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Thread: RendezVous with French Cinema 2010 at Loncoln Center

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    RendezVous with French Cinema 2010 at Lincoln Center

    The press screenings begin in around a week and I expect to attend and cover this series again, as well as, when possible, New Directors/New Films series and Film Comments Selections presentations overlapping with the event. Public screenings are from March 11-21. They will include "special in-person conversations with Michel Gondry and Thierry Fremiaux." Filmmakers and guests who're expected include Mona Achache, Lucas Belvaux, Stéphane Brizé, Christian Carion, Michel Gondry, Michel Hazanavicius, Christophe Honoré, Cédric Kahn, Nathan Miller, François Ozon, Laurent Perreau, Riad Sattouf, as well as Thierry Frémaux and celebrated actors/actresses Yvan Attal, Guillaume Canet, Jean Dujardin, Julie Gayet, Virginie Ledoyen and Chiara Mastroianni.

    FSLC page for New Directors/New Films 2010. March 24 through April 4 .
    FSLC page for Film Comment Selects. February 19 through March 4.

    Filmleaf's Festival Coverage thread for the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series begins here.



    Links to the reviews:

    8 Times Up (Xabia Molia 2010)
    Army of Crime, The (Robert Guédiguian 2009)
    Farewell (Christian Carion 2009)
    French Kissers, The (Riad Sattouf 2009)
    Hedghog, The (Mona Achache 2009)
    I'm Glad That My Mother Is Alive (Claude and Nathan Miller 2009)
    In the Beginning (Xavier Giannoli 2009)
    King of Escape, The (Alain Guiraudie 2009)
    Mademoiselle Chambon (Stéphane Brizé 2009)
    Making Plans for Léna (Christophe Honoré 2009)
    OSS 117: Lost in Rio (Michel Hazanavicius 2009)
    Rapt (Lucas Belvaux 2009)
    Regrets (Cédric Kahn 2009)
    Refuge, Le (François Ozon 2010)
    Restless (Laurent Perreau 2009)
    Thorn in the Heart, The (Michel Gondry 2010)
    Welcome (Philippe Lioret 2009)
    Wolberg Family, The (Axelle Ropert 2009)
    RENDEZ-VOUS 2010 SUMMARY: CK thumbnail reviews and picks


    .................................................. ............
    .................................................. ............CHIARA MASTROIANNI IN 'MAKING PLANS FOR LENA'

    . . . ............ Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2010, March 11-21


    . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..... . . . .... . ........ . . . . . . Films & descriptions

    *OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

    Farewell (L'affaire Farewell), Christian Carion, 2009, 113 min.
    Actor-directors Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet co-star in an absorbing true story about a KGB colonel who gives top-secret documents to an ordinary French businessman working in Russia, helping to hasten the end of the Cold War.

    8 Times Up (Huit Fois Debout), Xabi Molia, 2009, 103 min.
    When a woman (Julie Gayet) struggling to make ends meet gets evicted, she and her unemployed neighbor set up a makeshift camp in the forest in this seriocomic investigation of the pressures of modern society.

    French Kissers (Les Beaux Gosses), Riad Sattouf, 2009, 90 min.
    The French answer to American Pie and Superbad, this hilarious and touching coming-of-age comedy follows two geeky Brittany teens on an odyssey of heavy petting, premature ejaculation and first love.

    Hideaway (Le refuge), François Ozon, 2009, 88 min.
    An incisive character drama about a hardened ex-junkie who is visited by the brother of her late boyfriend while recovering at a beachside retreat.

    I'm Happy that My Mother is Alive (Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante), Claude Miller, Nathan Miller, 2009, 90 min.
    Given up for adoption as a toddler, Thomas becomes obsessed with tracking down his birth mother-but if he finds her, then what? Beautifully acted by a cast of unknowns, and based on a true story.

    In the Beginning (A l'origine), Xavier Giannoli, 2009, 120 min.
    François Cluzet gives a tour-de-force performance as a small-time conman who convinces an economically depressed town that he has come to resurrect a long-dormant highway construction project.

