TV5Monde Cinema on Demand is offering a feast of top French films for Francophiles and French cinema fans who missed out on Seattle International Film Festival’s French Cinema Now mini-festival. This year’s showcase has all-new Francophone cinema and a range of seasoned directors such as Cédric Kahn, Philippe Fernandez and Bruno Podalydès with some of France’s top actors on screen including Mathieu Kassovitz, Tahar Rahim and Adèle Exarchopoulos. The choice of nine films includes two of my personal favourites – The Sweet Escape and Wild Life.
The Sweet Escape – There’s a definite whiff of Wes Anderson about actor/director Bruno Podalydès Comme Un Avion, the first film where he pushes aside his younger sibling Denis to take on the lead role himself to great effect. It a delightful film, full of subtle humour which swings between absurd, surreal comedy and Jacques Tatiesque gentle slapstick. Read more: http://frenchcinemareview.com/2015/06/12/comme-un-avion-the-sweet-escape-bruno-podalydes/
Wild Life – 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 in French divorce courts for the role of the father in raising a family. Read more: http://frenchcinemareview.com/2014/10/31/vie-sauvage-cedric-kahn/
High Society – Julie Lopes-Curval’s fourth outing as director, is a coming-of-age film which casts the net wide in a bid to cover several issues only to fall on well-trodden ground. Her first film, Bords de Mer (Seaside) won the Golden Camera award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and her last film Mères et Filles starring Catherine Denevue was nominated for best Feature at the 2009 Chicago Film Festival. Read more: http://frenchcinemareview.com/2014/08/15/le-beau-monde-julie-lopes-curval/)
The Tournament directed by Elodie Namer. Chess mastermind Cal Fournier (Michelangelo Passaniti) wins every game. After defeating his usual competition, his skills are really put to the test when he has to outmanoeuver his biggest competition – an unusual 9-year-old (Adam Courbier). This is Namer’s first time in the director’s chair. Already a successful TV-writer, she says she drew on own experience as a chess player to craft the film. Lou de Laâge, who was nominated for a Best Newcomer Award at this year’s Cesar ceremony for her role in Mélanie Laurent’s Respire, plays Cal’s love interest and possible chess rival.
Cosmodrama directed by Philippe Fermandez. In this comedy seven astronauts wake up in a spaceship en route to an undiscovered land unable to tell what will happen next and if they will survive. Cosmodrama is the second full-length feature by Fernandez who alongside his work as a director is a professor at the Beaux Arts faculty in Bordeaux as well as an artist and video-maker. Cosmodrama was entered in the ACID compeititon for independent cinema at the Cannes film festival and marks one of France’s rare incursions into the Scence Fiction genre.
The Anarchists directed by Elie Wajeman. Chosen to infiltrate a group of anarchists, Jean Albertini is all business and no games. As he gets closer to each group member, he slowly begins to fall in love with Judith Lorillard, the leader’s girlfriend. This film stars César award-winning actors Tahar Rahim as Jean Albertini and Adèle Exarchopoulos as Judith Lorillard.It is the director’s second film following the critically acclaimed Aliyah which won the Camera d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Fatima directed by Philippe Faucon. Longing for a better relationship with her daughters, Fatima writes to her family in Arabic because she can’t express her words in French. To ensure the best possible future for them, she works as a cleaning woman to provide for her household. Faucon’s film is based on a loose adaptation of Priere a la lune (“Prayer to the Moon”), a short collection of poems and other writings by Fatima Elayoubi, a North African woman who emigrated to France with her husband and gradually taught herself to speak French. It was well received by critics as part of the Director’s Fortnight at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and has proved popular with French audiences as well with over 66,000 admission in its first week.
Métamorphoses directed by Christophe Honoré is a contemporary adaptation of Ovid’s colossal collection of Greco-Roman mythe. His previous films include the award winning Love Stories starring Ludivine Sagnier and Louis Garrel.
Anton Chekhov directed by René Féret, who died earlier this year, recreates the life of Russian physician and playwright Anton Chekhov as he travels to the Siberian Sakhalin Island during the 19th century. It was on this island that he created some of his most brilliant and famous pieces. Nicolas Giraud has the title role with Lolita Chammah as his beloved sister Maria. Giraud will be better known to international audiences as one of the kidnappers in Pierre Morel’s box-office hit Taken.