ladies before. Ramozzotti was awarded a Best Actress Donatello for her performance in Virzi’s The First Beautiful Thing (2010). The film would go on to be Italy’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards. Valerie Bruni Tedeschi played a high-society housewife in Human Capital (2014), Virzi’s adaptation of the Stephen Amidon novel about the 2008 financial crisis. Virzi’s first English language film, The Leisure Seeker, starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, is set for completion in 2017.
Little Gems (Les Pépites )
Our review (French) : http://mulderville.net/critiques/4446/folles-de-joie
Mr & Mrs Adelman (Monsieur et Madame Adelman) (2017) (120mns)
Directed by: Nicolas Bedos
Written by: Nicolas Bedos, Doria Tillier
Cast: Doria Tillier (Sarah Adelman), Nicolas Bedos (Victor Adelman), Denis Podalydès (The shrink), Antoine Gouy (The journalist), Christiane Millet (Mrs. de Richemont), Pierre Arditi (Claude de Richemont)
Synopsis : This feature debut from comedic bad boy Nicolas Bedos is a literate and funny celebration of couplehood. When famous author Victor Adelman dies, a journalist contacts his wife Sarah, hoping to get a scoop on the great writer’s life. Her account of their story together is a personal odyssey that begins with Sarah first convincing Victor, then his parents, that she is the right woman for him. As Victor the bright and promising lover turns into Victor the egocentric and anguished husband, Sarah doubles down on her devotion. She is his rock when times are tough, his muse when inspiration falters. But their marriage faces the biggest test when Victor’s true mistress, fame, enters the picture. Walking a razor’s edge between bitingly cynical and scathingly romantic, Mr. & Mrs. Adelman chronicles half a century of passions, ambitions, victories, secrets, and betrayals; a whimsical tribute to the madness and wisdom of the idea of sharing a life with someone. Former Canal+ “weather girl” Doria Tillier is exceptional in her film debut as the strong but enigmatic force behind the public figure.
Production Notes : Actor/writer/director Nicolas Bedos was quick off the starting blocks, landing a writing job at Canal+ at the age of 18. From there he began writing material for his father Guy Bedos, an iconic figure in Gallic stand-up comedy. Bedos came into his own as a writer in 2005 when his play Sortie de Scène was nominated for a Molière Award. Three more plays followed in rapid succession, along with more writing for television. Bedos emerged as a controversial public figure when he began performing provocative sketches satirizing French politics for television. In addition to his work on both sides of the camera, Bedos composed music for the film, along with Philippe Kelly.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4645/monsieur-et-madame-adelman
Not here to be loved (Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé) (2005) (93mns)
Directed by: Stéphane Brizé
Written by: Stéphane Brizé, Juliette Sales
Cast: Anne Consigny (Françoise "Fanfan" Rubion), Patrick Chesnais (Jean-Claude Delsart), Georges Wilson (Mr. Delsart), Lionel Abelanski (Thierry)
Synopsis : As part of our focus on filmmaker Stéphane Brizé, COLCOA is pleased to reprise his deft romantic drama, Not Here To Be Loved, presented at the festival as a U.S. Premiere in 2006. This deceptively simple story centers on Jean-Claude, a weary, middle-aged divorcee whose life isn’t exactly going anywhere. Circling the drain is more like it. As a court bailiff, his daily routine brings misery to others in the form of eviction notices and property seizures. His only outlet is the weekly rest home visit to his craggy, belligerent, ungrateful father, who had Jean-Claude’s thankless job before him. To top it all off, Jean-Claude’s doctor informs him that his health is failing. Looking for an exercise regimen, Jean-Claude signs up for tango lessons, where he meets the too young, too pretty, and too betrothed Françoise. Despite the obstacles, a romance blossoms, and the connection soon has them both re-thinking life’s possibilities. Georges Wilson (father of Lambert Wilson) brilliantly channels rage and fear at the ravages of old age as Jean-Claude’s father, while Patrick Chesnais and Anne Cosigny bring a heartrending chemistry to the screen. César nominations went out for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
Production Notes: Not Here To Be Loved was only the second feature of writer/director Stéphane Brizé, but already he was displaying qualities that would come to be associated with all of his work: authenticity and sensitivity coupled with light humor and strong poetic moments. Brizé’s emotionally stifled characters, like his protagonist Jean-Claude, elicit comparisons to filmmakers like Ken Loach and Bergman. While the framework of the story is rather familiar and straightforward, Brizé and his co-writer Juliette Sales focus our attention on the details that can lend performances a more layered meaning. Brizé’s first feature, Le Bleu des villes (1999), was a box office success; nevertheless, it was six years before his next film. From there, his output has been more regular, including his Claude Lelouch produced Entre Adultes (2006), his delicate tale of unexpected romance, Mademoiselle Chambon (COLCOA 2009), A Few Hours of Spring (COLCOA 2013), and Measure of a Man (2015). In conjunction with this screening, COLCOA will present the North American Premiere of Brizé’s latest film, A Woman’s Life (2016)
Open at night (Ouvert la nuit) (2017) (97mns)
Directed by: Édouard Baer
Written by: Édouard Baer, Benoît Graffin
Cast: Edouard Baer (Luigi), Sabrina Ouazani (Faeza), Audrey Tautou (Nawel), Grégory Gadebois (Marcel), Christophe Meynet (Chris), Michel Galabru (himself)
Synopsis : Taking flight where Martin Scorcese’s After Hours touched down, this jubilant comic vehicle for Édouard Baer doubles as an affectionate homage to the timeless allure of the City of Light. Baer’s swaggering buffoon persona is unleashed as Luigi: theater impresario by trade, irresistible charmer by aspiration, and inexhaustible scoundrel by nature. Over the next 24 hours, he’ll need to call on his most dubious qualities. On the eve of opening night, Luigi’s new play is teetering on financial collapse. His cast and crew threaten a walkout if they don’t get paid, and his temperamental Japanese director demands a live chimpanzee for the performance. Even his faithful assistant Nawal (Tautou) has deserted him, leaving Luigi to set off into the Parisian night with his no-nonsense intern Faeza. Their quest for a chimp and a chump takes them on a delirious tour of the city’s most absurdly charming offerings, from Bollywood shoots to African communes. When Luigi’s deeper fragilities surface, his recklessness escalates into a quixotic high wire act. But who will be there to catch him when he falls?
