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Thread: Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2024

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    Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2024



    FILMLEAF REVIEW THREAD

    Unifrance and Film at Lincoln Center present
    29TH RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA

    February 29- March 10, 2024

    Opening Night—New York Premiere of Thomas Cailley's The Animal Kingdom
    starring Romain Duris, with Cailley in person

    Featuring films starring Marion Cotillard (in person), Melvil Poupaud, Virginie Efira, Noée Abita, Laetitia Casta, Anders Danielsen Lie, Léa Drucker, Romain Duris, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Vincent Lacoste, Françoise Lebrun, Pierre Niney, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, and Sofiane Zermani

    Little Girl Blue (Charades Films); All to Play For (Curiosa Films); The Animal Kingdom (Magnolia Pictures); Les Indésirables (Goodfellas); First Case (Be for Films)


    New York, NY (January 25, 2024) – Unifrance and Film at Lincoln Center announce the lineup for the 29th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. Taking place from February 29 through March 10, this popular annual festival showcases the verve, creativity, and depth of contemporary French cinema in a variety of genres.

    The 2024 Opening Night selection is Thomas Cailley’s French box office hit The Animal Kingdom, the director’s long-awaited follow-up to Love at First Fight (a highlight of Rendez-Vous 2015) and most recently nominated for 12 César Awards, including Best Director and Best Film. Cailley, who most recently won Best Director at the 29th Lumière Awards, envisions a mysterious infection that selectively mutates the bodies of ordinary people into animal hybrids at unpredictable speeds in a darkly imaginative exploration of a human ecosystem undergoing inexplicable—but potentially liberating—transformation.

    This year's edition of the Rendez-Vous with FRench Cinema at Lincoln CCenter opens with French critical and box-office hit The Animal Kingdom, with director Thomas Cailley in attendance. So reports Daniela Elstner, executive director of Unifrance, who heralds the "vitality and diversity" and "mix of new and established filmakers" as well as the presence of the greet star Marion Of the 21 feature films, lstner notes, more than half are directed by women and eight were made by first-time filmmakers. The series lasts tend days.

    Highlights of the 21-film lineup include the North American premiere of Pascal Bonitzer’s Auction, which follows a modern art appraiser (Alex Lutz) whose routine is unexpectedly disrupted by the discovery of a long-lost work by Egon Schiele; Robin Campillo’s Red Island, which draws on the director’s personal history to evoke a sumptuously visualized 1970s childhood spent on one of the last remaining French colonial bases on Madagascar; Marie Amachoukeli’s 2024 Sundance Spotlight selection Àma Gloria, the portrait of a young girl beginning her life and a caretaker re-entering hers; Michel Gondry’s portrait of his own wild creative process The Book of Solutions; Vanessa Filho’s César-nominated Consent, which unflinchingly examines a case of sexual predation hiding in plain sight; Ladj Ly’s Les Indésirables, an another deiction of racial and social tensions in contemporary France; Marguerite’s Theorem, Anna Novion’s portraitof a young woman seeking a new perspective on her vocation and on life; Erwan Le Duc’s César-nominated sophomore feature No Love Lost, a bold and eccentric look at the ties that bind; Héléna Klotz’s Spirit of Ecstacy, a personal and professional coming of age; Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche’s The Temple Woods Gang, a fresh look at the heist genre included in Cahier du Cinéma's 10 best of 2023d; athan Ambrosioni’s Toni, a portrait of a former pop star and her five children adapting to a new reality; and Thomas Lllti's A Real Job, where the busy young stgar Vincent Lacostte plays Benjamin, a freshly accredited substitute teacher.

    Two features starring the ever-vibrant and brilliant actor Virginie Efira are writer-director Delphine Deloget’s feature debut All to Play For, a carefully observed perspective on the struggles of a loving parent contending with a bureaucratic system; and writer-director Valérie Donzelli’s César-nominated, tensely effective erotic thriller Just the Two of Us, featuring a virtuosic Efira in a double role as twin sisters.

    Notable documentaries in this edition of Rendez-Vous are two César-nominated features: Nicolas Philibert’s Berlinale Golden Bear winner On the Adamant, about a day care facility for neurodivergent adults on a floating barge in Paris; and Mona Achache’s Little Girl Blue, starring Marion Cotillard, blurs the line between truth and fiction to produce a work as fittingly unsettling and unforgettable as her subject—her own mother.

    Finally, four highly anticipated debut features round out this year’s features: Senegalese-French writer-director Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s Banel & Adama, a young couple’s relationship is tested by pressures from their village; writer-director Victoria Musiedlak’s First Case, a tense and thoughtful film buoyed by a captivating and textured performance from Noée Abita; Iris Kaltenbäck’s stylish, César-nominated feature The Rapture, a portrait of a young midwife who sublimates her emotional life into the pregnancy of her best friend; and Nora El Hourch’s Sisterhood, which casts an unflinching eye on the everyday sexual harassment faced by young women, anchored by vivid, fiery, and entirely unexpected turns.

