Author Archives: french

Le Fils de Joseph / The Son of Joseph

American-born, Paris-based, and French through and through, eccentric
auteur Eugène Green follows his international breakthrough La Sapienza
with another story about the passing of knowledge and strength from one
generation to another—from older to younger, but also, and most importantly,
from younger to older. The Son of Joseph is a loose retelling of the Nativity set
in modern-day Paris, in a literary milieu depicted with a fiercely satirical touch.
Teenager Vincent lives alone with his mother Marie and has never known his
father. One day he discovers that the man who impregnated his mother is
Oscar Pormenor, a dissolute, elitist publisher played with comic gusto by the
great Mathieu Amalric. In trying and failing to approach his biological father,
Vincent meets Joseph, Oscar’s brother—the black sheep of the Pormenor
family, and a man of deep natural goodness. Vincent resolves to serve as
matchmaker to Joseph and his single mother Marie, thereby turning Joseph
into his father and creating an inspiring allegory that indicates that the man
can be made by the child and the family based on values rather than blood. The
Son of Joseph introduces the captivating Victor Ezenfis as Vincent, who joins
Eugène Green regulars Fabrizio Rongione and Natacha Régnier in performing
in Green’s signature affectless style, opening their faces to the viewer’s gaze
with a generosity that this spiritual filmmaker and warrior against cynicism
would certainly suggest is a view into their souls.

DIRECTOR
Eugene Green

SCREENPLAY
Eugene Green

CAST
Victor Ezenfis
Natacha Régnier
Fabrizio Rongione
Mathieu Amalric

DETAILS
Comedy, Drama
French
115 min.
France, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Kino Lorber

PRICE RANGE
$500

Fort Buchanan

Equal parts gender-bending and genre-bending, Fort Buchanan is the first
feature by Benjamin Crotty, a Paris-based American director who promises
to be a major voice in contemporary cinema. The film follows the loves and
losses of a group of army wives and husbands over four seasons, from the
autumnal grays of a French forest to the burning sun of a Middle Eastern
desert. Everything about this community of army spouses defies expectations:
American soldiers speak perfect French, their barracks look like boutique
hotels or utopian architectural experiments, a daughter beats her father,
and the male officers’ husbands seamlessly blend in with the army wives. Yet
underlying this fanciful remix of reality are subtle but steady reminders of
darker truths: American wars in the Middle East, global financial crisis, and
loneliness in the era of teleconferencing. Crotty achieved his delirious blend
of melancholy and camp comedy, soap opera narrative and arty conceit by
compiling and translating dialogue from American reality shows and shaping
it into a love story and character study influenced by great French naturalists
like Eric Rohmer. The result is genuinely one-of-a-kind, an inspiring indication
of the way ahead for queer cinema in an ever-more scrambled world.

DIRECTOR
Benjamin Crotty

SCREENPLAY
Benjamin Crotty

CAST
Andy Gillet
Iliana Zabeth
Mati Diop
Judith Lou Lévy

DETAILS
Comedy, Drama
65 min.
France, Tunisia 2016
Blu-Ray, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Grasshopper Film

PRICE RANGE
$250

Frantz

Shortly after World War I, in a provincial German town conspicuously devoid
of its young men, Anna discovers a stranger at the grave of her late fiancé
Frantz, one of the thousands of young Germans killed in the war. The stranger
soon introduces himself to Anna and Frantz’s parents as Adrien, a French
friend of the dead soldier. Growing fond of Adrien, Anna begins to come out of
mourning for Frantz and once again embraces her future. Then Adrien makes
a terrible confession and disappears, forcing Anna to go searching for him
in Paris. With this stirring adaptation of Ernst Lubistch’s classic melodrama
Broken Lullaby, François Ozon, a master of cinematic dissemblance, delivers
a sumptuous period piece that asks whether a lie can ever be healthier than
the truth. Coming at a time when the European Union appears at its most
vulnerable, Frantz is also a meditation on Europe: Anna’s journey to France
mirrors Adrien’s to Germany, bridging the bloody differences between the
two nations in 1919 to show how much they have in common—as well as the
nagging strains of nationalism and xenophobia. But this lush romance filmed
in black and white and color is above all a profoundly unusual and effective
pacifist film, which—aside from one brief but devastating flashback—takes
place entirely after the war, surveying the human damage both on the winning
and the losing sides.

