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…

Five – Igor Gotesman

For audiences who like their comedy on the crude side with plenty of off-colour sexual references, endless scenes of dope smoking and even a modicum of scatalogical humour then Igor Gotesman’s directoral debut is just the ticket.  But disappointment awaits those attracted by the presence of Pierre Niney, formerly of the prestigious La Comédie Française,…

Eperdument (Down by Love) – Pierre Godeau

For his second feature, director Pierre Godeau’s has drafted in two of the finest of a younger generation of French actors. Guillaume Gallienne of the prestigious La Comédie Française who drew rave reviews for his directorial debut Les Garcons, et Guillaume, à Table for which he also received the 2014 Best Actor César.  And Adèle Exarchopoulos who…

Les Naufragés (Shipwrecked) – David Charhon

David Charhon’s disappointing comedy Les Naufragés is a waste of the talents of two gifted French actors – Daniel Auteuil and Laurent Stocker of the Comédie Française. Perhaps Charhon hoped to recreate the chemistry between the two leads that was behind the success of his last film De l’Autré Côté du Périph starring the ever-watchable Omar…

French films to watch out for in February

Chocolat – Roschdy Zem  After supporting roles in a number of films stateside including the monster box-office hit Jurassic World and the box-office flop Burnt, Omar Sy is back on home turf in Zem’s fourth directorial stint. Chocolat is the true story of France’s first black clown, Cuba’s Rafael Padilla. He and his partner Footit were…

Ange & Gabrielle  – Anne Giafferi

Anne Giafferi’s peppy, US-style romantic comedy, based on the play by Muriel Magellan L’Eveil du Chameau, is a perfect tonic for the winter blues.  Patrick Bruel (Ange) and Isabelle Carré (Gabrielle) make an attractive, if slightly older than usual, couple who fall in love after just the right measure of misunderstandings and misconceptions.  And the film…

Caprice – Emmanuel Mouret

Billed as a romantic comedy, Emmanuel Mouret’s Caprice struggles to fit the description.  True, love is the motor that drives the tangled relationships between the four leading characters, but any comedy is distinctly thin on the ground. Hopes Caprice will be an entertaining, American-style look at love among the Parisian middle class are raised by the opening…

L’Art de la Fugue (The Easy Way Out) – Brice Cauvin

Based on the novel by American author Stephen McCauley, Brice Cauvin’s second full-length feature is a flat, lifeless tale of a dysfunctional family which centres on each member’s inability to conduct a meaningful, loving adult relationship. Originally set in Boston, McCauley’s novel has not travelled well across the Atlantic.  When you take a story that…

Papa ou Maman (Daddy or Mommy) – Martin Bourboulon

Home-grown comedies are currently riding the crest of a wave in France. After the huge success of Qu’est ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu and the ongoing healthy performance at the box-office of La Famille Béllier, Martin Bourboulon’s debut feature Papa ou Maman has all the hallmarks of a bonafide hit. Co-written by Alexandre…