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Thread: Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2017

  1. #16
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    ODYSSEY/L'ODYSSÉE (Jérôme Salle 2016)

    For those who are in the mood for a glamorous, beautiful biopic, this one about the Calypso undersea explorer and US TV star will be worth watching. The problem is that though it apparently rubbed the Cousteau Society the wrong way and so declared no connection of approval at the end, it doesn't go deep enough in exploring Cousteau's tricky private life. We get hints that he had many affairs. Did he have another family? The dramatic highlight used to bookend the film is his conflict with his favorite son Philippe and the tragedy of Philippe's death piloting a seaplane. Philippe is played by rising star Pierre Niney of Yves Saint Laurent and Frantz, who's never looked more dashing and handsome. Audrey Tautou plays Yves-Jacques' alcoholic, long-suffering wife.


  2. #17
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    FILLE DE BREST/150 MILLIGRAMS (Emmanuelle Bercot 2016)

    Dramatizing a battle to have a dangerous drug off the market in France, this is a film like Silkwood or Erin Brockovich and while it may be a bit dry, pedestrian, or over-detailed at times, that is its strength, too, that it really takes us to the long struggle it took. Another good supporting performance for Benoît Magimel, who also shone in Bercot's previous film, Standing Tall/La tête haute.


  3. #18
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    STRUGGLE FOR LIFE/LA LOI DE LA JUNGLE (Antonin Peretjatko 2016)

    French indie schlub regular Vincent Macaigne again, this time in a slapstick satire of French bureaucracy and colonialist commercialism. The issues take second place to the pratfalls and slogs in the mud. Macaigne and his costar Vimala Pons show good sportsmanship going through all this stuff, but you can save your time for other examples of French cinema. This kind of comedy is better in your own language.


  4. #19
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    VOIR DU PAYS/STOPOVER (Delphine, Muriel Coulin 2016)

    A film about women in the military and the toll taken by combat duty. The three women (including Soko) stop over on Cyprus for a debriefing and psychological session with the rest of their nearly all-male unit returning from Afghanistan, where they had a brief but traumatic tour. There is also standard R&R stuff too - sleeping with a local guy, getting drunk - and lots of indications that the male soldiers are not only hostile to each other in some cases but to anybody including the women and the Cypriote locals. The problem with this film for me is that the emotions and nightmare memories never really come to life. It's too much all in the head and in the virtual reality. The Coulin sisters' previous, debut film was 17 Girls/17 Filles about teen pregnancy, a topic they probably had more of a handle on.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-24-2017 at 09:41 AM.

  5. #20
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    RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW/TOUT DE SUITE MAINTENANT (Pascal Bonitzer 2016)

    Love and finance are the subjects in this ingenious mashup by the famous screenwriter (notably for Rivette and Teechiné) who here has assembled a top-of-the-line cast with Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Pascal Greggory, Agathe Bonitzer, Jean-Pierre Bacri, and Vincent Lacoste. The best moments are those when Huppert is on the screen. Boy can she hold it. Without seeming to turn a hair. But Bonitzer's writing may have more zing with others directing. (He's done dozens of screenplays; this is his seventh directorial effort.) Critics liked this better than viewers have, on AlloCiné.


  6. #21
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    Fabulous.
    Thanks for these reviews.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #22
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    You're welcome, Johann, my pleasure as always. I'll talk about the best of them when I've finished seeing all the ones I can see in the series. The top title I hadn't seen was Bonello's Nocturama. I's say weird as it is, Dumont's Slack Bay/Ma Loute stands out. I haven't seen Raw. That is getting theatrical release here March 10 anyway though.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-01-2017 at 05:08 AM.

  8. #23
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    Wed., March 1, 2017, the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema opens. Here are some recommendations

    Find the Film Society of Lincoln Center's listings of all the films here.

    Wednesday is the day when movies open in France so it's a good day to open the annual Unifrance-Film Society of Lincoln Center collaboration, Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. In his as usual excellent and interesting preview, Stephen Holden of the New York Times sums up this year's 23 films in his preview as being a lot about horror and fear. The dazzler, Bonello's Nocturama, about youths blowing things up in Paris, then idling and losing their focus at a posh department store the night thereafter, certainly is about boredom, anger, and malaise. So perhaps also is Bruno Dumont's strange but somehow wonderful period film Slack Bay/Ma Loute, about class differences, love and cannibalism. And Raw, a horror movie in Film Comment selects also included in the French series, is about flesh-eating too. (I'm not recommending it, though it might appeal to fans of foreign horror films.)