Productions Notes: Actor, radio host, comedian, César Awards MC, celebrity personality. With all of that going on it’s easy to overlook the fact that Édouard Baer has directed and written or co-written three feature films. After studying acting, Baer found success with Ariel Wizman co-hosting an offbeat show for Radio Nova. From there the two were conscripted as writers for the now legendary Canal+ satirical show Nulle Part Ailleurs. Baer began to appear before the camera with short sketches at the end of the show. In addition to acting in dozens of films including The Story Of My Life (COLCOA Audience Award winner 2005) and Hopefully (COLCOA 2016), Baer has performed in the theater, notably La Folle et Véritable Vie de Luigi Prizzoti, a music hall piece mixing cabaret and circus. Baer took his directorial bow with La bostella (2000), a comedy in which he plays a fictitious version of himself. His second feature Akoibon (2005) starred Jean Rochefort as the target of the mafia on an island full of oddballs and misfits. Baer wrote the script for Open At Night with writer Benoit Graffin, who is known for Priceless (COLCOA 2007).
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4611/ouvert-la-nuit
Playtime (Playtime) (1967) (124mns)
Directed by: Jacques Tati
Written by: Jacques Tati, Jacques Lagrange, Art Buchwal
Cast: Jacques Tati (M. Hulot), Barbara Dennek (Barbara), Jacqueline Lecome (Barbara’s friend), John Abbey (M. Lacs), Valérie Camille (M. Lacs’s assistant), Billy Kearns (M. Schultz)
Synopsis : On the occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary, COLCOA is pleased to present Playtime, Jacques Tati’s most inventive and ambitious film. Completed in 1967 after nearly three years in production, this was Tati’s droll response to Charles De Gaulle’s push to remake Paris into a modern city. The sparse plot unfolds in a series of six set pieces over a 24-hour period. American tourist Barbara and a certain bemused local, Monsieur Hulot, have several chance encounters. Barbara tries to discover authentic France in an homogenized city whose iconic monuments have been replaced by photographic simulations. Meanwhile, Hulot blunders through a sterile world of glass and steel, a traditionalist bull in the china shop of modernity. Daring in scope and concept, the film establishes a society regimented by soulless conformity, and then proceeds to break that down through a series of silly mishaps. For Tati, the sublime optimist, these moments of comic chaos and whimsy were the humanizing elements that make joyless dystopian futures bearable.
Production Notes: In 1958, writer/director Jacques Tati was riding a wave of success. His new film Mon Oncle won the Jury Prize at Cannes as well as an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The raincoat and long-stemmed pipe of his bungling alter ego Monsieur Hulot had become as iconic as the Tramp’s baggy trousers and bowler hat. But Hulot was a hindrance to Tati’s greater ambitions. He had a vision for a style of film that emphasized situation over character. He considered close-ups crude. He wanted to let the audience decide what was most deserving of their attention. His next picture was to be the fulfillment of those ambitions. The most expensive French film of its era, Playtime was nearly a decade in the making. Tati constructed entire city blocks of his modernist Paris from scratch, overseeing the tiniest of details. Every frame of the finished film bursts with visual pun so much so that some claim it requires several viewings to truly appreciate. A committed artist, Tati bet everything on his new venture. When the film proved a commercial failure, Tati was financially ruined. For a time, the film was infamous for having sunk Tati’s career. Today, it is celebrated as the most fully realized work of a remarkable visionary.
Polina (Polina, danser sa vie) (2016) (108mns)
Directed by: Angelin Preljocaj, Valérie Müller-Preljocaj
Written by: Valérie Müller-Preljocaj
Cast: Anastasia Shevtsova (Polina), Niels Schneider (Adrien), Juliette Binoche (Liria Elsaj), Veronika Zhovnytska (Polina as a child), Jérémie Bélingard
Synopsis : This love-letter to the world of ballet and dance follows a young dancer’s initiation into adulthood and her journey to find her place as an artist. Based on the popular Bastien Vivès graphic novel, this artful adaptation begins in Moscow, where the gifted Polina studies ballet under the dictatorial tutelage of Professor Bojinsky. His standards for technique border on the sadistic, but the pugnacious ballerina sticks it out and is rewarded with an opportunity to join the world famous Bolshoi. Polina’s years of grueling effort, not to mention the sacrifices of her parents, are put into jeopardy however, when she meets the charming French dancer Adrien and discovers contemporary dance. Transformed, Polina questions everything she has worked for. Given a chance to study under the famed modern-dance guru Liria Elsaj (Binoche), Polina must face the first major crossroads in her life. Graced with sublime dancing set-pieces performed by Jérémie Bélingard, star of the Paris National Opera, and mesmerizing newcomer Anastasia Shevtosa.