    Confirmed to appear in person at the festival are: Mona Achache, Marie Amachoukeli, Nathan Ambrosioni, Pascal Bonitzer, Thomas Cailley, Robin Campillo, Marion Cotillard, Jean-Pierre Daroussin, Delphine Deloget, Valérie Donzelli, Nora El Hourch, Vanessa Filho, Iris Kaltenbäck, Héléna Klotz, Erwan Le Duc, Thomas Lilti, Ladj Ly, Victoria Musiedlak, Anna Novion, Nicolas Philibert, Ramata-Toulaye Sy, and Maud Wyler.

    Free talks, spotlighting directors and filmmakers in intimate and engaging conversations, will be announced at a later date.

    Voting for the fifth annual Rendez-Vous Audience Award will be open to all moviegoers attending the festival. A jury of six students pursuing film and French studies degrees from New York City colleges will choose their favorite first or second feature for the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award, which calls attention to the unique views of emerging filmmakers and their interpretations of France’s new and diverse identities. The two awards will be announced shortly at the close of the festival.

    Students from New York City–area schools will be invited to attend free screenings of Toni, A Real Job, and Nicolas Philibert’s 2002 documentary To Be and to Have.

    Organized by Florence Almozini and Madeline Whittle, in collaboration with Unifrance.Rendez-Vous with French CInema is sponsored by Villa Albertine, TV5 Monde, Maison Occitanie, FIAF, The Plaza, New York.

    Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 1 at noon, with pre-sale for Film at Lincoln Center Members beginning on Tuesday, January 30 at noon. Tickets are $17; $14 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $12 for FLC Members. Opening Night tickets for Thomas Cailley’s The Animal Kingdom are $25 for the general public and $20 for all FLC Members.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-01-2024 at 10:26 AM.

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    ROMAIN DURIS, PAUL KIRCHER IN LE RÈGNE ANIMAL

    RENDEZ-0VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA 2024: PROGRAM

    February 29- March 10, 2024

    FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
    All films screen in the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St., NYC) unless otherwise noted


    Opening Night
    The Animal Kingdom / Le Règne animal
    Thomas Cailley, 2023, France/Belgium, 128m
    French with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    In the striking opening scene of The Animal Kingdom, an argument between father François (Romain Duris) and son Émile (Paul Kircher) takes an unexpected turn when a man with the wings of a gigantic bird of prey makes a violent escape from a nearby ambulance. With his long-awaited follow-up to Love at First Fight (a highlight of Rendez-Vous 2015), Thomas Cailley, who most recently won Best Director at the 29th Lumière Awards in France, envisions a mysterious infection that selectively mutates the bodies of ordinary people into animal hybrids at unpredictable speeds. Nominated for 12 César Awards including Best Director and Best Film, this chilling scenario, conjured with vivid specificity and immediacy via dazzling, impeccably deployed special effects, serves as a relentlessly compelling backdrop to the central performances of Duris (The Three Musketeers), Kircher (the breakout star of Christophe Honoré’s Winter Boy), and Adèle Exarchopoulos (also in Rendez-Vous 2024 selection A Real Job). Together, the trio of actors breathe life into this darkly imaginative exploration of a human ecosystem undergoing inexplicable—but potentially liberating—transformation. A Magnolia Pictures release.
    Thursday, February 29 at 6:00pm (Introduction with Thomas Cailley)
    Thursday, February 29 at 9:00pm

    All to Play For / Rien à perdre
    Delphine Deloget, 2023, France/Belgium, 112m
    French with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    Once again confirming her status as one of contemporary French cinema’s most magnetic and sensitive performers, Virginie Efira (Other People’s Children, Rendez-Vous 2023) stars in All to Play For as single mom Sylvie. A bartender, Sylvie gamely works late shifts to support her two beloved sons, adolescent Sofiane (Alexis Tonetti) and teen Jean-Jacques (Félix Lefebvre, Summer of ’85, Rendez-Vous 2021). But after Sofiane has an accident while she’s at work, Sylvie must contend with a stubbornly dispassionate child welfare service system to regain custody of her youngest. Making her feature debut, writer-director Delphine Deloget operates in the finest traditions of French realism, offering a compassionate, carefully observed perspective on the travails of a loving parent contending with the mechanisms of an inflexible bureaucratic system. At the center of this multifaceted portrait is Efira, delivering a richly layered performance as an overwhelmed but fiercely dedicated mother.
    Friday, March 1 at 1:30pm
    Friday, March 8 at 9:00pm (Q&A with Delphine Deloget)