DIRECTOR
François Ozon

SCREENPLAY
François Ozon

CAST
Pierre Niney
Paula Beer
Ernst Stötzner
Marie Gruber
Johann von Bülow
Anton von Lucke
Cyrielle Clair
Alice de Lencquesaing

DETAILS
Drama
French, German
113 min.
France, Germany, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Music Box Films

PRICE RANGE
DVD or Blu-Ray : $350
DCP : $500

Homeland: Irak année zéro / Homeland: Irak Year Zero

No matter how much they have read or seen about the situation in Iraq
since the US invasion in 2003, it is unlikely most American viewers will have
encountered anything like French-Iraqi director Abbas Fahdel’s Homeland:
Iraq, a monumental but startlingly intimate look at life in Baghdad and the
Iraqi countryside before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Filming his own
brothers and sisters and, most memorably, his vivacious young nephews and
nieces, Fahdel provides an unforgettable documentary portrait of everyday life
in the shadow of war. The film is divided into two feature-length parts: Before
the Fall follows the middle-class family’s preparations for war, while After
the Battle finds the director’s family members serving as guides through the
chaos of a post-invasion city in which ordinary citizens are caught between
a trigger-happy occupying force and unbridled violent crime. Fahdel is at his
most masterful in seamlessly weaving in history and providing context for the
tragedy of the Iraqi people: in the first part, the memory of the first Gulf War
is omnipresent, while in the second part, tongues are loosened by the fall of
Saddam and the terrible human cost of his regime is revealed. A heartrending
reminder of cinema’s ability to create empathy and understanding across
borders, Homeland: Iraq is as close as the movies come to providing the viewer
with a moral obligation to watch.

DIRECTOR
Abbas Fahdel

DETAILS
Documentary
Arabic
334 min.
Part 1 – Before the Fall: 160 min.
Part 2 – After the Battle: 174 min.
France, 2015
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Kino Lorber

PRICE RANGE
$500

I Don’t Belong Anywhere: le cinéma de Chantal Akerman / I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman

When Belgian writer-director Chantal Akerman died in the fall of 2015, the
outpouring of stricken tributes from around the world underlined that one of
the most significant artists of our era had passed, a filmmaker who had worked
so long and so steadily, in so many mediums and such different scales, that
her art may have come to be taken for granted. Some may know that Chantal
Akerman directed the landmark feature Jeanne Dielman in 1975, entering
film history at the age of 25 with a movie hailed as a feminist masterpiece,
but few, if any, could realize the extent of her achievement. With I Don’t
Belong Anywhere, Akerman’s close friend and collaborator Marianne Lambert
provides the first overall picture of her work, an ideal introduction to those
who have not yet discovered her films and a thought-provoking opportunity
to revisit and make new connections for those who have. Moving astutely
between extensive clips from the films and her own footage of Akerman in
conversation, Lambert identifies key themes—the lives of women, urban life
and exile, Judaism, the Holocaust, the United States and Russia—and creates
a portrait of the artist as a generous, strikingly intelligent woman. In allowing
us to hear once more from a filmmaker who refused all labels, I Don’t Belong
Anywhere is an invigorating reminder of art’s task to break down borders and
extend new frontiers.

