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Chic! – Jérôme Cornuau

The New Year is off to a promising start with Jérôme Cornuau’s romantic comedy Chic! starring veteran French actress Fanny Ardant in fine form. Cornuau, whose work is more often seen on television, has produced a smart, sassy film which manages to stay fresh and engaging despite the predictable storyline. French cinema is no stranger to…

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Une Heure de Tranquillité (Do Not Disturb) – Patrice Leconte

As 2014 came to a close, one final shot at raising a smille opened in cinemas with Christian Clavier – the King Midas of French comedy  – in the lead role.  Patrice Leconte’s Une Heure de Tranquillité reunites the director with Clavier who appeared in his string of hugely successful French comic films Les Bronzés.…

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La Famille Bélier – Eric Lartigau

Eric Lartigau’s La Famille Bélier has barely opened in cinemas in France and is already being hailed as THE French film of 2014. This is a feelgood movie à la française which piles on the schtick in the story of a family where all the members apart from the eldest daughter are deaf. It has French critics in raptures while…

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Un Illustre Inconnu (Nobody from Nowhere) – Matthieu Delaporte

For his eagerly awaited follow-up to Le Prénom (What’s in a Name), Matthieu Delaporte completely changes tack by directing an intriguing, dark thriller with the versatile Matthieu Kassovitz in the lead role.  Un Illustre Inconnu raises a number of questions about identity and isolation in a tense, well-paced film, but avoids drowning under these weighty…

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Le Père Noël – Alexandre Coffre

Director Alexandre Coffre is playing it safe with Le Père Noël, a Christmas film with definite shades of the US hit Bad Santa which had Billy Bob Thornton as the criminal who dresses up as Santa Claus to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. After last year’s disappointing Eyjafjallajokull, Coffre aims straight for the heart…

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Serial (Bad) Weddings – French cinema’s top film for 2014

French director Philippe de Chauviron’s Qu’est ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu Serial (Bad) Weddings is the most successful French language film of 2104 chalking up over 12 million admissions in France so far –  more than double its nearest rival Supercondriaque. But it’s not only French audiences who are flocking to see this tale of a…

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Les Héritiers – Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar

For her third stint in the director’s chair Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar has again plunged into a story based on a real event to deliver Les Héritiers,  one of the best films of the year.  After the social unrest depicted in Bowling, Les Héritiers uses the backdrop of the Holocaust to call for racial and religious tolerance while at the same time sharply criticising the French education system.…

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La French (The Connection) – Cédric Jimenez

Apart from advertising a well-known brand of coffee alongside Hollywood celebrity George Clooney, Oscar winning actor Jean Dujardin has been largely absent from French screens. Now he’s back with the stylish thriller La French set in Marseille in the 1970s.  Comparisons with The French Connection, starring Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle, are hard to ignore,…

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A la Vie – Jean-Jacques Zilbermann

This is the second time director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann has tackled the true story of his mother’s relationship with the two women she met at Aushwitz concentration camp who became her lifelong best friends.  The first was the documentary Irene and Her Sisters and now A la Vie which details the lives of the three woman as…

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Respire – Mélanie Laurent

Mélanie Laurent is better known for her appearances in front of the camera. She has starred alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds), Jake Gyllenhaal (Enemy), Morgan Freeman (Now you see me, now you don’t) and Ewan McGregor (Beginners). After a lukewarm reception to her directorial debut, Les Adoptés, she is…