Roundtable discussion with Yamina Benguigui, Roger Mayer, Ourida Mostefai
Roundtable discussion with Merzak Allouache, Bourlem Guerdjou, Dominique Arel, Réda Bensmaïa, Michael Silverman
L’amour est à réinventer: dedans
directed by Marion Vernoux, France 1997, 8 minutes
L’enfant de la Coitat
directed by Arnaud Debrée, France 1989, 17 minutes
Le cri du Morpion
directed by Mathieu Szpiro, Philippe Tamburrini, France 1996, 11 minutes
directed by Eric Rochant, France 1986, 16 minutes
directed by Guy Jacques, France 1989, 13 minutes
directed by Pol Crutchen, France 1996, 80 minutes
Dju Dele Dibonga, a young Cape Verdean, travels to Luxembourg to find his father, who has been working as an immigrant laborer. He is befriended by Pleschette, a disillusioned and bitter Belgian copy who helps Dju in his search. From very different worlds, the two men discover a common ground as they journey across the country looking for Dju’s missing father. This unusual buddy film pairing veteran actor Philippe Léotard with up-and-coming talent Richard Courcet explores the racial tensions present in contemporary Belgian society. Screenplay by Frank Fietler.
cast Philippe Léotard, Richard Courcet, Patrice-Flora Praxo, François Hadjil-Lazzaro, Adama Kouuyate
Nettoyage à sec
directed by Anne Fontaine, France 1997, 95 minutes
Looking to add some excitement in their dull married lives, Jean-Marie and Nicole go to a local nightclub. Fascinated by Loic, who performs in a cross-dressing act with his sister, this couple find themselves drawn into this unconventional world. When Loic’s sister quits the act, he comes to live and work with Jean-Marie and Nicole at their dry cleaner. Welcomed into their home, Loic’s bizarre relationship with each family member begins to create an atmosphere of tension and hostility. It is only a matter of time before the stranger’s presence causes someone to do the unthinkable. Screenplay by Anne Fontaine and Gilles Taurand.
cast Miou-Miou, Charles Berling, Stanislas Merhar, Mathilde Seigner
directed by Tony Gatliff, France 1998, 97 minutes
Following in the footsteps of his musicologist father, a young Frenchman treks through Eastern Europe in search of a legendary Gypsy songstress. On the plains of Romania he is befriended by a heavy-drinking patriarch who introduces him to the local Rom community. He learns the Gypsy way of taking, drinking, dancing and cursing in this ambience-thick film. The Gypsy legacy of suffering and persecution, lurking on the fringes of Gatliff’s take is brought to the fore in a tragic climax which marks the final step in the hero’s transition from observer to full-fledged participant.
cast Romain Duris, Rona Hartner, Isidor Serban
directed by Merzak Allouache, France 1996, 98 minutes
Some have called this film a Gallic “Odd Couple” as we find Alilo, a sweet-natured country bumpkin who arrives fresh from Algeria and is amazed by the flamboyant lifestyle of his urbanized cousin Mok. Mok is an aspiring rap singer and a hopeless gambler who forms a sharp contrast to the neat and conservative Alilo. In a fantastic climax, Mok takes Alilo on an E.T.-inspired motorbike ride over the city’s magically lit streets.
cast Magaly Bertly, Gad Elmaleh, Ann Gisel Glass, Mess Hattou
Living in Paradise
Vire au paradis
directed by Bourlem Guerdjou, France 1998, 105 minutes
1961-1962, the Algerian war is under way. Lakhdar, an immigrant construction worker, lives in the Nanterre shantytown. He can no longer live alone without his wife and children whom he has left in Southern Algeria. Once he succeeds in bringing his family to France, he starts looking for an apartment to give them a decent life. In the meantime, he tries as best as he can to keep their heads above water and the poverty line. But he proves to be no match for the shantytown. To obtain the apartment of his dreams, Lakhtar becomes one of those profiteers who live off their brothers; backs by renting sleeping spaces to them. Jus as he is about to reach his goal, at the cost of a betrayal, History strikes back at him through the unexpected political commitment of his wife Nora….
cast Roschdy Zem, Fadila Belkrebla, Omar Bekhaled, Hiam Abbas, Farida Rabouadj, Ramsi Brari, Mustapha Adouani
Memories of Immigrants
directed by Yamina Benguigui, France 1997, 150 minutes
This film explores the historical, social and cultural dimensions of the immigration from North Africa to France. Drawing on extensive inter views as well as archival images, it beautifully evokes the long and difficult process of implantation in a new country and the changing attitudes of the French government and society towards its immigrants. Mémoires d’immigrés created a sensation in France when it was released in 1998. It provided the first strong voice for Maghreb immigrants in the heated debate on immigration.
