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.…

Les Chevaliers Blancs (White Knights) – Joachim Lafosse

Lafosse’s film is based on the true story of Zoé’s Ark, a French NGO whose members were arrested for illegally trying to fly 103 African children from Chad to France in 2007. At the time the story raised questions over whether the affair was simply humanitarian goodwill gone wrong or more worryingly a sinister cover for…

Arrêtez-moi là (Stop me here) – Gilles Bannier

For his first move from the small to the big screen, director Gilles Bannier has drafted in the superb Reda Kateb as a taxi-driver wrongly accused of the abduction of a young girl.  Despite the presence of Kateb and the equally watchable Léa Drucker, Arrêtez-moi là is a ‘fence-sitter’ of a film. Neither compelling human drama nor…

Joachim Lafosse’s Les Chevaliers Blancs wins director’s prize at San Sebastian Festival

Joachim Lafosse’s Les Chevaliers Blancs won the director’s prize at last weekend’s San Sebastian International Film Festival. Vincent Lindon, Louise Bourgoin, Valérie Donzelli, Reda Kateb star in the story of Jacques Arnault, head of Sud Secours NGO, who is planning to exfiltrate 300 orphans victims of Chadian civil war and bring them to French adoption applicants. Françoise…

La Résistance de l’Air – Fred Grivois

For his debut feature Fred Grivois has called on the talent of successful French scriptwriters Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré. The duo were responsible for Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan which took the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.  Bidegain also wrote Audiard’s award winning Un Prophète and De Rouille et d’Os and has recently…

L’Astragale – Brigitte Sy

For her second stint behind the camera, Brigitte Sy has brought together two of the most talented of a younger generation of French actors – Reda Kateb and Lei¨la Bekhti.  And they are unmatched as the ill-fated lovers Julien and Albertine drawn from the autographical novel written by the young, Algerian-born Albertine Sarrazin in 1965 .The…

Timbuktu wins big at French Césars ahead of Oscar ceremony

Abderrahmane Sissako was the undisputed winner of the 40th Césars awards ceremony Friday night with his highly praised  Timbuktu taking home seven awards including best film and best director. Earlier this month, Timbuktu was awarded the coveted Prix Lumiere at a ceremony in Paris. On Friday Timbuktu also picked up the award for best original screenplay, best…

Qui Vive (Insecure) – Marianne Tardieu

After Sylvie Ohayon’s Papa was Not a Rolling Stone and Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles, French cinema once again turns to life on one of France’s much maligned, high-rise housing estates for inspiration. While Ohayon and Sciamma found fresh takes on a well-documented social stratum, Marianne Tardieu’s Qui Vive is a disappointment, lacking rythmn and…

Hippocrate – Thomas Lilti

Thomas Lilti’s Hippocrate is a warts-and-all look at the life of a junior doctor starting his career as an intern in a Parisian hospital and it’s a damning portrait of what is often reputed to be the best health system in the world. Like crisis-ridden countries everywhere, French doctors are having to deal with budget…