DIRECTOR
Marianne Lambert

SCREENPLAY
Luc Jabon & Marianne Lambert

CAST
Chantal Akerman

DETAILS
Documentary
English, French
67 min.
Belgium, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Icarus Films

PRICE RANGE
$200 discounted Tournées Film
Festival rate for one screening
$150 discounted rate when booked
for a Tournées Film Festival program
as a double-feature with Chantal
Akerman’s “No Home Movie”

Louise en hiver / Louise by the Shore

When elderly widow Louise misses the last train out of the seaside resort
she usually summers in, she finds herself stranded in a ghost town of empty
buildings and waxing and waning tides. She soon becomes a genteel Robinson
Crusoe, building a hut on the beach and settling in with a raggedy talking dog
and the memories of her childhood. A rare example of animation primarily
aimed at an adult audience, Louise by the Shore has been compared in the
pages of French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma to an episode of The Twilight
Zone revisited by Jacques Tati (with a hint of Proust for good measure). But
this offbeat gem is truly one of a kind and a welcome reminder from French
veteran Jean-François Laguionie that animation can be a medium for quiet
lyricism and characters rarely given center stage in live action film. Voiced by
French theater star Dominique Frot’s scratchy, measured singsong, with an
evocative soundtrack of solo piano and occasional choral music, Louise by
the Shore is a delightfully tranquil meditation on solitude and the passage
of time, a profound antidote to the twenty-four-hour news cycle and other
contemporary torments. It is animated using an innovative combination of
traditional 2D animation and digital imaging to create the effect of gently but
constantly shifting watercolors, perfectly suited to this poetic fantasy of offseason
life by the sea.

DIRECTOR
Jean-François Laguionie

SCREENPLAY
Jean-François Laguionie

CAST
Dominique Frot
Diane Dassigny
Tom Anthony
Jean-François Laguionie

DETAILS
Animation
French
75 min.
Canada, France, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
First Run Features

PRICE RANGE
$350 – $500

Quand on a 17 ans / Being 17

With Being 17, the great French writer-director André Téchiné returns to
the subject matter of his masterpiece Wild Reeds, a 1994 feature about the
sexual awakening of a handful of teenagers in the rural southwest of France
during the Algerian war, and a landmark in the representation of gay youth in
French cinema. In this new film, the time is the present and the setting the
majestic landscape of the Pyrenees. Seventeen-year-old Damien lives alone
with his mother, a doctor, while his father is deployed overseas with the French
army. At school, he is a good student but an outsider. He is frequently bullied
by Thomas, a biracial boy who must commute several hours a day from his
adoptive family’s remote farm high in the mountains. When Damien’s mother
meets Thomas through an emergency house-call to his mother, she discovers
the hardships the boy must face to go to school and eventually invites him to
move in with her family to be close to the classroom. The relationship between
Damien and Thomas only gets worse and the two boys soon come to blows.
Yet as both their families face major upheavals, Damien realizes he is in love
with Thomas. With Being 17, Téchiné has made his best film in years, returning
to his winning mix of subtly observed naturalism and narrative developments
worthy of the great melodramas to give us another memorable depiction of
the trials and triumphs of coming of age and coming out.

DIRECTOR
André Téchiné

SCREENPLAY
Céline Sciamma & André Téchiné

CAST
Sandrine Kiberlain
Kacey Mottet Klein
Corentin Fila

DETAILS
Drama / LGBT
French
116 min.
France, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Strand Releasing

PRICE RANGE
$250 – $400 depending on size of
screening and format

Ma vie de courgette / My Life as a Zucchini

Though bravely realistic, Swiss director Claude Barras’s charming stopmotion
animated film is an unexpectedly uplifting look at childhood tragedy.
After his alcoholic mother’s death, nine-year-old Icare—known to his friends
as Zucchini—is placed in a group home where he soon forms alliances and
rivalries with a group of kids in equally difficult circumstances, including the
son of drug addicts and the daughter of a deported refugee. But it takes the
arrival of the recently orphaned Camille for Zuchini to know he has found a
friend for life. Which means that when Camille’s nasty aunt appears to take
her away, the kids band together to find a way to keep her at the home. Though
Barras and screenwriter Céline Sciamma (a powerhouse of contemporary
French cinema as the writer/director of international hit Girlhood) never pull
punches in describing the challenges faced by their characters, My Life as a
Zucchini is imbued with a real-life sense of childhood wonder, both through its
inventive animation and its commitment to exclusively telling the story from
the children’s perspective. The result is a marvelously nuanced, finely crafted
depiction of childhood, as appealing to young people as adults. Following a
triumphant premiere at the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival,
My Life as a Zucchini wooed general audiences in France with its idiosyncratic
style and bold treatment of its subject. It has since been nominated for a 2017
Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

