Les Grands Esprits (The Teacher) – Olivier Ayache-Vidal

It’s difficult to find a new twist on the hackneyed classroom drama and Ayache-Vidal relies on the talent of his two lead actors to hold the audience’s interest. Denis Podalydès of the Comédie-Française is exceptional as the unadventurous classics teacher at one of France’s high achieving public schools while newcomer Abdoulaye Diallo displays a winning…

Bonne Pomme (Nobody’s Perfect) – Florence Quentin

Two of France’s most iconic actors – Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve – appear on screen for the tenth time in Florence Quentin’s lightweight romantic drama. And both talented actors deserve better than this tepid, confusing film which is clearly suffering from an identity crisis. Part comedy-part fantasy, Bonne Pomme never seems to get going…

Le Prix du Succès (The Price of Success) – Teddy Lussi-Modeste 

Who would have thought the world of stand-up comedy in France is such a cut-throat business? But Lussi-Modeste’s second full-length feature portrays a milieu where making people laugh is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Tahar Rahim is a successful stand-up comedian whose career is on the rise.  His brother and manager Mourad (Roschdy Zem…

Visages Villages – Agnes Varda and JR

It’s a strange partnership, iconic New Wave director Agnès Varda and hipster street artist JR, but the exchange of ideas between the two in Visages Villages is wonderfully engaging. The film is simplicity itself. Varda and JR cross France on a mission to put ordinary people and their stories in the spotlight. There are ex-miners,…

Ce Qui Nous Lie (Back to Burgundy) – Cédric Klapisch  

Fans of Cédric Klapisch have waited four years for the director to return to the big screen. Is Ce Qui Nous Lie worth the wait?  Klapisch is playing safe with a family drama set among the picturesque vineyards of southern France.  It’s about all the French hold dear – love, family, tradition – and of…

L’Amant Double – François Ozon

Ozon’s  L’Amant Double failed to pick up any prizes at this year’s Cannes Film Festival which is not to say his take on Joyce Carole Oate’s Lives of the Twins is without merit. This erotic thriller does the job of keeping the audience guessing and is full of entertaining filmic references and cinematic devices. But…

Sous le Meme Toit – Dominique Farrugia

 The couple who try to rebuild a relationship post-divorce is fertile ground for comedy.  Martin Bourboulon’s Papa ou Maman is an excellent example of an original idea, a well-written script and bucket loads of chemistry between the two lead actors Laurent Lafitte and Marina Foïs. Elements sadly lacking from Dominique Farrugia’s tedious comedy Sous le Meme Toit.  In an…

Django – Etienne Comar

Based on the 2013 novel Folles De Django by Alexis Salatko, Etienne Comar’s fictional account of popular gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt’s wartime experiences in occupied France singularly fails to capture the high-octane energy of the Belgian-born Romani musician. This is a disappointing debut for Comar who is in the director’s chair for the first time.…