    Àma Gloria
    Marie Amachoukeli, 2023, France, 84m
    French and Cape Verdean Creole with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    Six-year-old Cléo (Louise Mauroy-Panzani) has been raised primarily by her nanny, Gloria (Ilça Moreno Zego). When Gloria must return home to her native Cape Verde to take care of family, Cléo is devastated. To soften the blow, Gloria proposes to Cléo’s father Arnaud (Arnaud Rebotini) that the child come with her for the summer. This sensitive portrait of a young girl struggling to adjust to dramatic change hinges upon the star-making performance of Mauroy-Panzani. In the tradition of François Truffaut’s child protagonists, Cléo is equal parts innocent and casually selfish, delightful and devastating—and as she integrates herself in the lives of Gloria’s own children, the ripple effect of her presence brings underexplored emotions and familial tensions to the surface. Beautifully animated interludes add an unexpected touch of stylization to a film about the complicated, slowly dissolving bond between a young girl just beginning her life and a caretaker re-entering hers.
    Saturday, March 2 at 3:45pm (Q&A with Marie Amachoukeli)
    Thursday, March 7 at 1:30pm


    Auction / Le tableau volé
    Pascal Bonitzer, 2023, France, 91m
    French with English subtitles
    North American Premiere

    First known as a regular screenwriter for Jacques Rivette and a contributing critic at Cahiers du Cinéma, Pascal Bonitzer emerged in subsequent decades as an esteemed director in his own right (Spellbound, Rendez-Vous 2020). This closely observed drama, for which he also penned the script, follows André Masson (Alex Lutz), a modern art appraiser who works for an auction house. As boldly assured in his professional expertise as he is unflaggingly cool and collected with his colleagues—including his ex-partner Bettina (Léa Drucker, Last Summer), with whom he maintains a careful friendship—André’s routine is unexpectedly disrupted by the discovery of a long-lost work by Egon Schiele, a masterwork that had gone missing decades earlier following its confiscation by Nazi officials. Initially skeptical that any such undiscovered painting could still be recovered, André grows convinced of its authenticity—but the ramifications for his career, as well as his contentious relationship with his intern Aurore (Louise Chevillotte), are unexpected and transformative.
    Friday, March 1 at 9:00pm (Q&A with Pascal Bonitzer)
    Sunday, March 10 at 6:30pm


    Banel & Adama / Banel e Adama
    Ramata-Toulaye Sy, 2023, France/Senegal/Mali/Qatar, 87m
    Pular with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    In a rural village in Senegal, Banel (Khady Mane) is happily married to Adama (Mamadou Diallo), the younger brother of her deceased first husband. Though their love is passionate, the relationship is tested by pressures from the community, which expects Banel to assume traditionally feminine domestic responsibilities, while her husband is meant to inherit the role of village chief from his late brother. Both young adults resist the mandate to fill these assigned duties, incurring disapproval from those around them—and possibly triggering supernatural repercussions. In her feature debut, Senegalese-French writer-director Ramata-Toulaye Sy conjures lyrical imagery reminiscent of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, placing two memorable young lovers against a landscape as beautiful as it is inscrutable. A Kino Lorber release.
    Sunday, March 3 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Ramata-Toulaye Sy)
    Wednesday, March 6 at 3:45pm


    The Book of Solutions / Le livre des solutions
    Michel Gondry, 2023, France, 103m
    French and English with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    When his backers threaten to wrest control of his new film away from him, director Marc Becker (Pierre Niney) steals the hard drives that store the existing footage and heads to the countryside. There, he holes up at the house of his aunt Denise (the legendary Françoise Lebrun) and strives to complete the feature with the help of his most loyal crew members, most notably his harried but devoted longtime editor (Blanche Gardin)—but finds his grip on the project slipping as he cycles from one manic idea to the next. Loosely drawing on his own experience making Mood Indigo (Rendez-Vous 2013), the ingenious director Michel Gondry’s first feature in eight years is characteristically imaginative and surprisingly heartfelt. Shooting in a house belonging to his own late aunt Suzanne (profiled in the 2009 documentary The Thorn in the Heart), Gondry delivers a memorably madcap portrait of a creative filmmaker struggling to find his way.
    Thursday, March 7 at 6:00pm
    Sunday, March 10 at 4:00pm


    Consent/Le Consentement
    Vanessa Filho, 2023, France/Belgium, 119m
    French with English subtitles
    North American Premiere