Production Notes: Husband and wife co-directors Angelin Preljocaj and Valérie Müller Preljocaj had been looking for a fiction project that incorporates dancing, so they jumped on the chance to adapt Polina. Valérie Müller Preljocaj, who wrote the adaption, directed a television documentary about Angelin that introduced her to the world of dance. Meanwhile, Angelin Preljocaj had directed the feature length Snow White in 2009, but that was more about Preljocaj’s choreography. This project would give them the chance to work together on a story that celebrates the daily life of a dancer. Angelin Preljocaj is intimately familiar with that life, having begun his career as a dancer before moving into modern choreography. His Ballet Preljocaj, based in Aix-en-Provence, is world renown. Valérie Müller-Preljocaj made her feature debut with the independent comedy Le monde de Fred (2014). The directing duo auditioned 700 dancers before they discovered Shevtsova at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.
R.A.I.D. special unit (RAID dingue) (2017) (105mns)
Directed by: Dany Boon
Written by: Dany Boon, Sarah Kaminski
Cast: Alice Pol (Johanna Pasquali), Dany Boon (Eugène Froissard), Michel Blanc (Jacques Pasquali), Yvan Attal (Viktor), Sabine Azéma (Marie-Caroline Dubarry), Patrick Mille (Edouard Dubarry)
Synopsis : The irrepressible Dany Boon dodges friendly fire in this comedic assault on the world of elite forces. Johanna loves her job as a cop, but the job doesn’t love her back. She is such a bungler that amongst her fellow officers she is considered a greater public menace than the criminals they arrest. Which is why everyone is so surprised when, after two previous failed attempts, she becomes the first woman to pass the entrance exam to join the R.A.I.D. elite intervention group. What Johanna doesn’t know is that her father has pulled some strings in the hopes that she will fail and take up a more suitable profession. What she will soon learn is that the agent she’s been paired with is Eugène Froissard (Boon), the most misogynistic taskmaster in R.A.I.D. Johanna would like nothing better than to prove herself by stopping a gang staging hold-ups around the city. But Eugène would like nothing better than to stop Johanna. Yvan Attal memorably goes for broke as Viktor, an outrageous Balkan terrorist.
Production Notes: With his fifth feature once again taking no prisoners at the box office in France, actor/writer/director Dany Boon seems to have hit full stride. As a performer, Boon once again serves up his house blend of silliness and surliness, but this time he takes a back seat to his Supercondriac (North American Premiere - COLCOA 2014) co-star Alice Pol. Boon broke through with his second feature Welcome to the Sticks (North American Premiere - COLCOA 2008). The film set new standards for crushing it at the box-office and established Boon as one of the brightest comic talents of his generation. Boon consolidated with his follow-up Nothing To Declare (North American Premiere - COLCOA 2011), in which he starred opposite Benoît Poelvoorde as border patrol guards waging a private turf war at the Franco-Belgian border. Boon penned the script for this latest film with co-writer Sarah Kaminsky, who also co-wrote Edouard Deluc’s upcoming Vincent Cassel-starrer Gaugin, currently in post-production.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4610/raid-dingue
Slack Bay (Ma Loute) (2016) (123mns)
Directed by: Bruno Dumont
Written by: Bruno Dumont
Cast: Fabrice Luchini (André Van Peteghem), Juliette Binoche (Aude Van Peteghem), Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Isabelle Van Peteghem), Jean-Luc Vincent (Christian Van Peteghem), Brandon Lavieville (Ma Loute Brufort), Raph (Billie Van Peteghem)
Synopsis : Nominated for a 2016 Palme d’Or and Best Film César, this savage yet oddly charming comedy of manners satirizes France’s class divide, giving Fabrice Luchini and Juliette Binoche a safe space to set new personal bests for O.T.T. zaniness. The scene: tourist season in Northern France’s crystalline Côte d’Opale in 1910, where windswept beaches are transformed into a promenade of petticoats and parasols. The crime: several well-heeled tourists have gone missing, wreaking havoc with social calendars across the bay, not to mention stumping detectives Laurel and Hardy, er, Machin and Malfoy. The brilliant deduction: the culprit has developed a taste for the rich. The suspects: the Bréfort brood, a family of roughneck locals scrounging tidepool mussels for a living. The ridiculous: the Van Peteghem clan, a menagerie of eccentric uppercrusters summering in Typhonium, their tomblike faux-Egyptian manor on the hill. The sublime: young Billie Van Peteghem, whose gender identity ebbs and flows, has taken an ill-advised shine to Bréfort spawn and resident tidewater scum, Ma Loute.
