2012 Festival

2012 Festival

2012 poster2012 poster

GUEST: CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON

 

Bus Palladium

DIRECTED BY Christopher Thompson

France | 2010 | 100 mn
CAST Marc-André Grondin, Arthur Dupont, Géraldine Pilhas, François Civil
Actor-screenwriter and Brown alum Christopher Thompson's directorial debut, Bus Palladium, named after a famous Parisian nightclub,restages the glory days of the 1980s French rock scene. The film depicts the euphoric highs and nauseating lows of musical stardom. Childhood friends Lucas, Manu, Philip, Jacob and Mario are all trying to make it big in the music industry. They seem unstoppable, with talent and ambition, sincere dreams of musical glory, and a very catchy band name: Lust. Speaking of which, enter Laura, an up-and-coming rock icon who seduces the young friends with her alternative sounds and her all-too-familiar feminine wiles. This film is a thrilling and nostalgic ride, resurrecting the glory days of glam love, Super 8, David Bowie, rooftop poetry, and cocaine egos.

Les derniers jours du monde (Happy ends)
DIRECTED BY Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu
France | 2009 | 130 mn
CAST Matthieu Almaric, Catherine Frot, Karin Viard, Sergi Lopez
What would you do if you knew the world was coming to an end and there was not a thing you could do to stop it? The Larrieu Brothers attempt to find closure for the end of the universe in their latest film, which provides a fresh spin on the age-old question of imminent apocalypse. The film mixes genres, imagining the apocalypse as part sci-fi thriller, part romantic comedy, and with a splash of surrealism à la Luis Buñuel. Bathtub salesman, Robinson, is our unlikely protagonist. Robinson sees the end of the world as a timely opportunity for romance. After abandoning his wife and daughter for Laetitia, Robinson resolves to chase after his new lover, countering the end of times with an impossible quest for romantic fulfillment. With a hazy narrative structure that mimes the logic of a dream sequence, we follow Robinson from Taiwan to Canada and from France to Spain, alternating between images from his immodest past and his catastrophic present.

Les émotifs anonymes (Romantic anonymous)
DIRECTED BY Jean-Pierre Améris
France- Belgium | 2010 | 80 mn
CAST Benoît Poelvoorde, Isabelle Carré, Lorella Cravotta
Jean-Pierre Améris' Romantics Anonymous would be an otherwise typical romantic comedy were it not for the paralyzing shyness of its romantic leads. Jean-René, the timid owner of a failing chocolate factory, hires Angélique, a talented but equally timid chocolate maker. While working together at the chocolate shop and trying to overcome their timidity, the two fall madly in love. With the future of the chocolate business hanging in the balance, both Jean-René and Angélique must struggle to overcome their self-effacing tendencies in order to confess their amorous feelings and save their business. Carré received the 2011 César for Best French Actress for her performance.

La fée (The fairy)
DIRECTED BY Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy
Belgium, France | 2011 | 93 mn
CAST Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy
From the team who brought us the hilarious Iceberg and Rumba, this film is a new take on a "fractured fairy-tale" formula. La fée follows an old school approach to light-hearted comic scenarios; a series of slapstick episodes recall the silent film era. Dom works the night shift in a small hotel near Le Havre. One night Fiona arrives with no luggage and no shoes. She tells Dom she is a fairy and grants him three wishes. Fiona makes two wishes come true then mysteriously disappears. Dom, who by then has fallen in love with Fiona, searches for her everywhere. The uproarious comedy and feather-light plot make for a delightful viewing experience.