    After precocious 13-year-old Vanessa Springora (Kim Higelin) meets famed middle-aged writer Gabriel Matzneff (Jean-Paul Rouve) at a mid-1980s soirée where her mother (Laetitia Casta) is a guest, the preteen falls quickly into a romantic relationship with the decades-older man. As Matzneff—whose books detailing his own relationships with adolescents gained him a prominent status within the French literary establishment—exercises increasingly insidious forms of control over Vanessa, his monstrous intentions gradually reveal themselves in tandem with the young woman’s dawning consciousness of her own exploitation. This disturbing real-life story became a sensation in France when Springora published her memoir in 2020, with the subsequent scandal leading to the passage of long-overdue age-of-consent legislation. Springora worked alongside director Vanessa Filho to adapt her book for the screen, resulting in a powerful and unflinching examination of sexual predation hiding in plain sight.
    Tuesday, March 5 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Vanessa Filho)
    Saturday, March 9 at 9:15pm


    First Case / Première affaire
    Victoria Musiedlak, 2023, France, 98m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere

    When she’s abruptly called into work after a night at the club, inexperienced 26-year-old lawyer Nora (Noée Abita) must travel in the wee hours to the northern city of Arras, where she’s tasked with monitoring the interrogation of Jordan (Alexis Neises), the teenage suspect in a murder case. Drawing on prior professional experience mostly limited to financial disputes, Nora finds herself challenged by both the complications of the investigation and her uneasy attraction to the officer in charge, cocky and dominant Servan (Anders Danielsen Lie, The Worst Person in the World). With her tense feature filmmaking debut, writer-director Victoria Musiedlak constructs a thoughtful thriller around a captivating and textured performance from Abita, a rapidly rising star of French cinema last seen at Rendez-Vous 2021 in Slalom.
    Sunday, March 3 at 9:00pm (Q&A with Victoria Musiedlak)
    Friday, March 8 at 1:30pm


    Les Indésirables / Bâtiment 5
    Ladj Ly, 2023, France/Belgium, 104m
    French, Bambara, Syrian, and English with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    In a Parisian suburb, two different visions for the community clash. On one side there’s pediatrician Pierre (Alexis Manenti), drafted by the leftist ruling political party to serve as interim mayor after the abrupt death of his predecessor. With old public housing towers demolished and plans for new construction under review, Pierre comes into conflict with community activist Haby (Anta Diaw), who is outraged that the proposed replacement facilities won’t be configured to accommodate large families—part of a larger push to displace migrants and other so-called “undesired” members of the community. Following his Cannes Jury Prize–winning feature debut Les Misérables, Ladj Ly returns with another incisive look at racial and social tensions in contemporary France, depicted with an artistry that is every bit as dynamic and urgent as the story is complex and politically nuanced.
    Saturday, March 2 at 9:15pm (Q&A with Ladj Ly)
    Thursday, March 7 at 8:30pm

    Just the Two of Us / L’amour et les forêts
    Valérie Donzelli, 2023, France, 105m
    French with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    The sixth feature from writer-director Valérie Donzelli (also an accomplished actress in her own right), co-written with the filmmaker Audrey Diwan (Happening), features a virtuosic Virginie Efira (star of this year’s Rendez-Vous selection All to Play For) in a double role as twin sisters Rose and Blanche. After Blanche falls for Grégoire (Melvil Poupaud) at a party, the two quickly marry and relocate far away from her beloved sibling. But, as an opening scene of Rose telling her story in a lawyer’s office suggests, a sinister dimension to Grégoire quickly emerges, and a marriage that seemed to offer a bright new beginning soon takes on the appearance of something more like a trap. Donzelli’s César-nominated film is a tensely effective erotic thriller that doubles as an acute psychological study of a profoundly disturbing relationship.
    Sunday, March 3 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Valérie Donzelli)
    Tuesday, March 5 at 9:15pm


    Little Girl Blue
    Mona Achache, 2023, France/Belgium, 99m
    French with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    The lives and legacies of three generations of extraordinary women artists are unpacked in Mona Achache’s César-nominated hybrid documentary. Achache, herself an accomplished writer and filmmaker, turns her gaze on her mother, Carole—a writer, photographer, and actress, and the daughter of novelist and screenwriter Monique Lange (goddaughter of William Faulkner). Carole’s myriad professional achievements notwithstanding, her private life was indelibly marked by predatory behavior she experienced at the hands of those close to her, including family friend Jean Genet. Marion Cotillard brilliantly embodies Carole across a series of hauntingly resonant reconstructions that, alongside a generous archive of video, photography, and personal writing, create a rounded portrait of a troubled but outstandingly creative mind. Achache blurs the line between truth and fiction, producing a work as fittingly unsettling and unforgettable as her mother’s own story.
    Friday, March 1 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Mona Achache and Marion Cotillard)
    Wednesday, March 6 at 8:30pm

