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Thread: RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA Mar. 8-18, 2018

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    RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA Mar. 8-18, 2018



    Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2018 (New York, Mar. 8-18, 2018)

    Co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center with UniFrance

    FILMLEAF FESTIVAL COVERAGE THREAD


    LINKS TO THE REVIEWS:
    12 Days/ 12 jours (Raymond Depardon 2017)
    Ava (Léa Mysius 2017)
    Barbara (Mathieu Amalric 2017) OPENING NIGHT FILM
    Before Summer Ends//Avant la fin de l'été (Maryam Goormaghtigh 2017)
    C’est la vie!/Le sense de la fête (Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano 2017)
    Comfort and Consolation in France/Pour le réconfort (Vincent Macaigne 2017)
    Custody//Jusqu'à la garde (Xavier Legrand 2017)
    Endangered Species/Espèces menacées (Gilles Bourdos 2017)
    The Guardians/Les Gardiennes (Xavier Beauvois 2017)
    Jeannette, The Childhood of Joan of Arc/Jeannette, l'enfance de Jeanne d'Arc (Bruno Dumont 2017)
    July Tales/Contes de juillet (Guillaume Brac 2017)
    Just to Be Sure/Ôtez-moi d'un doute (Carine Tardieu 2017)
    The Lion Sleeps Tonight/ Le lion est mort ce soir (Nobuhiro Suwa 2017)
    A Memoir of War/La douleur (Emmanuel Finkiel 2017)
    Montparnasse Bienvenüe/Jeune femme (Léonor Serraille 2017)
    Number One (Tonie Marshall 2017)
    Orchestra Class/La Mélodie (Rachid Hami 2017)
    A Paris Education/Mes provinciales (Jean-Paul Civeyrac 2018)
    Petit Paysan (Hubert Charuel 2017)
    See You Up There/Au revoir la-haut (Albert Dupontel 2017)
    The Sower/Le semeur (Marine Francen 2017)
    Tomorrow and Thereafter/Demain et tous les autres jours (Noémie Lvovsky 2017)
    Waiting for the Barbarians/ En attendant les barbares (Eugène Green 2017)
    The Workshop (Laurent Cantet 2017)


    In my fall 2017 Paris report I already reported on six of the 24 2018 Rendez-Vous films, Barbara, Number One, See You Up There, Montparnasse Bienvenue, C'Est la Vie! and Comfort and Consolation in France. I recently watched Cantet's The Workshop/L'Atelier twice and am preparing a review; it comes out here 23 Mar. For all the films I've added a few other details, at least the French release dates and AlloCiné French press ratings for each film, highlighting in red the 11 out of 20 with the warmest home reception of a 3.5 or above. That's not to imply the others are no interest by any means but is worth being aware of.


    Jeanne Balibar, Mathieu Amalric in Barbara

    Barbara - Filmleaff coverage
    Mathieu Amalric 2017 France 98 minutes
    Opening Night · U.S. Premiere ·
    Introductions by Mathieu Amalric and Jeanne Balibar
    A chameleon-like Jeanne Balibar stars in this tantalizing, meta-cinematic tribute to Barbara—a legendary chanteuse and enduring icon of French culture—from actor-director Mathieu Amalric. France 6 Sept. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 4.1).
    Showtimes March 8 6:30 PM 9:00 PM

    12 Days/12 jours
    Raymond Depardon 2017 France 87 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere · Q&A with Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret
    Continuing a 30-year collaboration with sound recordist and producer Claudine Nougaret, renowned photographer and documentarian Raymond Depardon has made a startling, face-to-face look at mental illness and the French legal system. France 29 Nov. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 4.2).
    Showtimes March 15 6:30 PM


    Ava

    Ava
    Léa Mysius 2017 France 105 minutes
    N.Y. Premiere

    The breathtakingly bold debut feature from Léa Mysius—about a 13-year-old girl taking in as much of life as she can before she goes blind—is a coming-of-age tale unlike any other. France 21 Jun. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.5).
    Showtimes March 11 8:30 PM
    March 16 9:15 PM


    Before Summer Ends

    Before Summer Ends/Avant la fin de l'été
    Maryam Goormaghtigh 2017 France/Switzerland 80 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere
    Three thirty-something Iranian friends embark on a late summer road trip through the sunny South before one of them heads back to Iran in this endearingly wry and perceptive travelogue about what it means to be an outsider in a foreign country. 12 Jul. 2017 France (AlloCiné press rating 3.5).
    Showtimes March 17 1:00 PM

    C’est la vie!/Le sense de la fête - Filmleaf coverage
    Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano 2017 France/Canada/Belgium 117 minutes