Les femmes du 6ème étage ( The women on the sixth floor)
DIRECTED BY Philippe Le Guay
France | 2010 | 104 mn
CAST Fabrice Luchini, Sandrine Kiberlain, Carmen Maura, Natalia Verbeke
Paris, 1962. Jean-Louis Jouvert, a wealthy stockbrocker lives astaid bourgeois existence with his perfectly-presentable socialitewife. But when the family's maid abandons them, into the residence comes Maria: young, hardworking, and – quelle horreur - Spanish! Remarkably, it doesn't take long for the building to become enchanted by the new arrival; Maria rallies the friendship of the other servants on the sixth floor (Almodóvar's favourite señoritas, Carmen Maura and Lola Dueñas) and soon, the balance of the household ruptures into wild, cross-cultural chaos... Luchini and Kiberlain are terrific as the austere couple brought to life and then – potentially - breaking point. Still, the show arguably belongs to the lively ladies upstairs,including beautiful breakout star Verbeke. A French box-office smash hit.

Film socialism



.DIRECTED BY Jean-Luc Godard
France | 2010 | 100 mn
CAST Jean-Marc Stehlé, Agatha Couture, Mathias Domahidy
From the first scene, you will realize you've entered Godard's world of "political meditation through collage." The film has three settings: a yacht populated by upper class whites, a small film crew readying a documentary on a self-employed French family, and a frenetic trip through Western European colonies. There are multiple conversations spoken in multiple languages, including some form of Navajo. And there are multiple media formats with jarring shifts from high to low quality. It all works to give a sometimes illuminating, sometimes obvious, and sometimes maddening meditation on freedom, liberty, and the unintended consequences of one nation's "benevolence" to another. Godard is true to form, saturating the film with challenging narrative disruptions and provocative political connotations. And how many allusions to Godard's earlier films does this one contain? The world may never know.

Le frisson des vampires
DIRECTED BY Jean Rollin
France | 1971 | 95 mn
CAST Sandra Julien, Jean-Marie Durand, Jacques Robiolles
Newlyweds Isa and Antoine travel to visit Isa's distant family in their rural castle to celebrate their honeymoon, only to discover that the family is not what they expected. Not to mention that the family and their servants have less than the best of intentions for the couple. Frisson is one of Jean Rollins most beloved films, featuring his unique approach to exploration of the themes of love, life, sex, death, and vampirism, borrowing stylistically from surrealism and psychedelia. Presented by The Arkham Film Society and Kino Lorber and the Providence French Film Festiva in a newly restored copy. This film is R rated.

Le gamin au vélo (The kid with a bike)
DIRECTED BY Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
France-Belgium-italy | 2011 | 87 mn
CAST Cécile de France. Thomas Doret, Jérémie Régniert
The Dardenne brothers continue to merit their regular place in the Festival. While the film has the mark of a Dardennes film – a bleakness, a constellation of troubling social issues, an in-your-face handheld camera style – this one also has a softer side. Set in Belgium, the story centers on eleven-year-old Cyril whose father has abandoned him at a state-run youth farm. Cyril searches everywhere for his father, unhindered by the fact that his father hocked Cyril's beloved bicycle just before disappearing. Cyril will do anything, even resorting to armed robbery, in his quest to reconnect with his only family. It was awarded the 2011 Cannes Grand Prix.

Hors-la-loi (Outside the law)
DIRECTED BY Rachid Bouchareb
Algeria-France | 2010 | 138 mn
CAST Jammel Debouzze, Roschdy Zem, Sami Boualila

The French occupation separates three Algerian brothers: one joins the French Army in Indochina, one becomes a leader of the Algerian Independence Movement, and the third opts for debauchery in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle. The film strings us along through the many twists of fate that we hope will reunite the brothers. Director Rachid Bouchareb effectively steers us away from easy answers, with each possible resolution always leading to thornier complications. This is a film that lingers long after the screening, interweaving family stories with traumatic colonial histories. Nominated for 2011 Best Foreign Film Academy Award.

Incendies
DIRECTED BY Denis Villeneuve
Canada-France | 2011 | 123 mn
CAST Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard
Canadian twins, Jeanne and Simon, are left two envelopes in their mother's will asking them to find a brother and father they never knew existed. Journeying from Canada to Lebanon, the twins experience the twists and turns of their mother's mysterious past, revealing emotionally charged and gut wrenching truths that are deeply rooted in Lebanon's tumultuous history. Individual memories and national histories intersect in this adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad's hit play,a moving story that brings the extremism and violence of today's world to a starkly personal level.

