Dalida – Lisa Azuelos

Lisa Azuelos’s film of one of France’s most popular singers skims over the surface of the life of the Egyptian/Italian artist to hone in on her disastrous relationships with men interspersed with a race through some of her most memorable hits. For a singer who sold over 80 million records worldwide, this is no mean feat.  But it’s doubtful if…

Un Sac de Billes (A Bag of Marbles) – Christian Duguay

Christian Duguay’s Un Sac de Billes is the second time the best-selling autobiographical novel has been brought to the big screen coming over forty years after Jacques Doillon’s own adaptation of the book by Joseph Jollo.  On the positive side, Duguay’s film is beautifully shot and boasts fine performances from its two main actors aged just 17 and 12-years-old.…

Isabelle Huppert up for Best Actress Oscar and César awards

After taking the Golden Globe for Best Actress on January 8 for her magnificent performance in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, Isabelle Huppert is now in the running for a much coveted Oscar award as well as a César, the French equivalent of the Academy Awards. Huppert faces tough Oscar competition from some of Hollywood’s most respected…

Elle – Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven’s Elle is not an easy film to like.  A black comedy/thriller based around a brutal rape and the female victim’s eventual revenge is bound to be contoversial.  And it’s debatable whether many other actresses apart from Isabelle Huppert could pull off such a delicate balancing act.  Aside from the plot, Verhoeven casts an almost…

La Mechanique de l’Ombre (Scribe) –  Thomas Kruithof

Not even a fine performance from François Cluzet as a reformed alcoholic who is haplessly drawn into a web of political intrigue can rescue Thomas Kruithof’s first full-length feature.  Billed as a thriller, La Mechanique de l’Ombre gets off to a promising start as Duval (Cluzet)  loses his job and marriage to executive burn out and is forced to accept…

Demain Tout Commence – Hugo Gélin

Director Hugo Gélin’s latest comedy is a sugar-coated tale of a dyed-in-the-wool bachelor whose life changes dramatically when he is literally left holding the baby.  It initially smacks of Coline Serreau’s 3 Hommes et Un Couffin  (Three Men and a Baby) as  Samuel  (Omar Sy) struggles to adapt to fatherhood, with its many demands and sacrifices.…

La Fille de Brest – Emmanuelle Bercot 

In her continuing crusade against social injustice, director Emmanuelle Bercot takes on the pharmaceutical industry in La Fille de Brest, the true story of one female doctor’s fight to withdraw a harmful drug from the French market. The Mediator scandal grabbed headlines in France almost ten years ago and La Fille de Brest bravely attempts…

Le Petit Locataire (A Bun in the Oven) – Nadège Loiseau 

Nadège Loiseau’s directorial debut is an adaptation of her short film Le Locataire developed here into a full length comic feature.  Karin Viard (La Famille Bèlier, 21 Nuits avec Pattie) does a sterling job as Nicole Payan, a 49-year old woman, mother of two grown-up children, who finds she is expecting a third child.  Billed as a…

Iris – Jalil Lespert

Jalil Lespert’s Iris is an entertaining thriller loosely based on Hideo Nakata’s novel Chaos. Australian screenwriter Andrew Bovell  who penned A Most Wanted Man and Lantana,  wrote the original adaptation of the Japanese film, with Lespert and his Yves Saint Laurent co-writer, Jérémie Guez, tackling the French version of the script. Iris is smart and sassy with a well-paced plot…

L’Odyssée – Jérôme Salle

For a film about a figure as iconic as Jacques Yves Cousteau, Jérôme Salle’s L’Odyssée struggles to get to grips with the man who for television viewers of the late 60s onwards was the last word in underwater documentary making.  While the Americans were exploring space, Cousteau took viewers into the equally unknown and distinctly closer world…