    Mademoiselle Chambon, Stéphane Brizé, 2009, 101 min.
    A delicate, moving tale that follows Jean (Vincent Lindon), a home contractor, as he finds himself increasingly attracted by the elegant charm of his son's homeroom school teacher (Sandrine Kiberlain).

    Making Plans for Lena (Non ma fille tu n'iras pas danser), Christophe Honoré, 2009, 105 min.
    Recently liberated from her job and husband, Lena (Chiara Mastroianni) heads home to Brittany for the holidays-only to find her self deluged with nonstop advice as to How To Be Happy.

    OSS 117 - Lost in Rio (OSS 117 - Rio ne répond plus), Michel Hazanavicius, 2009, 100 min.
    A delightful, madcap comedy that follows suave Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (Jean Dujardin)-better known as OSS 117- as he travels across Brazil with a charming Mossad agent on the trail a hidden, high-ranking Nazi.

    Rapt, Lucas Belvaux, 2009, 125 min.
    A millionaire businessman and playboy (Yvan Attal) is kidnapped and held for ransom in this fact-based, edge-of-your-seat nail-biter. But is his abduction a crime, or a case of just deserts?

    Regrets (Les Regrets), Cédric Kahn, 2009, 105 min.
    A married Paris architect (Yvan Attal) returns to his rural hometown to visit his dying mother, whereupon he rekindles his relationship with his former high-school girlfriend. A fascinating drama of romantic obsession.

    Restless (Le bel âge), Laurent Perreau, 2009, 97 min.
    Claire, a tomboyish teenager feeling the stirrings of first love, and her grandfather, Maurice, a former Resistance fighter, share a house but soon discover much else as well. A touching, fresh approach to the coming of age tale, with a superb performance by Michel Piccoli.

    The Army of Crime (L'armée du crime), Robert Guédiguian, 2009, 139 min.
    A taut, revealing thriller about the beginnings of the French Resistance, when the leaders as well as the foot soldiers of the movement were often foreigners-Poles, Jews, Armenians, Spaniards, Italians-and who often had as much to fear from French collaborators as they did the Germans. Starring Virginie Ledoyen.

    The Hedgehog (Le hérisson), Mona Achache, 2009, 100 min.
    A timely fable about Paloma, a young girl bent on ending it all before she becomes an adult, who learns a thing or two about life from her building's coarse, unkempt concierge (the wonderful Josiane Balasko). Based on Muriel Barbery's well-loved novel.

    The King of Escape (Le roi de l'évasion), Alain Guiraudie, 2009, 97 min.
    After coming to the rescue of a 16-year-old damsel in distress, a gay, middle-aged tractor salesman decides to give heterosexuality a try in this delightfully offbeat, mid-life crisis comedy.

    The Law (La loi/La legge), Jules Dassin, 1959, 126 min.
    Pitched between a romantic melodrama and a Fifties art film, this hugely entertaining look at a seaside Italian village wracked by barely contained tensions and jealousies features an extraordinary international all-star cast: Yves Montand, Gina Lollobrigida, Marcello Mastroianni, Melina Mercouri, Pierre Brasseur.

    The Thorn in the Heart (L'épine dans le coeur), Michel Gondry, 2009, 86 min.
    A filmmaker better know for his brilliant rendering of fantasy, Michel Gondry ventures into family history in this quietly affecting portrait of his aunt, school teacher Suzette Gondry, and her eccentric, problematic son, Jean-Yves.

    The Wolberg Family (La famille Wolberg), Axelle Ropert, 2009, 80 min.
    Meet Simon Wolberg-energetic, enthusiastic, articulate, the mayor of a provincial French town. But does his dedication to his work blind him to everything going on at home?

    White as Snow (Blanc comme neige), Christophe Blanc, 2010, 104 min.
    A film noir set against snowy northern landscapes, this impressive debut features stars François Cluzet and Olivier Gourmet as brothers caught up on the wrong side of a financial scam gone bad.

    "New French Short Films"
    Wonderful things can sometimes come in very small packages, as this prize-winning selection of provocative short films from France amply demonstrates. See tomorrow's auteurs today!

    (The above is all FSLC press release material, not my own descriptions, which will be found in the Festival Coverage section of Filmleaf. White as Snow has apparently been removed from the series slate.)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-17-2015 at 08:46 PM.