Production Notes: The first time that writer/director Bruno Dumont made a film about an incompetent detective hunting a killer in Northern France was in 1999, when his controversial Humanité won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes. That film bore all the hallmarks of his early work: grim, minimalistic, non-professional casts, and low budgets. Like his Prix Jean-Vigo winning first feature, The Life of Jesus (COLCOA 1998), most of Dumont’s films are set in northern France, where he taught philosophy before becoming a filmmaker. This harshly beautiful environment is the thread that binds much of Dumont’s otherwise eclectic oeuvre. In 2006, Dumont’s examination of the atrocities of war, Flanders (COLCOA 2007), earned a second Jury Grand Prize at Cannes. Ever the contrarian, Dumont sidestepped, criticizing modern religion with Hadewijch (2009) and Outside Satan (2011), before taking on a costume drama Camille Claudel 1915 (2013), his first film with a professional actor, Juliette Binoche. Dumont’s current fascination, comedy, began with his Arté mini-series Li'l Quinquin (2014).
Step by Step (Patients) (2017) (110mns)
Directed by: Grand Corps Malade, Mehdi Idir
Written by: Grand Corps Malade, Fadette Drouard
Cast: Pablo Pauly (Ben), Soufiane Guerrab (Farid), Moussa Mansaly (Toussaint), Nailia Harzoune (Samia), Franck Falise (Steeve)
Synopsis : A young man lies in a hospital bed. He can neither feel nor move his limbs. He can only stare at the ceiling. The nurses and doctors speak about him as if he weren’t present in the room. They are saying he will never walk again. Thus begins the travails of 20 year-old Ben, whose dreams are as broken as his spine. Based on the autobiography of French slam poet Fabien Marsaud, popularly known as Grand Corps Malade, this inspiring story recounts the hardships and the tears, as well as the ultimate victories of a life re-invented. Ben’s hopes of becoming a pro basketball player are dead in the water, but luckily, his sense of humor remains intact. Confined to a rehabilitation center with an assortment of fellow invalids, cripples, paras and quadras, or friends, as he eventually calls them, Ben makes his mind up to walk again. His patience will be put to the ultimate test, but support and even love will come in ways he never expected.
Production Notes : Although this is the feature debut of co-directors Mehdi Idir and Grand Corps Malade, they have plenty of experience working together. Idir began his career making music videos. His Paris By Light video was a YouTube hit that garnered international attention. Around that same time, Grand Corps Malade’s debut record Midi 20 was recognized with a Victoires de la musique award for album revelation of the year. Idir then directed a number of music videos for Grand Corps Malade. Idir’s first fiction short, Le Bout du Tunnel, is based on a song by Grand Corps Malade. The film experiments with the subjective camera style that would be so effective in Step by Step. The co-directors went to great lengths to bring authenticity to the film, shooting in the same rehabilitation center where Grand Corps Malade stayed, and casting disabled people in key roles.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4650/patients
Struggle for life (La loi de la jungle) (2016) (99mns)
Directed by: Antonin Peretjatko
Written by: Antonin Peretjatko, Frédéric Ciriez, Maud Ameline
Cast: Vincent Macaigne (Marc Châtaigne), Vimala Pons (Tarzan), Pascal Légitimus (Duplex), Mathieu Amalric (Galgaric), Fred Tousch (Friquelin), Rodolphe Pauly (Damien), Jean-Luc Bideau (Rosio)
Synopsis : Comic auteur Antonin Peretjatko takes his signature blend of absurdity and lyricism to the next level in this inventive satire inspired by globalization run amok. Snakes and tarantulas beware, there’s a true beast afoot in the jungle. “Guyaneige,” the first tropical indoor ski resort, is under construction in Guyana. Marc, a by-the-book trainee from the French Ministry of Standards, is dispatched to ensure that the building is up to code. Marc’s driver is an attractive young intern from the National Forestry Service who goes by the name of Tarzan, of course. On the way to the site, well, let’s just say mistakes are made, and the hapless pair find themselves getting back to nature, tropical rainforest style. As Marc and Tarzan encounter religious sects and mercenaries, sleep on tree branches above the forest canopy, dine on larvae, and ingest powerful aphrodisiacs, the spark of romance seems inevitable. Mathieu Almaric takes a screwball spin as a cigar-puffing neo-colonialist rogue.
Production Notes : For his second feature writer/director Antonin Peretjatko wanted to work again with actors Vimala Pons and Vincent Macaigne, whose stock has gone up since their star-making appearances in his first film La fille du 14 juillet. That film, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and was nominated for a Best First Feature César in 2014, was noted for its playful echoes of early 60s Nouvelle Vague films. In Struggle for Life, Peretjatko reaffirms this affinity with a sensibility not far removed from the more comic moments of Godard’s Pierrot le Fou. A graduate of the Louis Lumière School, Peretjatko has made a handful of short and medium length films, as well as the making-of for Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet and Rust and Bone. The germ for this film came to Peretjatko from the real construction of a bridge between Guyana and Brazil that Brazilians were forbidden to use because it didn’t meet European construction requirements.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4447/la-loi-de-la-jungle
Sweet dreams (Fais de beaux rêves) (2016) (134mns)
Directed by: Marco Bellocchio
Written by: Valia Santella, Edoardo Albinati, Marco Bellocchio
Cast: Valerio Mastandrea (Massimo), Bérénice Bejo (Elisa), Guido Caprino (Massimo’s father), Nicolò Cabras (Massimo as a child), Dario Dal Pero (Massimo as a teenager), Barbara Ronchi (Massimo’s mother), Emmanuelle Devos
Synopsis : In this intensely earnest memoir, Academy Award Nominee Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) sheds daylight on the gloomy existence of a man unable to grieve over the childhood loss of his mother. Based on the bestselling Italian autobiography by Massimo Gramellini, veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio takes us on a sprawling impressionistic journey beginning in the 1960s. Young Massimo bonds with his mother while dancing the twist, or snuggling on the sofa watching their favorite show Belphégor. These idyllic moments will come to haunt Massimo’s adult life when, at the age of 9, he is told that his mother has died of sudden heart failure. It doesn’t make sense to him, and although Massimo later finds success as a sports journalist, he remains coolly dispassionate and detached, unable to sustain a romantic relationship. After a particularly intense bout of his frequent panic attacks, Massimo seeks help and meets Elisa (Bejo). As a woman, Elisa’s beauty and emotional generosity reminds him of his mother. As a doctor, Elisa encourages him to confront the truth about his mother’s death.