    But let's just mention some of the other good films included this year. As Holden acknowledges, François Ozon's beautiful Frantz, also a period story, is (maybe an "anomaly") isn't about those nasty things but an anti-war story about guilt and romance and new beginnings, a remake of Ernst Lubitsch's Broken Lulliby. There's no denying that Salle's Odyssey/L'Odyssé, a biopic about Yves-Jacques Cousteau, if a little bland and conventional, is beautiful and entrancing. Surprisingly, so is Katell Quillévéré's To Heal the Living/Réparer les vivants - about a heart transplant. It's a rich and humanistic treatment of what might in lesser hands just see an afternoon special.

    Though its humor may lose something in subtitles, Justine Triet's Victoria/In Bed with Victoria], an improvisation-filled rom-com about a ditzy but accomplished woman lawyer (a genius Virginie Efira) whose career was going fine while her personal life was disintegrating, shows the French talent for elegant, tongue-in-cheek comedy; Efira is ably abetted by Vincent Lacoste and Melvil Poupaud.

    Some of the other more watchable films of the series this year are:

    - The Dancer/La danseuse (Stéphanie Di Giusto, starring Soko) about Louïe Fuller, a turn-of-the century American dance and theater innovator, who found fame in Paris.
    - Django (Étienne Comar 2017), the opening night film, about the great gypsy-jazz guitarist. The storyt's a bit blah but the music is absolutely great, and the filmmakers allow it to play through instead of giving only tiny clips.
    - La Fille de Brest/150 Miligrams , Emmanuelle Bercot's filmed story of a Silkwood, Brockovitch-like lady whistleblower, whose battle was with French Big Pharma. The multi-hyphenate Bercot is serous about issues, and this one is notable for its commitment to the story.

    Right Here, Right Now/Tout de suite mainetnant directed by Pascal Bonitzer has a panoply of French stars including Isabelle Huppert, who's on screen only briefly, but tears it up without lifting a finger. Rising stars Pierre Niney and Vincent Lacoste are on hand in several films, Lacoste in Victoria and Right Hear, Right Now, Niney in Odyssey and Frantz.

    There are only a few films in the series I'd be reluctant to say are entertaining or interesting. Anyway, there's no disputing matters of taste! But don't miss Nocturama. And note: many of the directors and some of the stars will be on hand for the festival Q&A's.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-01-2017 at 05:55 AM.

  9. #24
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    DAYDREAMS/L'INDOMPTÉE (Caroline Deruas 2016)

    A somewhat superficial but beautiful and very watchable first feature by Philippe Garrel's young girlfriend. The action, partly fantastic or surreal, takes place at the French Academy in Rome at the Villa Medici (or Médicis in French), with Clotilde Hesme, up-and-comer Jenna Thiam, and old dog Tchéky Karyo as a jealous husband whose distinguished writing career may be drying up while his young wife is penning her first success.

    Showtimes at the Walter Reade Theater:
    Wednesday, March 8, 4:30pm
    Friday, March 10, 6:45pm (Q&A with Caroline Deruas)




  10. #25
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    An exhibition in the lobby gallery of the Walter Reade Theater along with the Rendez-Vous, which is right in the middle now.

  11. #26
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    RAW (Julia Ducournau 2016)

    The sisterly vegetarian-cannibal movie, a much-awarded debut is a pretty stylish French entry into gore horror genre which debuted at Critics Week at Cannes and won the FIPRESCI Prize, and subsequently many other prizes and nominations at prestigious festivals. It was bought up and - an unusual move - opened in US theaters March 10th, five days before the official March 15 French theatrical release. It has garnered raves on both shores, a Metacritic rating of 82% and an AlloCiné press rating of 4.1. I think it's overrated. It lacks the class and individuality to warrant such accolades. However, it's French, and classy, and the writer-director shows talent.

    In an usual move, this was a Film Comment Selects film and listed as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema; they're usually separate. It was not shown to the press in the Rendez-Vous screenings, which in any case were abbreviated, not covering all 23 films but only 10 this year. I added 8 via online screeners that were made available. I watched Raw/Grave today, 18 March, at Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley; it came to Northern California a week after opening in NYC.

  12. #27
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    FRANZ (François Ozon) revisited by ARMOND WHITE.