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    Restless and the Gondry doc are MIFF selections so I'll get a chance to watch them the week before the Rendez-Vous. If I remember correctly, reviews of both fall in the mildly favorable range.

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    I've seen
    L'Affaire Farewell/Farewell Christian Carion (mediocre; Allocine 50, good -)
    Mademoiselle Chambon Stéphane Brizé (delicate, nicely done; Allocine 58, good)

    Allociné ratings and a few comments:

    8 Times Up (Huit Fois Debout), Xabi Molia opens in Paris April 14.
    In the Beginning (A l'origine) Xavier Giannoli Allocine 69 (very, very good). I liked his The Singer very much.
    Farewell (L'affaire Farewell) Christian Carion Allocine 50 (good-)
    French Kissers (Les Beaux Gosses) Riad Sattouf, 52 Allocine stars (good)
    Hideaway (Le refuge),
    François Ozon Allocine 53 (good)
    I'm Happy that My Mother is Alive (Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante) (Claude Miller) Allocine 54 stars (good)
    Making Plans for Lena (Non ma fille tu n'iras pas danser), Christophe Honoré Allocine stars 73 (excellent). I am a fan of Honoré
    OSS 117 - Lost in Rio (OSS 117 - Rio ne répond plus), Michel Hazanavicius Allocine stars 88 (ecstatic)
    Rapt, Lucas Belvaux Allocine stars 58 (very good)
    Regrets (Les Regrets), Cédric Kahn Allocine 50 (good-)
    Restless (Le bel âge), Laurent Perreau Allocine 46 (fair)
    The Army of Crime (L'armée du crime), Robert Guédiguian Allocone 62 (very good)
    The Hedgehog (Le hérisson), Mona Achache Allocine 39 (very fair)
    The King of Escape (Le roi de l'évasion), Alain Guiraudie Allocine 41 (fair)
    The Law (La loi/La legge), Jules Dassin, 1959 No comments User review: "To be avoided."
    The Thorn in the Heart (L'épine dans le coeur), Michel Gondry opens in Paris April 21. VARIETY: "a lovely, minor-key ode," "moving, but far from revelatory," "slight and personal"
    The Wolberg Family (La famille Wolberg), Axelle Ropert Allocine 60 (very good)
    White as Snow (Blanc comme neige), Christophe Blanc opens in Paris March 17, 2010.


    So what emerges as the most obviously solid titles are Giannoli's In the Beginning, Honoré's Making Plans for Lena, Guédiguian's The Army of Crime, and Ropert's The Wolberg Family. Michel Hazanavicius's OSS 117 - Lost in Rio promises to be another slick and funny spy satire like the 2006 OSS 117 -- Cairo, Nest of Spies, both starring the talented Jean Dujardin. Plus there are some unknowns, Molia's 8 Times Up and Blanc's White As Snow.

    More shall be revealed.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-26-2010 at 08:38 PM.

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    February 16, 2010

    The screenings are just beginning. Unfortunately due to the holiday and bad weather the first one of Guérdiguians The Army of Crime had to be projected from a somewhat cut and visually poor quality screener DVD (not that projecting a DVD ever produces good quality). It's now announced that White As Snow (and possibly one other title?) will not be included in the pubic Rendez-Vous slate.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-16-2010 at 04:32 PM.

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    Robert Guérdiguian: The Army of Crime (2009)

    Robert Guérdiguian: The Army of Crime/L'Armée du crime (2009).
    A rousing, lengthy and straightforward political thriller about a key aspect of the French resistance during the Second Wold War, Robert Guérdiguin's new film focuses on the movement's early stages, when both leaders and foot soldiers made up an organization called the FTP-MOI: Francs-tireurs et partisans – main-d'œuvre immigrée or Partisans and Irregulars - Immigrant Work Force. It was made up of non-Party member communists or communist sympathizers of foreign, often Jewish, origin -- Spanish, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Italian, or, like the director himself, Armenian.

    For the Festival Coverage discussion go here:

    Robert Guérdiguian: The Army of Crime (2009)

    This film's weaknesses are its conventionality and unspectacular mise-en-scène; its strengths its fresh angle on the French resistance and engaging characters.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:04 PM.