Production Notes : After five decades of filmmaking, certain themes become apparent. For writer/director Marco Bellocchio, those themes are the dysfunctional family, the hypocrisies of the church, and maternal love. They were nascent in his 1965 debut feature Fists in His Pocket, and explored in greater depth in such films as In the Name of the Father (1971) and My Mother’s Smile (2002). Raised in a strict Catholic family, Bellochio became an outspoken atheist. He and his friend Pier Paolo Pasolini were the face of radical Italian cinema through the mid 1970s, and many of his early films were impassioned pleas for political change. A decade later, Bellochio’s work became more personal, without losing sight of the larger social implications. His meditation on male virility in the face of changing sexual mores, The Conviction (1991), won a Special Jury Prize at Berlin. Most recently, Bellochio’s ambitious, centuries-spanning Blood of My Blood (2015) was released to critical acclaim. Sweet Dreams premiered at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight.
The Confession (La Confession) (2017) (116mns)
Directed by: Nicolas Boukhrief
Written by: Nicolas Boukhrief
Cast: Romain Duris (Priest Léon Morin), Marine Vacth (Barny), Anne Le Ny (Christine Sangredin), Solène Rigot (Marion Lamiral), Amandine Dewasmes (Daniele Fouchet), Lucie Debay (Sabine) , Charlie Lefebvre (France)
Synopsis : Romain Duris and Marine Vacth (Young and Beautiful, COLCOA 2014) face off in this sober period drama with a new take on the Beatrix Beck novel Léon Morin, Pretre. Lying on her deathbed, Barny wishes to confess a pivotal love story she has kept secret for decades. It was during WWII, when she was living in a French village under German occupation. Into this claustrophobic hothouse, a priest arrives to replace a predecessor. Léon Morin is a charming young man, qualities that, with most of the village men away at war, soon has local hearts aflutter. With a husband in a German prison camp, Barny craves intimacy. But as an atheist and a committed communist, instead she challenges Léon’s faith in God and his apparent resignation under Nazi rule. When Léon invites her to discuss her convictions, she is slowly drawn into his orbit. Their battle of wits becomes a subtle pas de deux between two diametrically opposed positions. Is seduction the ultimate aim, or is seduction merely a means to persuade a worthy opponent? The Confession is a film about redemption that questions religion, politics, and ultimately certainty itself.
Production Notes : Having established his reputation in the genres of crime and thriller, writer/director Nicolas Boukhrief’s pivot to period drama surprised many. But judging from the film’s warm critical reception since its Paris release this March, the move was a welcome one. What the film shares with his grittier crime dramas such as Cash Truck (COLCOA 2004), or Sphynx (COLCOA 2010), is a carefully calibrated pacing as well as a commitment to the personal human angle within a story’s larger thematic context. Many will recall Boukhrief’s previous film Made in France (COLCOA 2016) about a homegrown jihadi extremist cell. The film’s scheduled release was delayed twice when the dates coincided with the Hebdo and Bataclan attacks. Boukhrief developed a passion for Beatrix Beck’s Goncourt-winning bestseller when he read it as a young man. He had been pitching the project to producers for nearly 20 years. The book was previously adapted in 1961 by Jean-Pierre Melville, starring Nouvelle Vague heartthrobs Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva.
The Eavesdropper (La Mécanique de l’ombre) (2017) (93mns)
Directed by: Thomas Kruithof
Written by: Thomas Kruithof, Yann Gozlan
Cast: François Cluzet (Duval), Denis Podalydès (Clément), Sami Bouajila (Labarthe), Simon Abkarian (Gerfaut), Alba Rohrwacher (Sara)
Synopsis : Cleverly evoking the era of analogue espionage while referencing more recent political events in France, this slow burning thriller takes a man wallowing on the outskirts of society and plunges him deep into the murky heart of power politics, high intrigue, and murder. François Cluzet plays Duval, former accountant, former alcoholic, current burnout with no job prospects. Desperate to get his life back on track, he accepts an unusual offer of employment. Everyday he is to come to a non-descript room, where he will transcribe cassette tapes of intercepted phone calls using an old typewriter. His mysterious employer Clément explains that this ensures that there will be no chance for the material to be digitally compromised. Most of the work is dehumanizing drudgery, but when the tapes reveal something Duval knows he shouldn’t know, he suddenly understands why he has been sworn to secrecy. It’s clear he’s a cog in someone’s machinations, but whose? As the walls begin to close in, Duval’s own paranoia is the only thing of which he can be certain.
