French Cinema Now, a celebration spotlighting the state of contemporary Francophone cinema will begin its week-long event run September 29 through October 6 at SIFF Cinema Uptown in San Francisco.
The week kicks off on Thursday with the Opening Night film, Lost in Paris, which marks the return of filmmaking duo Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel (The Fairy). In this whimsical adventure, a small town librarian heads to Paris to help her elderly aunt (Oscar® nominee Emmanuelle Riva), but after a slew of wild catastrophes finds herself relying on a a seductive but annoying bum who refuses to leave her alone. An after-party will take place at Bastille Café + Bar in Ballard.
Other French Cinema Now films were created by seasoned directors like Robert Guédiguian, Joachim Lafosse, and Danielle Arbid, playing alongside relative newcomers like Mélanie Laurent, Louis Garrel, Guy Édoin, and Jihane Chouaib. Highlights include the winner of the VPRO Big Screen Award at the 2016 Rotterdam Film Festival, Ogres, about a close-knit group of actors from the traveling theatrical company Chekhov Cabaret who share everything, family, work, friendship and even their bodies; Made In France, a riveting thriller ripped from the headlines about a group of young men who are drawn into following Hassan, a psychopathic French Islamic convert; Reset (with introduction by Peter Boal, Artistic Director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet), a documentary taking viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Opéra National de Paris, to witness artistic director Benjamin Millepied (the man behind the ballet for the film Black Swan) craft his first gala production for the company; and France’s biggest documentary of the past year, Tomorrow, a film by Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion, about affecting positive change in a world faced with seemingly insurmountable environmental challenges.
As a bonus, Virginie Paradis, founder of French Truly, will be presenting two films, Parisienne and Eva & Leon, with entertaining and informative 30 minute visual introductions of the cultural context of the respective films.
SIFF Director of Programming, Beth Barrett is particularly enthusiastic about this year’s program, “The 2016 French Cinema Now lineup is one of the most exciting in years – with four US premiere screenings, and award winning films from master filmmakers to first time directors – the world of Francophone Cinema is better than ever!”
Carl Spence, Chief Curator and SIFF Director, says “We’re very excited about this year’s lineup, being able to bring such a diverse group of films to the Francophile Seattle audience. Our continued partnership with TV5 Monde has allowed French Cinema Now to reach not only the Seattle viewers, but nationally through the TV5 Monde channel.”
Lost in Paris
Opening Night Film & Party
France | 2016 | 82 minutes | Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon
The filmmaking duo of Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel (The Fairy) return with a whimsical adventure about a small town librarian who heads to Paris to help her elderly aunt (Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva), but after a slew of wild catastrophes finds herself relying on a a seductive but annoying bum who refuses to leave her alone.
France | 2016 | 102 minutes | Thomas Lilti
In this tender drama from doctor-turned-director Thomas Lilti, a beloved country doctor (François Cluzet, Intouchables) is diagnosed with a potentially debilitating disease and is forced to train his eventual replacement, a colleague from the city (Marianne Denicourt) whose views on medicine, and bedside manner with the idiosyncratic rural patients, challenge the future of his practice.
France | 2016 | 98 minutes | Joachim Lafosse
In this slice of life family drama the marriage of Marie (Berenice Bejo, The Artist) and Boris (Cedric Kahn) is all but over, and yet they continue to cohabitate, along with their precocious daughters, the spacious apartment they have shared over the past decade, and each tries to hold on to what they think they contributed to their life together.
Canada (Québec) | 2016 | 105 minutes | Louis Bélanger
This Quebecois crime comedy follows a struggling actor and a wily farmer who conspire to raise a cannabis cash crop and are caught by a free spirited utilities inspector. Rather than turn them in, she becomes their newest partner, and with her help the winter harvest looks to be a bumper crop.
Made in France
France | 2015 | 89 minutes | Nicolas Boukhrief
Unexpectedly and unfortunately topical, this powerful, nail-biting thriller explores home-grown terrorism by following a journalist who infiltrates the Islamic fundamentalist networks operating in the Parisian high-rise suburbs, uncovering a group of four youths who have been given the mission to create a jihadist cell and to spread chaos throughout Paris.
France | 2016 | 117 minutes | Christophe Barratier
Based on a true story, this riveting financial thriller from Christophe Barratier (Les Choristes) is like a French version of The Big Short, showcasing how in 2008, Jérôme Kerviel, a 31-year-old trader at one of the largest banks in Europe, staged an extravagant five billion Euro gamble alone and in secret – an act of fraud that lead to one of the worst financial crisis in history.