Le Jour d'avant: Jean Paul Gaultier et Fendi par Karl Lagerfeld (the day before)
DIRECTED BY Loïc Prigent

France | 2011 | 104mn
CAST Jean-Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Sylvia Fendi, Loïc Prigent
Loïc Prigent explores the world of high fashion by looking at great designers under the greatest amount of stress: the countdown to their latest fashion show. At times hilarious, at times extremely candid, these portraits give us exclusive access to the world of the high fashion industry that is unexpected as they highlight the amount of work and passion that animates the staff involved in the shows. The personality of the head designers, Gaultier and Lagerfeld, come in sharp focus under the lens of the camera and nothing is held back. In French and English

Les mains en l'air (Hands up
DIRECTED BY Romain Goupil

France | 2010 | 90 mn
CAST Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Hippolyte Girardot, Linda Doudaeva
A curious mix of serious issues, humor, and suspenseful cat-and-mouse told from the point of view of 10 year-old Milana. Milana and her mother are Chechen exiles living illegally in France. Milana bands together some of her classmates and neighborhood kids to prevent deportation. Director Goupil's work with the children calls to mind the important films with children of Francois Truffaut in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Magic Lantern: Le Spectacle des ÉLÉMENTS (The ELEMENTAL Show)
.
CURATED BY Magic Lantern Cinema
France | 2003-2011 | 82 mn
Drawn entirely from the impressive collection of Light Cone, a Paris-based distributor of experimental cinema founded in 1982, this program features a set of visually entrancing shorts by members of France's vibrant experimental film culture that explore cinema's relationship to the elements. Though created by independent artists with distinct orientations, all of these works emerge from a cinematic encounter with the substances once held to comprise the fundamental components of the natural world: earth, water, air, & fire. What happens when this classical subject is engaged through a distinctly modern medium like cinema? While certain of these artists utilize film to rediscover, harness, or communicate the import attributed to the elements by ancient thought, others offer more timely variations on this theme, refracting it through the lens of contemporary aesthetic developments, modern philosophy, or current political and cultural realities. From either direction, the films collected in this program demonstrate that the lure of the elements has not dissipated with the rise of the modern era, while also generating new ways of conceiving the relationship between film practice and our surrounding world.
FEATURING: Olivier Fouchard, "Le Granier (Paysages, Etude No. 1)" (2007); Emmanuel Lefrant, "Parties Visible et Invisible d'un Ensemble Sous Tension" (2009); Frédérique Devaux, "K (Berbères)" (2007); Martine Rousset, "Mer" (2003); Rose Lowder, "Jardin du Sel" (2011); Pascal Auger, "Juste Avant Midi" (1986); Yann Beauvais, "D'un Couvre-feu" (2006); Patrick Bokanowski, "Battements Solaires" (2008)

Mammuth
DIRECTED BY Gustave de Kerven, Benoît Delépine
France | 2010 | 92 mn
CAST Gérard Dépardieu, Yolande Moreau, Isabelle Adjanit
The venerable Gerard Depardieu takes center stage as Serge, a retiring slaughterhouse worker who may lose out on his pension due to bureaucratic errors and omissions. Serge takes action by returning to the village of his youth in search of missing employment documents. The return renews and recalls old friendships, old regrets, and one tragedy. Director Kerven is wise enough to let the cameras run on Depardieu as his under-rated acting comes through.

La mémoire dans la chair (Flesh Memories)

DIRECTED BY Dominique Maillet
France | 2012 | 107 mn
CAST Sergio Peris-Mencheta. Féodor Atkine, Diana, Palazón
Spain 1975: after a fifteen-year exile, Thomas returns home. He is there to bury his father, a Republican fighter who was jailed by Franco's regime and had just died without regaining his freedom. The story of Thomas is the story of a man alone, back in his home country which he now barely knows. Nevertheless, ancient hates and grudges live on. This is a US premiere, presented in French and Spanish with English subtitles.