Production Notes : One of a cadre of upcoming French directors taking their inspiration from the thriller genre, writer/director Thomas Kruithof displays a surprising flair for a freshman filmmaker who says film school consisted only of watching, reviewing and loving movies. Kruithof had a few false starts as a screenwriter before he became fascinated by the idea of writing a spy story from the point of view of the character that knows the least about the secret organization he’s part of. Although the far-right political subplot is timely, Kruithof took his inspiration from less recent events, such as the Lebanese hostage crisis of the 1980s. In addition to writing with collaborators Aurélie Valat and Marc Syrigas, Kruitoff developed the script with writer/director Yann Gozlan, known for his own throwback thriller, A Perfect Man (opening film COLCOA 2015
Our review (French) :
The lovers on the bridge (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf ) (1991) (125mns)
Written and Directed by: Léos Carax
Cast: Juliette Binoche (Michèle Stalens), Denis Lavant (Alex), Klaus Michael Gruber (Hans), Marion Stalens (Marion)
Synopsis : Léos Carax’s ecstatic ode to doomed romance stars Juliette Binoche and Denis Lavant as tramps courting love and disaster on the streets of Paris. Alex makes his home amid the construction chaos of Pont-Neuf, Paris’ oldest bridge, closed for renovation. He relies on a meager income from fire-breathing street performances to keep him on a steady supply of barbiturates and booze. Michèle is a young artist from a well-off family who leaves home in an apparent attempt to outrun the illness that is slowly making her go blind. Alex is immediately smitten with the distraught Michèle and invites her to share his squat on the bridge. Their romance seems to defy every obstacle, but his impulse to protect her eventually morphs into a dangerous and impulsive possessiveness. By turns luridly squalid and feverishly lyrical, The Lovers on the Bridge was the most expensive film in the history of French cinema at the time of its making.
Production Notes : After the production setbacks, and the controversy and harsh press that greeted the release of his opus, it would be eight years before writer/director Léos Carax would return to directing. Since that time he has only completed two features, Pola X (1999), and Holy Motors (2012). Back in 1991, however, Carax was the it-director, the visionary auteur behind Boy Meets Girl (1984) and the delirious romantic thriller Mauvais Sang (1986). Influenced by Jean Luc Godard and the New Wave, Carax is associated with the “cinéma du look” movement of the 1980s, characterized by a slick visual style that sometimes pushed plot and narrative into the background, and a tendency to feature young, socially marginalized central characters. The intensely visceral actor Denis Lavant is nearly synonymous with Carax, having starred in most of his films. “When I first saw Léos Carax’s Les amants du Pont-Neuf, I was gobsmacked. This smashing together of dirt-flecked neo-neo-realism and l’amour fou, of Maurice Pialat and Charlie Chaplin, of mad-circus, coked-up energy and silent-movie fantasy, felt and played like something at once timeless and utterly, wildly new. The movie opens by throwing you without warning into the least romantic Paris you can imagine. “I thought this was a love story”, you might wonder during the film’s brutal opening minutes. Then, before you know it, you’re atop one of the most grandiose sets in all French movie history: a fairy-tale Pont-Neuf, built for the movie in Montpellier, that will become the stage for fireworks both literal and emotional. Shot through with Carax’s particular brand of movie-mad romanticism, this is a picture of crazed contrasts: Juliette Binoche in full movie-star glory and an eye patch; a violent street thug who, as played by Denis Lavant, is also a Fred Astaire of acrobatic fire-breathing movement. It’s an action movie, a musical, an opera, and the closest thing modern movies have to the extreme swings and shifts of silent cinema — the cinema of Feuillade and Gance, the cinema echoed in Jean Vigo’s L’atalante. Above all else, it is, yes, a love story — and one of the few movies to truly capture what it feels like to be in love: the pain, the ecstasy, the sheer insanity. I’m jealous of anyone who gets to experience the roller-coaster that is Les amants du Pont-Neuf for the first time.” ~ writer/director Damien Chazelle
The Odyssey (L’odyssée) (2016) (123mns)
Directed by: Jérôme Salle
Written by: Jérôme Salle, Laurent Turner
Cast: Lambert Wilson (Jacques-Yves Cousteau), Pierre Niney (Philippe Cousteau), Audrey Tautou (Simone Melchior Cousteau), Laurent Lucas (Philippe Tailliez), Benjamin Lavernhe (Jean-Michel Cousteau)
Synopsis : During WWII Naval Commander Jacques Cousteau helped to develop a device that would enable divers to remain underwater for much longer than previously possible. His aqua-lung became a passport to a spectacular undersea world of wonder. This polished, big-budget biopic dives headlong into that extraordinary world, and charts the adventurous life of its most revered discoverer, a man the French consider a national treasure. Filming documentaries from his nomadic research vessel the Calypso, Cousteau enchanted an entire generation with the mysteries beneath the waves. With his iconic woolen red beanie, Cousteau, convincingly embodied by a slimmed down Lambert Wilson, quickly became a television icon. But a look behind that iconic mask reveals a more complex man whom many saw as deeply flawed. Cousteau scuttled his personal life with a secret second family, and cynically tethered his brand to Big Oil in a narcissistic grab for international fame. Pierre Niney (A Perfect man – COLCOA 2015, Yves Saint-Laurent) smolders as Philippe Cousteau, who hopes to win his father over to the cause of environmental activism.