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    Checking-in mainly to congratulate you on yet another year covering the RendezVous and to declare myself an avid reader of your reviews.

    THE THORN IN THE HEART and RESTLESS are playing at the MIFF. Maybe by then you have reviewed them so I can have a better idea as to whether I should see them too. This year I am covering the fest for Film International magazine. The contract has an exclusivity clause, meaning of course that I would have to write something entirely different for Filmleaf. Also I will be in Los Angeles for a cinema studies conference the week after the fest and other commitments follow thus my coverage this year will be (much) more concise.

    OSS 117 - Lost in Rio (OSS 117 - Rio ne répond plus), Michel Hazanavicius Allocine stars 88 (ecstatic)
    I don't know how much you value this spy spoof genre. I enjoyed the Cairo installment but up to a point. This is rather silly if fun fare, non?

    I see that Ozon has another film in the can. I receNtly watched RICKY. Did you watch it?

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    Thanks, good to have an "avid reader." Don't think I've seen Ricky. Congratulations on your new assignment, but i hope we don't lose your coverage of Miami. I'd suggest seeing different films so we don't overlap, unless they're wonderful of course, or you can't resist the sound of my descriptions. I have just written about Restless.

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    Cédric Kahn: Regrets (2009)

    Two films, both beautifully photographed by rising-star French cinematographer Céline Bozon, show that the French still know a lot about love.

    This one is a variety of "amour fou," love madness, an adulterous pair who run around as recklessly endangering themselves and others as criiminals in a thriller. It stars the well known actors (both also directors) Yvan Attal and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Here's the link to my Festival Coverage review of Filmleaf:

    Cédric Kahn: Regrets (2009)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:05 PM.

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    Laurent Perreau: Restless (2009)

    And the other film about love beginning with R in this year's Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is about the uneasy relationship between a teenage girl and her monumental, mysterious grandfather, and it features rising star Pauline Étienne and French film giant Michel Piccoli. It's called Restless. Link to Festival Coverage review:

    Laurent Perreau: Restless (2009)


    Like Regret, also handsomely photographed by Céline Bozon.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:07 PM.

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    Stéphane Brizé: Mademoiselle Chambon (2009)

    A beautiful little love story about a repressed, inarticulate mason and a shy schoolteacher. Brizé continues his series of subtle, emotionally muted character studies. With Vincent Lindon (La Moustache, Friday Night) and former wife Sandrine Kiberlain (Seventh Heaven, A Self-Made Hero) and Aure Atika (The Beat My Heart Skipped).

    Stéphane Brizé: Mademoiselle Chambon (2009)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:08 PM.

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    2 Avid READERS, Chris.

    I don't post so much anymore, but I lurk.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Lurk on, old pal. But also, post again, when you can.

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    Alain Guiraudie: The King of Escape (2009)

    Mid-life crisis of an overweight gay salesman in the South of France takes an odd turn when he rescues a luscious 16-year-old girl -- who falls in love with him.

    Alain Guiraudie: The King of Escape (2009)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:11 PM.

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    Michel Gondry: The Thorn in the Heart (2010)

    Fascinating but ultimately frustrating documentary by Gondry about his aunt Suzette, a wife and mother and schoolteacher in the Cévennes region of France for thirty-four years. A warm portrait, richly illustrated with home movies and present day documentation and interviews, the film touches on family issues but does not go into enough depth or provide full context. Taken by new US indie distributor Oscilloscope. April release in France.

    Michel Gondry: The Thorn in the Heart (2010
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:16 PM.

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    Michel Hazanavicius: OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)


    Michel Hazanavicius again collaborates brilliantly and with no loss of comic energy with his star Jean Dujardin and co-writer Jean-François Halin in another film spoofing the novels and films of De Gaulle era, Bond-like French super-spy and politically incorrect ladies'-man Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath AKA OSS 117.

    No, this isn't in my view just "silly" after a while. It's stylistically brilliant and continually fun, and in many ways this is more outrageous and droll than the first Haanaviciou parody.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2010 at 09:16 PM.

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