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.…

A Bras Ouverts  (With Open Arms) – Philippe de Chauveron

Philippe de Chauveron hit box-office gold with Serial ‘Bad’ Weddings in 2014. With over 12 million admissions it was the year’s most popular French film.  Its overtly rascist humour was too much for anglophone audiences and the film was not picked up by distributors either in the UK or the US.  But this didn’t stop…

Telle mère, Telle fille (Like mother, Like daughter) – Noémie Saglio

Director Noémie Saglio and actress Camille Cottin make a formidable team. Cottin has appeared in Saglio’s last three films – Toute Première Fois, Harry Me – The Royal Bitch of Buckingham and this latest outing-  Telle Mère, Telle Fille.  Harry Me, a toe-curling series of candid-camera gags was a box office success in France with…

Sage Femme (The Midwife) – Martin Provost

Director Martin Provost continues to focus on female relationships in his latest film Sage Femme which brings together for the first time two of France’s most seasoned actresses – Catherine Deneuve (La Tete Haute) and Catherine Frot (Marguerite). After wowing critics with Séraphine in 2008, Provosts’s Sage Femme is a disappointingly dull film which lacks a…

L’Embarras du Choix – Eric Lavaine

Director Eric Lavaine’s L’Embarras du Choix is a formulaic romantic comedy more at home on the small screen than deserving of the full cinema treatment.  It follows the box-office success of Lavaine’s last stint in the director’s chair, Retour Chez Ma Mere, and redrafts the same lead actress Alexandre Lamy.  L’Embarras du Choix sits neatly…

Chacun Sa Vie – Claude Lelouche

Veteran director Claude Lelouche turns 80 in October and has struggled in recent years to find the form which earned him an Oscar for A Man and a Woman in 1967.  His last film, Un + Une, a quirky romantic comedy set in India with Jean Dujardin and Elza Zylberstein in the lead roles, saw a partial…

Rock’n Roll – Guillaume Canet

Guillaume Canet’s Rock’n’ Roll is a fine example of a genre of film not often seen from French directors. In addition, this self-parodying film comes from an actor/director not well-known for his pure comic talent.  Canet is more often seen in taut thrillers like La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai le Coeur or L’Homme qu’on Aimait…

Raid dingue (RAID: Special unit) – Dany Boon

It’s a testament to the popularity of Dany Boon that a run-of the-mill comedy like RAID Dingue can pull in over a million spectators in less than a week. Boon has been a sure-fire hit at the box office since the huge success of Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks) in 2008. And…

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…