France | 2015 | 118 minutes | Cyril Dion, Melanie Laurent
One of France’s biggest hits of the past year follows directors Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion as they travel the globe to uncover the major environmental issues facing the world. But instead of dire warnings, this hopeful documentary explores new ways of thinking and practical solutions that illustrate a positive plan for reversing global decline and building a better future.
France | 2015 | 92 minutes | Louis Garrel, Christophe Honoré
Actor-director Louis Garrel (The Dreamers) stars in this sweet, sour, and racy romantic comedy about two mismatched best friends – one a suave loverboy, the other a schluby film extra – who both fall for the same woman, a coffee shop attendant with a dark past.
Canada (Québec) | 2015 | 101 minutes | Guy Edoin
While shooting a film in Montréal, a French actress (the luminous Monica Bellucci) tries to mend relations with her son, who after witnessing a disturbing event, has a renewed interest in discovering the indentity of his father. Elsewhere in the city, an ambulance driver tries to keep a hold on his life while a kind-hearted nurse watches over him in the chaos of the emergency room. The collision of these four leaves their lives changed forever.
The Fabulous Patars
France | 2016 | 98 minutes | Sophie Reine
Beloved French actor and filmmaker Gustave Kervern stars as Denis Patar, a loving but overworked single father struggling to raise a pair of boisterous young daughters while holding down two jobs. After a cheerful social worker challenges the Patar family’s eccentric lifestyle, Denis’ life becomes even more hectic when he is forced to attend a parental training course.
France | 2015 | 119 minutes | Danielle Arbid
French-Lebanese director Danielle Arbid draws on personal experience in this captivating drama about an 18-year-old student (Manal Issa, in a stunning performance), newly arrived in 1990s Paris, who must negotiate both the turbulence of youth and the challenges faced by young female immigrants.
Film preceded by 30-minute introduction by Virginie Paradis of French Truly on the History of French Colonialism and its impact on immigration in France.
Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad
France | 2015 | 140 minutes | Robert Guédiguian
Set in late 1970s Paris, Robert Guédiguian’s thrilling drama explores the personal tolls of political radicalism after an angry young man chooses to protest the legacy of the Armenian Genocide by bombing the car of the Turkish Ambassador. When his actions end up seriously wounding a harmless bystander, he begins to question his commitment to a cause that is willing to sacrifice the innocent.
France | 2016 | 142 minutes | Léa Fehner
Drama is never in short supply at the traveling theatrical company Chekhov Cabaret, where a close-knit group of actors share everything – family, work, friendship, and even the occasional drunken orgy. Through good times and bad, the troupe’s sense of humor and often brutal honesty helps these eccentric nomads never forget what really matters: the theatre. Winner of the VPRO Big Screen Award at the 2016 Rotterdam Film Festival.
France | 2016 | 109 minutes | Thierry Demaizière, Alban Teurlai
Introduction by Peter Boal, Artistic Director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Filmmakers Thierry Demaiziere and Alban Teurlai take you on an immersive behind-the-scenes tour of the Opéra National de Paris, where artistic director Benjamin Millepied, the man behind the ballet for the film Black Swan, spends three exhaustive months crafting his first gala production for the company.
France | 2015 | 98 minutes | Jihane Chouaib
Beirut-born filmmaker Jihane Chouaib presents a moving study of life in modern-day Lebanon as told through the story of a young woman (Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, in a magnetic performance) who returns to her rural childhood home after years abroad in France. Unwelcome by the villagers and haunted by the murder of her grandfather during civil war, she begins to search for answers and discovers something unexpected – herself.
France | 2016 | 98 minutes | Phillippe Lioret
After a thirty-something divorced Parisian (Pierre Deladonchamps, Stranger by the Lake) receives a call notifying him that the father he has never known has passed away, he heads to Montreal for the funeral, only to discover that his unknown family, including two step brothers, aren’t aware of his existence – or even interested in it.
Eva & Leon
France | 2015 | 85 minutes | Émilie Cherpitel
This charming and heart-warming story of unlikely friendship in the heart of Paris begins when a free-spirited single professional woman (Clotilde Hesme from the hit Netflix series “Les Revenants”) visits her favorite café and meets a thoughtful and surprisingly mature 10-year-old orphan on a mission to find his mother.
Film preceded by 30-minute introduction by Virginie Paradis of French Truly on the social changes for children growing up in France at three different moments in time: 1950’s, 1980’s, 2010’s.