Production Notes : With his debut feature Anthony Zimmer (2005), and the subsequent The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch (2008), writer/director Jérôme Salle planted his flag in action thriller territory. Many will be familiar with the hit remake of Anthony Zimmer, The Tourist (2010) starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Salle’s crime drama Zulu (2013) starred Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker as mismatched cops hunting a killer in Apartheid South Africa. Salle’s quest to preserve the legend and work of Cousteau has been an adventure in its own right, taking 5 months to film, from the frozen barrens of Antarctica to shark infested tropics. Salle wrote the screenplay with Laurent Turner, who was nominated for the Lumière Award for Best Screenplay for 9 Month Stretch (COLCOA 2014), and based on Capitaine de la Calypso by Calypso captain Albert Falco and Yves Paccalet, and My Father, The Captain: My Life with Jacques Cousteau by Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Our review (French) : http://www.mulderville.net/critiques/4550/odyssee-l
The Paris Opera (L’opéra) (2017) (110mns)
Directed by: Jean-Stéphane Bron
Cinematography: Blaise Harrison
Synopsis : The Paris Opera is not so much a peek behind the curtain of a French cultural institution as it is a peek on stage from behind the curtain. For a period of nearly two years, documentarian Jean-Stéphane Bron was given unprecedented access to both the creative and administrative machinery that runs the prestigious venue. Casting a lighter eye on the seriousness that is associated with the Paris Opera, this portrait of a close-knit creative community follows an impressive array of storylines, including the challenges facing newly appointed general director Stéphane Lissner, the growing pains of Russian newcomer Mikhail Timeshenko, casting a live bull for Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron, and a national labor strike that leads to some white-knuckle performances. In an increasingly fragmented world, this is a backstage pass to a universe where passionate, talented individuals come together for the common goal of staging a great work of art. Paris Opera Musical Director Philippe Jordan, will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Hall, during the week of the festival, April 28-30.
Production Notes : For Swiss documentarian Jean-Stéphane Bron, curiosity is part of his job description. Over the last two decades Bron’s curiosity has taken him to such unexpected places as Cleveland, where his Cleveland vs. Wall Street (2010) told the troubling story of an attorney who tried in vain to hold 21 banks responsible for the wave of foreclosures that racked the city. L'expérience Blocher (2013) is a prescient and intimate portrait of right-wing Swiss presidential candidate Christoph Blocher on the campaign trail. Fascinated with inner workings of government, Bron’s first film Connu de nos services (1997) follows Claude Muret, who discovers that as a youth he was under close surveillance by the Swiss government as part of a secret policy to monitor “malcontents”. In 2006, Bron made a detour into fiction with the comedy Mon frère se marie, about a Vietnamese mother who is in for a surprise when she decides to visit her son, who was adopted by a Swiss family 20 years earlier.
Tour de France (Tour de France)
Two is a family (Demain tout commence) (2016) (118mns)
Directed by: Hugo Gélin
Written by: Hugo Gélin, Mathieu Oullion, Jean-André Yerles
Cast: Omar Sy, Clémence Poésy, Gloria Colston
Synopsis : After mastering period pratfalls as a Belle Époch clown in last year’s Chocolat (opening film COLCOA 2016), Omar Sy tackles the ups and downs of modern fatherhood in this remake of the 2013 Mexican smash Instructions Not Included. Sy plays Sam, a party animal prowling the beaches of the French Riviera in constant search of hedonistic gratification. Sam’s only real commitment is to bachelorhood, but the anchor drops on his free floating days in the form of Gloria, an eight-month-old bundle of responsibilities dumped in his lap by former lover Kristen. Overwhelmed by the prospect of parenting, Sam’s first instinct is to follow Gloria’s mother back to London, and to hand the child back to her. When Kristen, played by Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacoure from the Harry Potter movies), proves hard to track down, Sam is forced to find a way to prolong his stay. A chance encounter brings him the opportunity he needs, and as time goes by Sam finds himself happily settling into a new life and his new role as a papa. But just as his future is looking sweet, the past returns, with aims to take it all away.
Production Notes : For his second feature, writer/director Hugo Gélin balances exuberant comedy with a touching human dimension. These same sensibilities were evident in his feature debut, Like Brothers (closing film COLCOA 2013), an amiable road movie that stuffed three men into one car with nothing in common but their love for the same woman. The film went on to be nominated for a Best First Film César Award. With actor relatives like Maria Schneider, and Manual and Fiona Gélin, it’s not surprising that Gélin began as a child actor before deciding that he felt more at home on the other side of the camera. Gélin adapted the French screenplay from the original Spanish version with collaborators Mathieu Oullion and the prolific television comedy writer Jean-André Yerles.