Ni à vendre, ni à louer (Holidays by the sea)
DIRECTED BY Pascal Rabaté
France | 2010 | 77 mn
CASTJacques Gamblin, Maria de Medeiros, Dominique Pinon
Director's Rabaté second Festival film again springs from a graphic novel. (Are graphic novels made into film and somehow "more graphic" on the big screen with live actors an issue?) The influence of Jacques Tati's Mr. Hulot's Holiday is evident as the film follows a motley group of tourists and locals making the traditional French pilgrimage to the seaside. The ensemble cast works seamlessly as they bounce and bop around golfing, sunbathing, bed-hopping, attending a funeral, and a nudist camp. Rabaté impressively straddles the line between out-and-out farce and scathing critique.

Les petits ruisseaux (Wandering streams)
Friday Feburary 24, 4:00 p.m. / Sunday march 4, 12 noon
DIRECTED BY Pascal Rabaté
France | 2010 | 94 mn
CAST Daniel Prévost, Bulle Ogier, Philippe Nahon
Writer-director Rabaté's adaptation of his own 2006 graphic novel is a low-key comedy of late-life second chances. Emile is a retired widower whose safe and uneventful existence is enlivened by his friendship with fishing companion Edmond. This peaceful life is shattered when Edmond reveals his secret life just before dying, leaving Emile suddenly aware that life is short and he's not living his to the fullest. The film has a great cast, including a rare appearance by Bulle Ogier.

Sans queue, ni tête (Special Treatment)
DIRECTED BY Jeanne Labrune
France | 2010 | 95 mn
CAST Isabelle Huppert, Boulil Lanners
Jeanne Labrune, a past Festival guest, continues her sophisticated seriocomic study of the battle of the sexes. Utilizing the talents of the great Isabelle Huppert as high-class prostitute Alice who is introduced to Xavier a psychotherapist by a mutual friend. Both in some form of "mid-life crisis" bond in what cannot be simplified as a "therapist-patient" or "prosititute-client" relationship. Labrune is savvy enough to refrain from any easy categorization and we the audience benefit.

Tomboy
DIRECTED BY Céline Sciamma France | 2011 | 84 mn
CAST Zoê Heran, Malonn Levana, Jeanne Disson
Celine Sciamma's first feature, Water Lilies, dazzled and provoked audiences at the 2008 Festival. Tomboy sees Sciamma further exploring and meditating upon the culture and sexual politics of youth. While adapting to a new neighborhood, 10 year-old Laure (with a great performance by Zoé Héran) is mistaken for a boy and chooses to sustain that "switch." Sciamma, like directors Chantal Ackerman and Lucretia Martel, has a way of creating narratives with power and resonance by mining the benign day-to-day. As with Le Gamin au vélo, Une vie qui commence, and Les mains en l'air, this year's Festival provides various takes on today's youth.

Le Vendeur (The salesman)

DIRECTED BY Sébastien Pilote
Canada | 2011 | 87 mn
CAST Gilbert Sicotte, Nathalie Cavezzalli
Calling to mind the seminal 1960s documentary Salesman by the Maysles Brothers, first-time director Pilote has fashioned a tough, uneasy narrative about a car salesman. Gilbert Sicotte stands out as the aging old-school salesman who, through a combination of failing to adjust his methods and the economy's harm to his town, faces a bleak new world.

Une vie qui commence (A life begins).
DIRECTED BY Michel Monty
Canada | 2011 | 103 mn
CAST François Papineau, Charles-Antoine Perreault, Julie Le Breton
Une vie qui commence opens with a life ending. The peaceful, safe existence of an early 1960s upper-class Quebec suburb family is shattered with the father's (a doctor) death from overdose of a prescription med. Director Michel Monty then shapes the narrative into a meditation upon the family's bereavement – particularly the oldest son, Étienne. How will Etienne work through the esteem he had for the father along with a torrent of memories?