    U.S. Premiere
    The behind-the-scenes planning of an elaborate wedding makes for a deliciously deadpan comic soufflé from the directors of the smash hit The Intouchables. 4 Oct. 2017 France (AlloCiné press rating 3.7).
    Showtimes March 10 9:30 PM
    March 18 7:45 PM

    Comfort and Consolation in France/Pour le réconfort - Filmleaf coverage
    Vincent Macaigne 2017 France 91 minutes

    North American Premiere · Q&A with Vincent Macaigne on March 14
    One of France’s most distinctive rising talents, Vincent Macaigne directs this daringly iconoclastic chamber drama about the clash between France’s haves and have-nots. France 25 Oct. 2017 (AlloCine press rating 3.2).
    Showtimes March 14 8:45 PM
    March 18 1:00 PM


    Custody

    Custody/Jusqu'à la garde
    Xavier Legrand 2017 France 93 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere · Q&A with Xavier Legrand
    Winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, this riveting domestic drama is a harrowing study of a family coming undone in the midst of a bitter custody battle. France 7 Feb. 2018 (AlloCiné press rating 4.3).
    Showtimes March 11 3:00 PM


    Endangered Species

    Endangered Species/Espèces menacées
    Gilles Bourdos 2017 France/Belgium 105 minutes

    U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Gilles Bourdos and writer Richard Bausch on March 11
    Drawing from Richard Bausch’s short stories, Renoir director Gilles Bourdos delivers an explosive emotional epic about the tangled relationships among parents, children, husbands, wives, and lovers. France 27 Sept. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.2).
    Showtimes March 11 5:30 PM
    March 15 1:30 PM

    The Guardians/Les gardiennes
    Xavier Beauvois 2017 Switzerland/France 138 minutes

    U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Xavier Beauvois
    A resilient young woman weathers the turbulence of World War I in the quietly affecting new film from Of Gods and Men director Xavier Beauvois. France 6 Dec. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.4).
    Showtimes March 16 6:00 PM


    Jeannette

    Jeannette, The Childhood of Joan of Arc/Jeannette, l'enfance de Jeanne d'Arc
    Bruno Dumont 2017 France 105 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere · Q&A with Bruno Dumont on March 9
    The ever-unpredictable Bruno Dumont (Slack Bay) takes another thrilling hairpin turn with this audacious heavy metal musical about the spiritual awakening of a young Joan of Arc. France 6 Sept. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.2).
    Showtimes March 9 6:30 PM
    March 13 4:15 PM


    July Tales/Contes de juillet

    July Tales/Contes de juillet - Prochainement (1h 10min)
    Guillaume Brac 2017 France 68 minutes

    North American Premiere
    Two languorous summer days, two tales of romantic misunderstanding: this deceptively breezy diptych channels the spirit of Rohmer as it explores the thorny relationships between men and women. Not yet released in France.
    Showtimes March 9 2:15 PM
    March 12 9:30 PM


    Cécile de France, Francois Damiens, Just to Be Sure

    Just to Be Sure/Ôtez-moi d'un doute
    Carine Tardieu 2017 France/Belgium 100 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere
    Life gets complicated for a middle-aged man when he discovers his father is not his father—and his girlfriend may be his half-sister—in this witty, winning seriocomic charmer. France 3 Sept. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.4).
    Showtimes March 18 3:00 PM


    The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Le lion est mort ce soir

    The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Le lion est mort ce soir
    Nobuhiro Suwa 2017 France/Japan 103 minutes

    North American Premiere
    Living legend Jean-Pierre Léaud stars in this self-reflexive ghost story—a playful consideration of cinema, mortality, and the actor’s own status as an emblem of film history. France 3 Jan. 2018 (AlloCiné press rating 3.4).
    Showtimes March 9 4:00 PM
    March 15 9:15 PM


    Benoit Magimel in A Memoir of War/]La douleur

    A Memoir of War/La douleur
    Emmanuel Finkiel 2017 France 127 minutes

    North American Premiere · Q&A with Emmanuel Finkiel on March 17
    Marguerite Duras’s autobiographical memoir—a heartrending reflection on wartime grief—receives a haunting and hypnotic adaptation starring a profoundly moving Mélanie Thierry. France: 24 Jan. 2018 (2h 06min) (AlloCiné press rating 4.0).
    Thursday, March 15, 3:45pm Saturday, March 17, 3:00pm (Q&A with Emmanuel Finkiel)
    Showtimes March 15 3:45 PM
    March 17 3:00 PM



    Montparnasse Bienvenüe/Jeune Femme - Filmleaf coverage
    Léonor Serraille 2017 France 97 minutes