Why do they hate us ? (Pourquoi nous détestent-ils? ) (2016) (121mns)
Directed by: Lucien Jean-Baptiste, Amelle Chahbi, Alexandre Amiel
Synopsis : This three-part documentary takes an unflinching look at racism against blacks, Arabs, and Jews in France. Told from the perspective of three different directors, the films reflect their personal experiences with racism. Assembling remarkable archive material, testimonials from experts and journalists, as well as opinions from the far right, the trilogy aims to deconstruct the mechanisms of racist and anti-Semitic thought. In part one, comedian and actress Amelle Chahbi looks at the Maghrebian community in Paris to see if Arab integration is working, or if the situation is worse now than when she grew up. In part two, actor/writer/director Lucien Jean-Baptiste investigates how blacks are represented in French society with anthropologist Gilles Boëtsch, Lilian Thuram – a former soccer champion who has taken former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to task for racist remarks, and right wing radio’s Henry de Lesquen, who wants to ban what he calls “negro music.” Part three follows journalist and producer Alexandre Amiel as he meets with the head of an anti-Semitic newspaper in an attempt to understand the resurgence of Jewish prejudice in the wake of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.
Production Notes : Producer/director Alexandre Amiel was struck when shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attack, his 11 year-old son asked, “Why do they hate us Jews?” For Amiel, a veteran Canal+ reporter and founder of the news production company Camera Subjective, this was a call to action. His answer was to produce this series on racism in France. For a perspective on the Arab situation, Amiel conscripted director Amelle Chahbi, a comedian and actress of Arab origins who first found success as a member of the Jamel Comedy Club. Chahbi made her directorial debut in 2014 with the comedy feature Take-Away Romance. For a black perspective, Amiel brought in actor, screenwriter, and director Lucien Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste has been a successful actor and voice-dubbing artist for two decades. His comedy La première étoile (2009) was nominated for a Best First Film César. He has made three features since, always working in the comedy genre. His most recent film is He Even Has Your Eyes (2017).
Willy I (Willy 1er) (2016) (82mns)
Directed by: Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier, Hugo P. Thomas
Written by: Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier, Hugo P. Thomas
Synopsis : This tragicomic feature debut from no fewer than four co-directors casts non-actor Daniel Vannet as the hero in the story of his own life. Stocky, disheveled, illiterate and inarticulate, Willy has lived a humdrum existence; all 50 years of it with his parents in a provincial northern backwater. When his twin brother dies, Willy takes it upon himself to become a fully independent member of greater society, a journey that will take him as far and wide as the neighboring village. If Willy endures, it is not because he is extraordinary, but because he struggles so sincerely to become ordinary -- an apartment, a scooter, and some friends -- Willy wants it all. Thus begins this sweetly melancholic social misfit’s late initiation into adulthood. Along the way he encounters another Willy, a young man also living on the margins, but for very different reasons. At once cruel and sensitive, sentimental and squalid, Willy I emerges finally as a delicate rumination on otherness and social conformity.
Production Notes : In 2014 co-writers/co-directors Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier, and Hugo P. Thomas were enrolled in Luc Besson’s film academy, Ecole de la Cité. Assigned the task of making a short in 48 hours, the four formed a team, and have been working together since. While watching a television program about illiteracy, they saw Daniel Vannet, who had learned to read at the age of 45. Struck by his gentle humor and determination, they decided to meet him. Vannet acted in two of the quartet’s shorts, and received an award at the Clermont Ferrand Festival for his performance in Perraut La Fontaine Mon Cul! (2015). From there, the four directors developed a feature script inspired by Vannet’s life. The directing ensemble insists that the director’s chair is shared equally at all times. A standout in Cannes’ 2016 indie sidebar ACID, WiIly I went on to take the Prix d'Ornano-Valenti for outstanding first film at the 2016 Deauville American Film Festival.
You Choose (L’Embarras du choix)
Directed by: Eric Lavaine
Written by: Laure Hennequart, Laurent Turner, Eric Lavaine
Cast: Alexandra Lamy (Juliette), Arnaud Ducret (Étienne), Jamie Bamber (Paul), Anne Marivin (Joelle), Sabrina Ouazani (Sonia), Jérôme Commandeur (Philippe)
Synopsis : This breezy confection is the ideal vehicle for actor Alexandra Lamy’s comic madness. Juliette has perfected the art of indecision. At the age of 40, she defers to her father, or her two besties, Joëlle and Sonia, for all of life’s questions, from what to eat for lunch to what to do for a living. When her exasperated fiancé dumps her, Joëlle and Sonia decide that the best thing for her to do is find a new beau immediately. Juliette leans into the task at hand, and is soon rewarded with Etienne, a charming foodie with a well-equipped kitchen. Then disaster strikes, in the form of a Scotsman named Paul. With his lean profile and fat wallet, Paul is every woman’s idea of a catch. To make matters worse, both men make proposals of marriage. When her usual advisors refuse to make the choice for her, Juliette has only one choice left: stall, stall, stall.
Production Notes : A comedy specialist, writer/director Eric Lavaine has been making steady inroads into the mainstream with each successive picture. He first stamped his name on the map in 2006 with Poltergay, his irreverent parody of Poltergeist, starring Clovis Cornillac. Lavaine followed up with two successes; Bienvenue à bord (2011), and Barbecue (2014) starring Lambert Wilson. Then he struck a rich vein of comedy gold in 2016 with Back To Mom’s, which featured Josiane Balasko and Alexandra Lamy as a mother and her 40-year-old daughter who have to learn to get along when they are forced to live together once again. Lavaine, who began his career writing sketches for Les guignols de l'info, has scripted most of his films with writing partner Héctor Cabello Reyes, but for this outing he worked with Laurent Turner (known for 9 Months Stretch and Radin.
Big thanks to Boris Colletier (Mulder) our French editor-in-chief
Official website : http://www.colcoa.org/