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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…

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Qui Vive (Insecure) – Marianne Tardieu

After Sylvie Ohayon’s Papa was Not a Rolling Stone and Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles, French cinema once again turns to life on one of France’s much maligned, high-rise housing estates for inspiration. While Ohayon and Sciamma found fresh takes on a well-documented social stratum, Marianne Tardieu’s Qui Vive is a disappointment, lacking rythmn and…

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La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai le Coeur – Cédric Anger

For his third outing as director, former Cahiers du Cinema journalist Cédric Anger has gone back to May 1978 and the true story of Alain Lamare, a gendarme, who went on an ten-month killing spree causing widespread fear among young women in the Oise region of France.  Anger’s La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai le Coeur is…

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Une Nouvelle Amie (The New Girlfriend) – François Ozon

After the award winning Jeune et Jolie, which was in competition for the coveted Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, François Ozon again explores sexuality with the noirish-drama, Une Nouvelle Amie (The New Girlfriend). Loosely based on a short story by British author Ruth Rendell – the mistress of the psychological thriller –…

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Bande de Filles (Girlhood) – Céline Sciamma

Widely praised at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles lives up to expectations with an emotionally-charged, vibrant tale of four young women living in one of France’s notorious housing estates just to the north of  Paris. Sciamma brings an authenticity to her film by avoiding cliché and caricature and searching beyond the…

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Vie Sauvage – Cédric Kahn

Award winning director Cédric Kahn’s Vie Sauvage (Wild Life) is an intriguing film based on a true story which defies expectations and raises several questions over the issue of child rearing in a techology-obsessed society. It also challenges the idea of the superiority of the mother-child bond and presents a compelling argument for greater acknowledgement…

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Geronimo – Tony Gatlif

The opening scene of a young woman in a wedding dress running for her life sets the tone of Tony Gatlif’s Geronimo, a high-energy, vibrant story of clan rivalry set in the south of France.  The director uses an hypnotic mix of dance and music, professional and non-professional actors, set against the heat of a…

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Samba – Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache

It’s a tough act to follow. Intouchables took 332 million euros worldwide and made a star of Omar Sy.  Directors Eric Toledana and Olivier Nakache have kept to a winning formula by again casting Sy in the lead role, but Samba lacks the magic ingredient that made Intouchables such a big hit. Its stellar cast including Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tahar…

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Papa was not a Rolling Stone – Sylvie Ohayon

For her first outing as director Sylvie Ohayon has adapted her autobiographical novel, Papa was not a Rolling Stone, to the big screen. It’s a coming-of-age film set in the notorious 4000 housing estate in La Courneuve on the outskirts of Paris which pulls no punches in it depiction of how grim life was back…