    Armond White, writing in the gay magazine Out, focuses on the gay aspects of Franz - which I knew were there. He teases them out.

    In Frantz, Ozon dispenses with the storytelling and political conventions of most gay films—in fact, he teases them in profound ways. During a battle scene, Adrien and Frantz are coupled in a trench and after an explosion, Adrian brushes dirt and blood from Frantz’s face with a lover’s tenderness.
    -White
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-19-2017 at 09:37 PM.

  13. #28
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    NOCTURAMA (Bertrand Bonello 2016)

    NYC release for one week at the Metrograph August 11-17.
    No.7 Ludlow Street
    New York City, NY 10002
    metrograph.com

    Is that all??

    Distributed by Grasshopper Film.

    Click on the new US trailer here.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-23-2017 at 02:52 PM.

  14. #29
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    NOCTURAMA coming to US theaters.

    Opening at New York's Metrograph and
    the Film Society of Lincoln Center on August 11

    US release date was listed as July 28, so I don't know. . .

  15. #30
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    Bonello's "Deeper into Nocturama" is a personal anthology of films that inspired him showing at Lincoln Center, followed by his dazzling new film, Nocturama.



    See the list of them HERE.

    Below I have edited down the schedule to just the film titles and Bonello's comments.

    Go Deeper into Nocturama, Beginning August 18

    FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

    All films screen at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted. Quotes in italic below by Bertrand Bonello.

    Assault on Precinct 13
    John Carpenter, USA, 1976, 91m

    “A barely disguised remake of Rio Bravo, Assault on Precinct 13 is as dry as Rio Bravo is meandering. In both cases, the director entraps characters in postures of anticipation in order to watch them live. One of the finest examples of directing in cinema.” —BB


    The Brood
    David Cronenberg, Canada, 1979, 35mm, 92m

    “I saw this movie as a 12-year-old, and I will always remember the image of those children in the colorful jackets, hammers in hand. I realized later that these children were terrifying because they were terrified. I also realized that, in the guise of a B movie, The Brood demonstrated that Cronenberg’s visionary and organic genius was already at play.” —BB

    Close-up
    Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1990, 35mm, 98m

    “This is perhaps the film in which Kiarostami’s distortion of the principles of fiction and reality reaches its apogee, resulting in his most upsetting film. At the same time, it is a work of rare humanity and invention.” —BB

    The Devil, Probably / Le Diable, probablement
    “Shooting this film in 1977 was a crazy act of clairvoyance. The film is punk, ecological, romantic, radical, desperate, and yet endowed with the energy and vitality of rebellion.” —BB

    Full Moon in Paris / Les nuits de la pleine lune
    Éric Rohmer, France, 1984, 102m

    “It was a 64-year-old man who best captured the youthful energy of the 1980s, the decade’s transformations, its carefree spirit, its music, and ultimately its melancholy. And to top it off, the film features the dazzling Pascale Ogier.” —BB

    Rio Bravo
    Howard Hawks, USA, 1959, 35mm, 141m

    “Released a year apart, Vertigo and Rio Bravo were the last two great Hollywood classics. Each one is imbued, within the framework of a genre film, with all the modernity of the cinema that was yet to come. This swan song features one of the most beautiful guitar-playing scenes in all of cinema.” —BB


    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
    David Lynch, USA, 1992, 134m

    T“The most upsetting, the most terrifying, the most inventive and the most crazy of all of David Lynch’s films. It’s here that he discovered the theme that he would develop in years to come: emotional terror.” —BB

    Nocturama
    Bertrand Bonello, France/Germany/Belgium, 2016, 130m

    French with English subtitles
    [SFLC blurb]
    The audacious new film from Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent) unfolds in two mesmerizing segments. The first is a precision-crafted thriller, following a multi-ethnic group of millennial radicals as they carry out a mass-scale terrorist attack on Paris. The second—in which the perpetrators hide out in the consumerist mecca of a luxury department store—is the director’s coup, raising provocative questions about everything that came before. Bonello stages his apocalyptic vision with stylishly roving camerawork, blasts of hip-hop, and a lip-synced performance to Shirley Bassey’s “My Way.” This is edgy, risk-taking filmmaking that is sure to ignite debate. A 2017 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema selection. A Grasshopper Film release.

    Opens August 11 at FSLC
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-04-2017 at 12:29 PM.

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