    New York Premiere · Q&A with Léonor Serraille & Julie Roué on March 9
    A newly single young woman attempts to restart her life in this refreshingly complex portrait of an all-too-human heroine veering between instability and strength. Winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes for best first film. France 1 Nov. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.9).
    ShowtimesMarch 9 9:30 PM
    March 12 1:15 PM


    Emmanuelle Devos in Numéro une

    Number One/Numéri une - Filmleaf coverage
    Tonie Marshall 2017 France 110 minutes

    U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Tonie Marshal on March 10
    Emmanuelle Devos stars as an ambitious businesswoman navigating a sexist corporate minefield as she attempts to crash the boardroom boys’ club in this timely feminist drama from Tonie Marshall (Venus Beauty Institute). France 11 Oct. 2017 (AlloCine press rating 3.3).
    Showtimes March 10 6:30 PM
    March 17 9:15 PM

    Orchestra Class/La Mélodie
    Rachid Hami 2017 France 102 minutes

    U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Rachid Hami
    A violinist is tested when he signs on to teach music to a class of middle-school students on the multicultural outskirts of Paris in this refreshingly naturalistic ode to the transformative power of music. France 8 Nov. 2017 (AlloCine press rating 2.9).
    Showtimes March 14 6:00 PM


    A Paris Education/Mes provinciales

    A Paris Education/Mes provinciales
    Jean-Paul Civeyrac 2018 France 137 minutes

    North American Premiere · Q&A with Jean-Paul Civeyrac on March 17
    Director Jean Paul Civeyrac's new feature, about a young French film student come to Paris from the provinces, premiered in Berlin's Panorama section French theatrical release: 18 Apr. 2018. (Hence, no press rating.) Jordan Mintzer's review in Hollywood Reporter: ", A Paris Education may very well be a whiny French film par excellence. . . Yet that doesn’t make it any less compelling, and with its pared-down aesthetic and grounded naturalistic performances, Education recalls such “whiny” classics of French cinema as Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore and Philippe Garrel’s Regular Lovers — movies about young intellectuals who spend their days and nights smoking, having sex, sitting around cafés and arguing a lot about art and politics." Releases in France 18 Apr. 2018.
    Showtimes March 12 3:30 PM
    March 17 6:00 PM


    Petit Paysan

    Petit Paysan
    Hubert Charuel 2017 France 90 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere
    A farmer’s desperate attempts to save his cows from a deadly epidemic yields a surprisingly tense thriller rooted in everyday life. France 30 Aug. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 4.1).
    Showtimes March 11 1:00 PM
    March 14 4:00 PM

    See You Up There/Au revoir là-haut - Filmleaf coverage
    Albert Dupontel 2017 France/Canada 117 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere
    This spectacularly surreal comic caper—in which an ex–World War I soldier and artist embark on an audacious get-rich-quick scheme—is a whimsical wild ride through Jazz Age Paris. France 25 Oct. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.9).
    Showtimes March 13 8:45 PM
    March 18 5:15 PM



    The Sower/Le semeur
    Marine Francen 2017 France/Belgium 98 minutes

    U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Marine Francen on March 10
    Writ in bucolic, golden-hued images that recall the paintings of Jean-François Millet, this quietly provocative, Napoleonic-era fable imagines a community of women into whose midst wanders a lone male. 15 Nov. 2017 (AlloCiné 3.1).
    Showtimes March 10 3:30 PM
    March 13 2:00 PM


    Tomorrow and Thereafter/Demain et tous les autres jours

    Tomorrow and Thereafter/Demain et tous les autres jours
    Noémie Lvovsky 2017 France 91 minutes

    U.S. Premiere
    As her mother steadily loses her grip on reality, a young girl escapes into a fantasy world of her own in this alternately enchanting and cathartic family portrait from acclaimed actress-director Noémie Lvovsky. France 27 Sept. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.3).
    Showtimes March 10 1:00 PM
    March 16 2:00 PM

    Waiting for the Barbarians/En attendant les barbares
    Eugène Green 2017 France 76 minutes

    North American Premiere · Q&A with Eugène Green on March 13
    Six strangers confront their uniquely 21st century anxieties with the help of a sorcerer in this playful performance art consciousness-bender-cum-ghost story about the search for meaning in the age of social media. (Apparently no France, but Spanish, release; no AlloCiné listing.) The one available review in Cineuropa is unpomising.
    Showtimes March 13 6:30 PM
    March 16 4:00 PM