    Marguerite’s Theorem / Le théorème de Marguerite
    Anna Novion, 2023, France/Switzerland, 112m
    French and English with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    “Elite female mathematicians are rare,” professor Werner (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) tells Marguerite (Ella Rumpf), a PhD student he’s supervising as she labors on the final stages of developing an ambitious proof. When a flaw is discovered during the presentation of her research, three years of work are invalidated in one fell swoop, and Marguerite finds herself rethinking the parameters of the life she’s made for herself. Abandoning both her dissertation and her academic environment, Marguerite finds new friends and an unexpected use for her math skills in the world of gambling—where she soon embarks on an even more unexpected romance. Winding a fluent, accessible tour through the arcane world of high-level math, Anna Novion’s feature always remains grounded in the affecting story of a young woman who must reinvent herself in order to find a fresh new perspective on her vocation and on life itself. A DistribFilms release.
    Saturday, March 2 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Anna Novion and Jean-Pierre Darroussin)
    Monday, March 4 at 3:30pm


    No Love Lost / La fille de son père
    Erwan Le Duc, 2023, France, 91m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere

    When young Étienne (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) meets the vibrant, beautiful protester Valérie (Mercedes Dassy), he immediately falls for her—only to be abruptly devastated when she leaves him after the birth of their child. Sixteen years later, Étienne has made a good life for himself with new girlfriend Hélène (Maud Wyler) and Rosa, his now-grown daughter (Céleste Brunnquell). As Rosa prepares to depart for art school, simultaneously navigating her own apprehensions and her comfortable, loving relationship with Youssef (Mohammed Louridi), the makeshift family unit’s tentative stability has already begun to erode when an unexpected echo from the past sets father and daughter alike on a new path of self-discovery. From the nearly wordless romantic montage that opens his César-nominated sophomore film, Erwan Le Duc delivers a stylistically bold, warmly eccentric examination of the ties that bind us—for better or for worse. AlloCiné press rating 3.9 (78%) spectators 3.4 (68%).
    Screen Daily review
    Monday, March 4 at 1:15pm
    Saturday, March 9 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Erwan Le Duc and Maud Wyler)


    On the Adamant / Sur l’Adamant
    Nicolas Philibert, 2023, France/Japan, 109m
    French with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    The Adamant is the name of a barge in central Paris that’s also a day care facility for neurodivergent adults—and the setting for veteran documentarian Nicolas Philibert’s latest feature, which was awarded the prestigious Golden Bear at last year’s Berlinale and this year nominated for a César. In this characteristically humane examination of an institution and its deeply invested employees, Philibert trains his empathetic gaze on the facility, its dedicated caretakers, and their regular patients, who include musicians and other creative souls. Their day-to-day challenges and triumphs, mediated through artistic workshops that facilitate bracingly personal moments of vivid self-expression, are at the core of a film that finds profound beauty and inspiration in a vital, all-too-rare haven of community and caretaking. A Kino Lorber release.
    Monday, March 4 at 6:00pm (Q&A with Nicolas Philibert)
    Friday, March 8 at 3:45pm


    The Rapture / Le ravissement
    Iris Kaltenbäck, 2023, France, 97m
    French and Serbian with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere

    In the wake of an unexpected breakup with her boyfriend, midwife Lydia (Hafsia Herzi) throws herself into her work, riding the bus late into the night following long shifts at her job. Observed during these nocturnal rounds by her regular bus driver Milos (Alexis Manenti), Lydia is a restless soul who gradually sublimates her emotional life into the pregnancy of her best friend, Salomé (Nina Meurisse). Anchored by a riveting central performance from Herzi, Iris Kaltenbäck’s dreamily stylish César-nominated feature debut is a deceptively slow-burning portrait of a woman whose actions grow ever more desperate, even as she stubbornly persists in holding herself at a distance, remaining inscrutable both to herself and to the increasingly confounded loved ones caught up in her turmoil. First feature, debuted in Cannes Critics Week.
    AlloCiné press rating 3.9 (78%) spectators 4.0 (80%) Screen Daily Review
    Sunday, March 3 at 3:30pm (Q&A with Iris Kaltenbäck)
    Tuesday, March 5 at 1:30pm


    A Real Job / Un métier sérieux
    Thomas Lilti, 2023, France, 101m
    French with English subtitles
    North American Premiere