DIRECTOR
Claude Barras

SCREENPLAY
Céline Sciamma
CAST (Voices)

FRENCH Version:
Gaspard Schlatter
Sixtine Murate
Paulin Jaccoud
Michel Vuillermoz

ENGLISH Version:
Will Forte
Nick Offerman
Ellen Page
Amy Sedaris

DETAILS
Coming-of-Age, Animation, Family
French
68 min.
France, Switzerland, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP

DISTRIBUTOR
GKIDS

PRICE RANGE
$300

Marguerite

Marguerite Dumont is an incredibly wealthy woman who has devoted her
life to singing opera. There’s only one problem and it’s a problem no one will
dare to mention to her, starting with her husband: she cannot sing in tune to
save her life. From this brilliant premise based on the true story of Florence
Foster Jenkins, the American socialite and calamitous singer who inspired
the recent Meryl Streep film (and a character in Citizen Kane), writer-director
Xavier Gianolli draws a marvelously rich tale, mining the comic possibilities as
well as the genuine tragedy of a woman living in a world of illusion sustained
by sycophants. Gianolli also creates a striking portrait of Paris in the twenties,
taking in the aristocratic milieu as well as the ferment of subversive art
movements and the Bohemian demimonde. Marguerite is a tour de force of
controlled chaos, brimming with eccentric characters and opulent set pieces,
all orbiting around the irresistible figure of Marguerite, a woman whose
dedication is an inspiration—until it turns to madness and cautionary tale.
For her unforgettable performance in Marguerite, Catherine Fort was awarded
the 2015 César (French Oscar) for best actress in a leading role.

DIRECTOR
Xavier Giannoli

SCREENPLAY
Xavier Giannoli & Marcia Romano

CAST
Catherine Frot
André Marcon
Michel Fau
Christa Theret
Denis Mpunga
Sylvain Dieuaide
Aubert Fenoy
Sophia Leboutte
Théo Cholbi

DETAILS
Drama
English, French, Italian
129 min.
Belgium, Czech Republic,
France, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP

DISTRIBUTOR
Cohen Media Group

PRICE RANGE
From $250

La mort de Louis XIV / The Death of Louis XIV

After rising to the top of the festival circuit with astonishing retellings of Don
Quixote, the Nativity, and the life of Casanova, the unpredictable Catalan
auteur Albert Serra takes on two icons at once: the Sun King and the celebrated
French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud. By offering the role of Louis XIV to the man
who played Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and its sequels, as well as starring
in epochal modernist films by Godard and Pasolini, Serra has given film lovers
the opportunity to once more marvel at the unmatched talent of a performer
whose every gesture and intonation seems a work of poetry. Playing Louis XIV
in the last days of his life, surrounded by his obsequious courtiers and—in one
hilarious scene—his beloved greyhounds, Léaud reaches new heights, using
his aura as a legend of cinema to cast the long shadow of a fading Sun King.
Serra’s trademark philosophical wit is put to good use in this warts-and-all
depiction of the frailty of a feared monarch, as is his marvelous command of
chiaroscuro lighting. Inspired by the memoirs of the duc de Saint-Simon, The
Death of Louis XIV feels as rigorously accurate as it is profoundly imaginative.

DIRECTOR
Albert Serra

SCREENPLAY
Albert Serra & Thierry Lounas

CAST
Jean-Pierre Léaud
Patrick D’Assumçao
Marc Susini
Iréne Silvagni
Bernard Belin
Jacques Henric

DETAILS
Historical Drama
French
115 min.
France, Portugal, Spain, 2016
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Cinema Guild

PRICE RANGE
$375 Blu-Ray / DVD
$450 DCP
Depending on the size of the venue