    Mathieu Lucci, Marina Fois in The Workship/L'Atelier

    The Workshop/L'Atelier
    Laurent Cantet 2017 France 113 minutes

    N.Y. Premiere · Q&A with Laurent Cantet on March 12
    Director of the 2008The Class/Entre les murs (Palme d'Or at Cannes its year) Laurent Cantet returns with a tense, provocative exploration of contemporary French society as seen through the eyes of the next generation, again focused on a classroom situation, this time in summer, outdoors, a writing workshop where multicultural youths seek to compose a thriller set in their hometown, the port La Ciotat, under a successful Parisian crime novel writer played by Mariina Foïs. Scenario by Cantet reuniting after a break with his regular collaborator Robin Campillo, who also edited. Not at Cannes in Competition, but nominated for the Un Certain Regard award. France : 11 Oct. 2017 (AlloCiné press rating 3.9.)US theatrical release begins 23 Mar. 2018.
    Showtimes March 12 6:30 PM
    March 14 1:30 PM

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-19-2018 at 08:14 PM.

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    First Filmleaf reviews. The New York Rendez-Vous with French Cinema began last night.

    AVA (Léa Mysius 2017)

    A beautiful and eccentric girl's coming-of-age film. Thirteen-year-old but precocious and bold Léa resolves to have the fullest summer ever after being told that she will lose her sight sooner than expected. She meets the dark, mysterious Juan, steals his big black dog who she names Lupo, and the three run away together. Not so strong at the writing aspect, at maintaining tension and rhythm, but well-supplied with striking moments, dramatic people, and nice visuals.

    PEITIT PAYSAN (Hubert Charuel 2017)

    Drama about a young dairy farmer faced with infection from an epidemic in his herd who sets out to hide it to save what he can, has the air of a thriller and is an elegy for the small farmer. Much admired by French critics.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-19-2018 at 07:10 AM.

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    JULY TALES/CONTES DE JUILLET (Guillaume Brac 2017)

    This two-story collection about rapid pairings and partings of young couples in the summertime naturally arouses thoughts of Éric Rohmer. But Brac's is a rougher, cruder world, though in some ways his situations, personalities, and story construction are not unlike the master's. Set in or around Paris, this has some feeling of a student film. But to the younger generation of French cinephiles, Brac is an auteur.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-17-2018 at 10:01 PM.

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    THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT/LE LION EST MORT CE SOIR ( Nobuhiro Suwa 2017)

    A vehicle for French cinema icon Jean-Pierre Léaud, who has been in movies 60 years. He started at 12,in the classic 400 Blows, and now he's 72. Here is plays an actor, who runs into a bunch of young kids making a movie while waiting for a brief appearance in a film where he dies. For Léaud fans, or lovers of cuteness. But the two elements get in each other's way a bit.


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    Preview.

    Coming next in 2018 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema coverage: reviews of two striking and unusual women's films, written and directed by, about, and starring women. They are powerhouse French actress-writer-director Noémie Lvovsky's Tomorrow and Thereafter/Demain et tous les autres jours and gifted newcomer Marine Francen's The Sower/Le semeur, which is set in the mid-nineteenth century.

    Powerhouse French actress and filmmaker Noémie Lvovsky is known for playing the madam in Bonello's House of Tolerence and herself as a teen inCamille Rewwinds Lvovsky's new film is a family drama which she wrote, directed, and costars in which Indiewire (Christopher Small) found "disappointing," but Neil Young in Hollywood Reporter felt was redeemed by personal touches and a lively performance by young newcomer Luce Rodriguez. Rodriguez plays he daughter of Lvovsky's erratic Parisian mother who is losing touch with reality while her little girl escapes into fantasies and rituals.

    After the somewhat discouraging reports about Lvovsky's film, it turned out to be better than expected. Francen's The Sower, about women left without men in a farm village as a result of the repression of a revolt, is a visually stunning blend of Jean-François Millet and D.H. Lawrence. Reviews of both films are coming.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-10-2018 at 06:27 PM.

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    TOMORROW AND THEREAFTER/DEMAIN ET TOUS LES AUTRES JOURS (Noémie Lvovsky 2017)

    Say what you will about Lvovsky's portrait of a nine-year-old daughter reduced to living (after her parent's separation) alone with a mad mother often lost on mysterious fugues, there is no question that the powerhouse French writer-director-actress knows whereof she speaks. And while there are alienating, seemingly frivolous, or unrelatable sequences, there are others that both dazzle and strike home. This is the portrait of a daughter taking refuge in her own fantasies from the absence of a beloved and loving mother who is growing increasingly mad. Its elegance lies in its total absence of histrionics or sentimentality.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-10-2018 at 07:32 PM.