    Having previously drawn upon his background as a doctor for the films Hippocrates (Rendez-Vous 2015) and The Freshmen (Rendez-Vous 2019), in his latest dramatically inflected comedy writer-director Thomas Lilti trains his characteristically observant and empathetic eye on a new milieu: [junior] high school. Actor Vincent Lacoste, a regular leading man for Lilti, is freshly accredited substitute teacher Benjamin, whom we meet as he’s setting out to launch his career at the suburban Victor Hugo School. Joining a diverse group of colleagues including older Pierre (The Intouchables star François Cluzet) and divorced mother Meriem (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Benjamin quickly encounters the challenges of balancing an involving home life with the varied demands of students, parents, and administrators who rely on the group of harried but compassionate and deeply dedicated educators for guidance, wisdom, and a path forward. AlloCiné press rating 3.5 (70%) spectators 3.7 (74%)
    Friday, March 1 at 4:00pm
    Sunday, March 10 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Thomas Lilti)


    Red Island / L’île rouge
    Robin Campillo, 2023, France/Belgium/Madagascar, 116m
    French and Malagasy with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere

    Rendez-Vous and NYFF veteran Robin Campillo, whose 2017 period drama BPM: Beats Per Minute reconstructed and celebrated ACT UP’s legacy of AIDS activism in France during the 1990s, once again draws on personal history with his latest film, reaching back further to evoke a sumptuously visualized 1970s childhood spent with his military family on Madagascar. Growing up on one of the last remaining French colonial bases on the island, young Thomas (Charlie Vauselle) keeps a curious and observant eye on the adults around him, not least his parents (Nadia Tereszkiewicz and Quim Guterriez). Bonding with young Suzanne (Cathy Pham) over the Fantômette comic books, Thomas’s imagination and observational powers grow even as the world around him is about to die. Making striking use of a child’s perspective, Campillo’s carefully observed drama of a lost world is lyrical and clear-eyed in equal measure.
    Tuesday, March 5 at 3:45pm
    Saturday, March 9 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Robin Campillo)


    Sisterhood / HLM Pussy
    Nora El Hourch, 2023, France, 100m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere

    Our introduction to longtime best friends Amina (Léah Aubert), Djeneba (Médina Diarra), and Zineb (Salma Takaline) finds them fielding the taunts of a group of teen boys at a fast-food restaurant, and their mutual affection and loyalty is immediately apparent: The girls move through high school as an inseparable unit, in the habit of pushing back collectively against anyone who comes at them. But when Zineb is harassed at a party by the drug-dealing cousin of a fellow student (Oscar Al Hafiane), the subsequent decisions made by each member of the tightly knit trio have repercussions that begin to tear the group apart. Casting an unflinching eye on the everyday sexual harassment faced by young women in a social-media-drenched environment, and its unpredictable consequences, this remarkably assured debut feature from writer-director Nora El Hourch is anchored by vivid, fiery, and entirely unexpected turns from the trio of exciting newcomers at its center. (March release in France.)
    Wednesday, March 6 at 1:30pm
    Saturday, March 9 at 3:30pm (Q&A with Nora El Hourch)


    Spirit of Ecstasy / La Vénus d'argent
    Héléna Klotz, 2023, France, 95m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere

    This up-to-the-minute, stylishly directed look at the world of high finance is built around a nuanced character study of nonbinary Jeanne (Claire Pommet, also known as indie pop musician Pomme). For Jeanne, high finance isn’t just something they’re good at but a chance to get out of their family’s dead-end lifestyle on a military base. While working as an intern at a finance company, they latch onto an unexpected chance to rocket to the top of the professional ladder after ruthless trader Farès (Sofiane Zermani) takes Jeanne under his wing. The sophomore feature from director Héléna Klotz (whose debut, The Atomic Age, played at Rendez-Vous 2013) is a brilliantly staged depiction of a young person’s personal and professional emancipation, following its protagonist’s initiatory journey with great complexity and sensitivity.
    Monday, March 4 at 9:00pm
    Friday, March 8 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Héléna Klotz)

    The Temple Woods Gang / Le gang des Bois du Temple
    Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, 2023, France, 113m
    French and English with English subtitles
    North American Premiere

    Festival regular Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche (South Terminal, Rendez-Vous 2020; Story of Judas, Rendez-Vous 2016) returns with a richly imagined, arrestingly original perspective on the heist genre. Bébé (Philippe Petit) and five friends from his housing project decide to rob a Saudi prince (Mohamed Aroussi); although the scheme is initially successful, its consequences set off a series of events that none of the participants could have anticipated. It’s a familiar enough premise, but Ameur-Zaïmeche is as interested in the men, their background, and their precarious position in the French social structure as he is in the dramatic interplay of crime and punishment. Named one of the 10 best films of 2023 by Cahiers du Cinéma, The Temple Woods Gang is the boldest accomplishment yet from a filmmaker rightly acclaimed within France, and deserving of similar recognition beyond its borders. AlloCiné 3.7 (74%) spectators 3.0 (60%), 6 Sept. 2023 release, 114 mins.
    Wednesday, March 6 at 6:00pm
    Thursday, March 7 at 3:30pm