Post Coïtum, animal triste
directed by Brigitte Roüan, France 1997, 97 minutes
As the film begins, Diane, a successful book editor happily married with two children, seems to have it all. Then she meets Emilio, the young roommate of one of her authors, and experiences a sexual passion beyond anything she has ever felt before. Jeopardizing her family and her career, she becomes consumed by their intense love affair. When Emilio leaves her, however, Diane suffers a total breakdown. Actress/director Roüan does not shy away from showing both the joy and the immense suffering that can result when you give yourself completely to another human being. Screenplay by Brigitte Roüan.
cast Brigitte Roüan, Nils Tavernier, Boris Terrai, Patrick Chesnais, Jean-Louis Richard, Françoise Arnol
The Life of Jesus
La vie de Jésus
directed by Bruno Demont, France 1997, 92 minutes
An unflinching look at life in Northern France, La vie de Jésus won the prestigious Jean Vigo Prize for first film. Dumont’s story focuses on the character of Freddy, an unemployed quasi-skinhead whose life revolves around his girlfriend Marie, their episodes of raw, passionless sex, and his motor scooter. The frustration and boredom Freddy and his dead-beat friends suffer comes to a head when Kadar, the son of Arab immigrants, takes an interest in Marie.
cast David Douche, Marjorie Cottreel, Geneviève Cottreel, Kader Chaatouf, Sébastien Delbaere
directed by Arnaud Desplechin, France 1998, 144 minutes
This intriguing conspiracy drama is an intense psychological exploration of Cold war politics. Mathias, Barillet, son of a German border guard, moves to France to study forensics. He finds himself being used as a pawn in a game of espionage where the rules are as mysterious as the stakes. A complex and fascinating first feature from a filmmaker worth watching. Screen play by Arnaud Desplechin, Emmanuel Bourdieu
cast Emmanuel Salinger, Valerie Dreville, Bruno Todeschini
Au Coeur du mensonge
directed by Claude Chabrol, France 1998, 104 minutes
On the heels of his 1995, La Céremonie, Claude Chabrol teams up with Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault for a stylish study of a pair of swindlers. Betty (Huppert) and Victor (Serrault) are content with small-time scams, until one day Betty lands a potential big score in the form of Maurice who has his hands on 5 million francs. The only question is, whose side is Betty on: Maurice’s, Victor’s or her own?
cast Isabelle Huppert, Micel Serrault, François Cluzet
To Have (or not)
En avoir (or pas)
directed by Laetitia Masson, France 1996, 90 minutes
Shot in Super 16 using available light and actual locations, this first feature by Laetitia Masson is a love story with a social conscience. Alice, fired from her job in a fish packing plant, escapes her mundane life in rural France to try her luck in Lyon. While staying in a traveller’s hotel, she encounters an unusual cast of characters. Alice forms an uneasy bond with Bruno, and insomniac, axs hey search together for some meaning in life. Screenplay by Laetitia Masson.
cast Sandrine Kiberlain, Arnaud Giovaninetti, Roschdy Zem, Claire Denis
directed by Manuel Poirier, France 1997, 121 minutes
After his samples are stolen by a hitchhiker who drives away with his car, Paco, a Spanish shoe salesman, is stranded in a small town in Brittany. He falls in love with a local woman and eventually even forms an unusual alliance with Nino, the car thief. When Paco’s new girlfriend tells him that she needs some space, it is Nino who suggests they hit the road. Their travels bring them into contact with the people of the French countryside, where each new experience tests the bonds of their friendship. Screenplay by Manuel Poirier.
cast Dominique Reymond, Daniel Duval, Jessica, Martinez, Alexandre Roger, Xavier Colonna
Will It Snow for Christmas?
Y aura-t-il de la neige à Noël?
directed by Sandrine Veysset, France 1997, 90 minutes
A contemplative and remarkable portrait of daily life on a rural French farm where a single mother cares for her seven illegitimate children. Treated like slave labor by their domineering father, the family sotically endures the hardship of this almost unbearably harsh environment and struggle to find joy in life-s more simple pleasures. Shot on location with a cast of non-professional actors, Veysset’s first film is a worthy heir to the long legacy of realism in French cinema.
cast Sergei Lopez, Sacha Bourdo, Elizabeth Vitali, Marie Matheron