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    THE SOWER/LE SEMEUR (Marine Francen 2017)

    Francen makes a strong debut with this film expanding on an old text about a village in 1852 that lost all its men as a result of repression by Napoleon III. The women make a pact that if a man comes they will all use him to make babies so their society won't die out. Jean comes, and Violette falls in love with him and doesn't want to share. Luminous cinematography and classic images blend Jean-François Millet with D.H. Lawrence. Winner of the valuable New Directors Prize at San Sebastién.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-11-2018 at 09:06 AM.

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    PETIT PAYSAN (Hubert Charuel 2017)

    The story of a small farmer (the translation of "petit paysan") running a cow farm forced to hide an invading epidemic reads like a thriller. The star Swann Arlaud fully inhabits his role and the camera loves his worried, sensitive French face. Could I run a small dairy farm? No. Do I admire someone who even tries? Yes.


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    CUSTODY/JUSQU'A LA GARDE (Xavier Legrand 2017)

    In this hard-to-watch movie, we see a dangerous, violent man allowed to terrorize his family, a failure of the French court system that allows a woman to be killed by a man in France every day and a half. This is a drama, but it's not a memoir but the fruit of committed research by the actor Xavier Legrand. He wants to make an impact and this film got rave reviews in FRance. It will be released Stateside by Kino Lorber.


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    MONTPARNASSE BIENVENÜE/JEUNE FEMME (Éleanor Serraille 2017)

    Paula (Letitia Dosch) is a ditsy, chameleonic and hysterical young woman wandering around Paris and getting away with stuff. The numerous subplots are neatly interwoven and the lead performance is virtuosic but it's all wildly implausible and this protagonist sucks the air out of every scene and every other character. Still an impressive first feature- but did this deserve the Caméra d'Or at Cannes? Probably not. Why is this the kind of female character a nearly all-female film crew wants to celebrate?

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-13-2018 at 06:09 AM.

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    A PARIS EDUCATION/MES PROVINCIALES (Jean-Paul Civeyrac 2018)

    Widescreen, in black and white, with lots of Bach, this evokes the French New Wave while celebrating and anatomizing - in slightly overlong detail - the adventures, disappointments, and many loves of young Étienne (Adranic Manet) as he arrives from the provinces (Lyon) and makes his way in Paris as a film student. A French film fan and cinephile's delight that recalls Philippe Garrel and Jean Eustache and seems to show Civeyrac - himself a longtime teacher at the national film school La Fémis - perhaps finally finding himself as a writer-director with his ninth feature. To be released in France in April, it debuted in the Panorama section of the Berlinale last month.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-13-2018 at 06:08 AM.

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    ORCHESTRA CLASS/LA MÉLODIE (Rachid Hami 2017)

    It's a conventional little crowd-pleaser, but enjoyable and touching nonetheless and with a French touch of class: a group of unruly ghetto kids are put together to learn to play the violin, and prepare for a serious public performance, in this case of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, with its striking violin solo. Popular French comic Kad Merad takes on a dour manner as the violinist-teacher who becomes utterly dedicated to the kids. When he shows a recalcitrant parent a demonstation performance that will convert him, it's a passage from Bach's solo violin suites that's one of the most devastating moments in all of western classical music.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-17-2018 at 07:05 PM.

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    ENDANGERED SPECIES/ESPÈCES MENACÉES (Gilles Bourdons 2017)

    A less profound and powerful but involving mashup of three exciting and melodramatic narratives drawn from several Richard Bausch short stories that may owe a debut to Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnoila. I enjoyed it and admired the acting and editing a lot, but may not have taken it all as seriously as I was meant to.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-17-2018 at 07:06 PM.

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    A MEMOIR OF WAR/LA DOULOS (Emmanuel Finkiel 2017)

    This is a big one - an ambitious and stylized adaptation Marguerite Duras' novel constructed from her diaries recording the harrowing period when her husband, a resistance leader, was imprisoned and sent away during the German Occupation of France. A remarkable and unexpectedly weighty performance by Mélanie Thierry, ably supported by Benoît Magimel as the collaborator she has a strange relationship with, as well as Benjamin Biolay, Shulamit Adar, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, and Emmanuel Bourdieu. The neutral-sounding English translation of the title was a mistake; it may make some fans of the book fail to recognize it. "La douleur" means simply "pain," and it's one of the more memorable titles.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-17-2018 at 10:07 PM.

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    12 Days/12 jours (Raymond Depardon 2117)

    The title refers to a new law that requires a hearing for persons confined to a mental institution against their will before this amount of time is up. An important subject, but the film is repetitious and limited. The patients mostly request to be released, and it is not granted. The subject is important, but famous documentarian Depardon might have found a more revealing approach.


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