    Toni / Toni en famille
    Nathan Ambrosioni, 2023, France, 96m
    French with English subtitles
    New York Premiere

    A former pop sensation whose once successful career has long since dwindled, middle-aged Toni (Camille Cottin) is now first and foremost a single mother of five. Though she loves her children fiercely, the sense of stagnation that accompanies her domestic obligations leads Toni to wonder if it’s time to start a new chapter by enrolling at a university—or if it’s even still possible to alter her family’s well-established rhythms and routines. In his sophomore feature, director Nathan Ambrosioni crafts an effortlessly affecting study of a woman and her lively brood adapting to a moment of collective transformation. At the group portrait’s center is Cottin, best known to English-speaking audiences for her celebrated performance in the TV series Call My Agent!, delivering a lived-in, sneakily touching performance as a woman ready to make a change. A DistribFilms release. French release Sept. 6, 96 mins., AlloCiné press rating 3.9 (78%), spectators 3.8 (76%). Ambrosiani directed his previous film at age 18, a horror film called Hostile at 14, and this one at 22.
    Saturday, March 2 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Nathan Ambrosioni)
    Sunday, March 10 at 8:45pm


    UNIFRANCE
    Founded in 1949 and strengthened thanks to its merger with TV France International in 2021, Unifrance is the organization responsible for promoting French cinema and TV content worldwide.

    Located in Paris, Unifrance employs around 50 staff members, as well as representatives based in the United States, in China, and in Japan. The organization currently brings together more than 1,000 French cinema and TV content professionals (producers, talents, agents, sales companies, and the like) working together to promote French films and TV programmes among foreign audiences, industry executives, and media.

    Unifrance is supported by the French government, the CNC, the PROCIREP, and many public and private partners. Visit unifrance.org for more information and follow @unifrance on Facebook, X, and Instagram.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-25-2024 at 10:30 AM.

  3. #3
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    The series runs Feb. 29-March 10, 2024, but reviews begin now, and many will appear to guide viewers in the run-up to the Rendez-Vous itself.

    Here is the first.

    RED ISLAND/L'ILE ROUGE (Robin Campillo 2023)

    This piquant semi-autobiographical fantasy is an early 1970's tropical dream of the last gasp of French colonial life on the island of Madagascar, with romance, drama, and childhood exploration by a secretive little boy and his girlfriend.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024) where it shows at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.
    Showtimes:
    Tuesday, March 5 at 3:45pm
    Saturday, March 9 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Robin Campillo)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-02-2024 at 10:21 PM.

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    ALL TO PLAY FOR /RIEN À PERDRE (Delphone Deloget 2023)

    The fabulous Virginie Efira stars as a young widow with two young sons whose inability tos cope and short fuse cause the younger one to be put into foster care. A struggle follows that highlights the shortcomings of the French social welfare system with unusual sharpness.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024) where it shows at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.
    Showtimes
    Friday, March 1 at 1:30pm
    Friday, March 8 at 9:00pm (Q&A with Delphine Deloget)

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    NO LOVE LOST/LA FILLE DE SON PÈRE (Erwan Le Duc 2023)

    Nahuel Perez Biscayart, the César-winning Argentinian-born star of Robin Campillo's 120 BPM, is at the center of this cool, stylish film about a frenetic soccer coach and the women who surround him, one of whom disappears after their baby is born and leaves him to raise it himself. "Buster Keaton and Kaurismäki have a cousin" commented the critic for the French journal L'OBS.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024.
    Showtimes:
    Monday, March 4 at 1:15pm
    Saturday, March 9 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Erwan Le Duc and Maud Wyler)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-04-2024 at 06:50 AM.

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    TONI/TONI EN FAMILLE (Nathan Ambrosiani 2023)

    Camille Cottin of "Call My Agent" stars as the single mother of five teenagers who, amid all the chaos, wants to find herself by starting university studies at 42. Lots of great ensemble acting in this warm family drama. Ambrosiani is a wunderkind who directed this film at the age of 22.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Saturday, March 2 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Nathan Ambrosioni)
    Sunday, March 10 at 8:45pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-04-2024 at 06:52 AM.

