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…

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…