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    THE ANIMAL KINGDOM/LE REGNE ANIMAL (Thomas Cailley 2023) RENDEZ-VOUS OPENING NIGHT FILM

    Cailley's first feature in a decade follows up on the sci-fi path he took in a recent TV series. This time a father and son confront sudden changes in species from human to animal hybrids creating chaos in France and in their own family. Romain Duris as the father and Paul Kircher as the son make a powerful, engaging duo in this movie very successful in France soon to be released in the US by Magnolia.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Thursday, February 29 at 6:00pm (Introduction with Thomas Cailley)
    Thursday, February 29 at 9:00pm

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    JUST THE TWO OF US/L'AMOUR ET LES FORÊTS (Valérie Donzelli 2023)

    Based on the bestselling French novel L'Amour et les forêts, this stars the talented Virginie Efira as Blanche and her twin sister Rose and the prolific and often charming Melvil Poupaud as the man who marries Blanche, takes her away from her sister to a remote town and into a toxic and abusive marriage. Hitchcock, Di Palma, Chabrol, or Sirk might have made something interesting out of this, but here it may just be a rather one-note reply to French opponents or #MeToo.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Sunday, March 3 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Valérie Donzelli)
    Tuesday, March 5 at 9:15pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-05-2024 at 07:57 PM.

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    ON THE ADAMANT/SUR L'ADAMANT (Nicolas Philibert 2023)

    The great documentary filmmaker Nicolas Philibert, of To Be and to Have makes a film about a barge on the banks of the Seine that is a day care facility for neurodivergent adults, though they may be more than that and it seems more loose and fun than "day care facility" does justice to. As the blurb says, it's "a haven of community and caretaking."

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. A Kino Lorber release. Shwotimes:
    Monday, March 4 at 6:00pm (Q&A with Nicolas Philibert)
    Friday, March 8 at 3:45pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-25-2024 at 10:32 AM.

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    AUCTION/LE TABLEAU VOLÉ (Pascal Bonitzer 2023)

    This tale of an Egon Schiele painting lost since the Nazis seized it in the late 1930's, found in the rural French town of Mulhouse, was complex and suspenseful enough for a TV series, but the experienced writer-director Pascal Bonitzer has woven it into a feature that sparkles, charms, and excites.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Friday, March 1 at 9:00pm (Q&A with Pascal Bonitzer)
    Sunday, March 10 at 6:30pm

  11. #11
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    THE BOOK OF SOLUTIONS/LE LIVRE DE SOLUTIONS (Michel Gondry 2023)

    After an eight-year break since his Microbe & Gasoline, Gondry depicts a semi-autobiographical story of a filmmaker who grabs his rushes from controlling producers and tries to finish the film - something like this happened with his Mood Indigo, apparently - at his aunt's house in the country, without a conventional studio, using what the French call bricolage, working improvisationally. He also goes off his meds, which makes the improvisations off the wall. Manic fun that's not everybody's dish of tea.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Thursday, March 7 at 6:00pm
    Sunday, March 10 at 4:00pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-23-2024 at 10:42 AM.

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    LITTLE GIRL BLUE (Mona Acache 2023)

    Marion Cottilard is the star of reenactments of recorded statements of Carole, the filmmaker's mother, a writer and artist abused by men, including the writer Jean Genet, interacting with the filmmaker. This recounts stories of three generations of women who were writers, one of them an editor for the publishing house of Gallimard. Cotillard is all in on this project, indicated by her being present for the Q&A of the film.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes: Friday, March 1 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Mona Achache and Marion Cotillard)
    Wednesday, March 6 at 8:30pm

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    SPIRIT OF ECSTASY/LA VÉNUS D'ARGENT (Hélena Klotz 2023)

    A young gender-questioning person, played by the pop star Pomme (Claire Pommet), works in high finance, which leads to unprecedented opportunities with astonishing speed. But can she leave her military boyfriend (Niels Schneider) and gendarme father (Grégoire Colin) and two little siblings behind? An exciting experimental-feeling film that taps into the French cinematic gift for fantasy and elegance.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Monday, March 4 at 9:00pm
    Friday, March 8 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Héléna Klotz)

  14. #14
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    LES INDÉSIRABLES/BÂTIMENT 5 (Ladj Ly 2023)

    Ly's followup to his Cannes Jury Prize, Oscar-nominated debut Les Misérables is mainly a reenactment of a mass eviction without warning from the housing estate he grew up in. Powerful and angry, it is much shorter than the first film and lacks its subtlety - and didn't get to debut at Cannes or receive high marks from French critics or spectators. But there is passion and ambitious staging.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Saturday, March 2 at 9:15pm (Q&A with Ladj Ly)
    Thursday, March 7 at 8:30pm

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    BANEL & ADAMA/BANEL E ADAMA (Ranata-Toulaye Sy 2023)

    The pretty young firs time filmmaker was born in France of Senegalese parents. Her first film, which debuted in competition at Cannes, is a fable in the Pulaar language of a striking, independent-minded young man and woman in a remote, primitive village in northern Senegal. A tale of independence and of global warming, and mystery. A Kino Lorber release.

    Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes:
    Sunday, March 3 at 1:00pm (Q&A with Ramata-Toulaye Sy)
    Wednesday, March 6 at 3:45pm

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