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Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2006


Detailed Program and Schedule Informationbr>

PLEASE NOTE: All screenings will be held at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center, 65th and Broadway, unless noted. Additional screenings will be held at Alice Tully Hall and the IFC Center in the Village.

Valérie Lemercier, 2005; 100m

Fri March 10: 7 pm –Alice Tully Hall

Reception immediately following; sponsored by Ile de France French Gourmet Cheeses.

Known best in the United States for her intense performance in Claire Denis’ Friday Night, Valérie Lemercier is actually one of France’s top comics. In Palais Royal!, she brings her considerable talents as writer, director, and actress to this wickedly funny tale of a reluctant princess. Nominated for a Best Actress César, Lemercier is terrific as Armelle, transforming herself from a friendly commoner to a force of aristocratic power. The great cast includes Lambert Wilson, Michel Aumont, Mathilde Seigner, Gilbert Melki and, as the Queen, Catherine Deneuve in a role she was clearly born to play and for which she is nominated for a Best Supporting Actress César.

Tickets: $25 members, $30 general public. Click here to buy tickets online

La Moustache
Emmanuel Carrère, 2005; 86m – A Cinema Guild Release

WRT: Fri March 10: 1 pm; Sat March 11: 6:15 pm; Sun March 12: 3:45 pm
IFC: Sat March 11: 2:30 pm; Sun March 12: 7 pm

Writer Emmanuel Carrère, whose novels Class Trip (RDV 1999) and The Adversary (RDV 2003) have been recently adapted to the screen, directed this adaptation of his novel La Moustache that premiered at Cannes. Marc (Vincent Lindon) and Agnès (Emmanuelle Devos) form an attractive, successful Parisian couple. One day, Marc decides to shave off the thick moustache he’s worn all of his adult life. They go off to dinner with friends, but no one — neither wife nor friends — says a word about Marc’s major change. Could they really not notice? Carrère delicately fashions his tale into a meditation of the distance between even those with whom we feel closest.

Orchestra Seats / Fauteuils d’orchestre
Danièle Thompson, 2006; 100m

WRT: Fri March 10: 3:30 pm; Sat March 11: 1:15 pm & 9 pm
IFC: Sun March 12: 4:30 pm & 9:30 pm

Three different characters sometimes cross paths at a café where Jessica (Cécile de France) often waits on them. Catherine (Valérie Lemercier), an acclaimed actress who is about to open a new show; Jean-François (Albert Dupontel), a musician who is preparing for a major recital; and Jacques (Claude Brasseur), who is about to sell his extraordinary art collection are the guests. Danièle Thompson, one of France’s most consistent directors, brings together a top-notch cast for this very contemporary tale of characters caught between their private dreams and public images. Thompson co-wrote the screenplay with her son, Christopher, who also co-stars.

Not Here to Be Loved / Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé
Stéphane Brizé, 2005; 93m

WRT: Sat March 11: 3:45 pm; Mon March 13: 8:45 pm; Wed March 15: 6:15 pm
IFC: Fri March 10: 12 noon, 5 pm

This new feature by Stéphane Brizé, whose Hometown Blue premiered in New Directors/New Films 2000, is nominated for 3 Césars (Best Actor, Patrick Chesnais; Best Actress, Anne Consigny; and Best Supporting Actor, Georges Wilson). Jean-Claude (Patrick Chesnais), a divorced man working for the courts, one day walks into the dance studio across the street. Soon he’s a regular in the tango class, where he meets Françoise (Anne Consigny), a high school counselor about to be married. Might he have stumbled upon a last chance for happiness?

Good Girl / Gentille
Sophie Fillières, 2005; 102m

WRT: Sun March 12: 1:15 pm & 6:15 pm; Mon March 13: 3:30 pm
IFC: Fri March 10: 2:30 pm; Sat March 11: 12 noon

In the whimsical and winning Good Girl, a beautifully crafted selection of the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, Emmanuelle Devos plays Fontaine Leglou, a young anesthetist whose interactions form the spine of the film. Fontaine lives with Michel (Bruno Todeschini), who is on the verge of proposing marriage. Their nervousness with each other underlines this decisive moment of their lives. Sophie Fillières’distinctive and idiosyncratic style that flirts with surrealism perfectly modulates the portrait of a couple traversing the inconsistencies and pitfalls of a modern relationship.

You Are So Handsome / Je vous trouve très beau
Isabelle Mergault, 2006; 97m

Mon March 13: 1 pm & 6:15 pm; Tue March 14: 4 pm
IFC: Wed March 15: 7 pm; Sat March 18: 7 pm.

In screenwriter Isabelle Mergault’s affecting first feature, one of France’s most popular actors, Michel Blanc, stars as Aymé Pigrenet, a hard-working farmer who engages a marriage agency to help him find a wife. The agency advises him to head to Romania where he finds Elena (Medeea Marinescu). Despite director Mergault’s light touch in portraying the couple’s relationship, the film also achieves to address the larger, darker reality of the continuing imbalance between the “two Europes” and its social consequences.

Russian Dolls / Les Poupées russes
Cédric Klapisch, 2005; 125m - An IFC Films Release

WRT: March 12: 8:45 pm; Tues March 14: 1:15 pm & 8:45 pm
IFC: Sat March 11: 5 pm & 10 pm

Russian Dolls was one of France’s biggest box-office hits in 2005 and it is nominated for 3 César awards: Best Supporting Actress, Cécile de France and Kelly Reilly; and Best Editing. Five years after we left him in The Spanish Apartment (L’Auberge Espagnole, 2002) Xavier (Romain Duris of The Beat That My Heart Skipped) seems to be living out his college dreams: he’s a working writer and journalist who doesn’t lack romantic companionship and has a nice circle of friends; yet somehow it’s not enough. Working again with such great actors as Audrey Tautou and Cécile de France, Klapisch offers a “state of a generation” report that captures the personal and professional travails of his young protagonists as they begin to settle into the workaday world.

Cold Showers / Douches froides
Antony Cordier, 2005; 102m - A Picture This! Release

WRT: Tue March 14: 6:15 pm; Wed March 15: 1:15 pm & 8:45 pm
IFC: Thu March 16: 9:30 pm; Sat March 18: 9:30 pm

Winner of the Louis Delluc Prize for Best First Film, nominated for a Best First Feature César, and a selection of the Cannes and Toronto International Film Festivals, Antony Cordier’s debut feature arrives with impressive credentials. Mickael has become the captain of the judo team and is romancing the beautiful Vanessa (Salomé Stévenin). When he becomes close to Clément, a fellow judo enthusiast, things begin to change. Vanessa at first resents it but gradually comes to enjoy Clément’s presence. Cold Showers is not just a film about class, or teenage sexuality, or athletics or self-image, but one that encompasses all those themes and more. Powerfully aided by outstanding performances, it is a nuanced portrait of teenage life that avoids clichés and stereotypes.

Zim and Company / Zim & Co.
Pierre Jolivet, 2005; 90m

WRT: Wed March 15: 3:45 pm; Thurs March 16: 6:15 pm; Sat March 18: 3:45 pm
IFC: Sun March 19: 2 pm & 7 pm

For his role in this Cannes selection, Adrien Jolivet is nominated for a Most Promising Actor César. He is “Zim”—Victor Zimbietrofsky— a lanky 20-year-old who plays in a rock band and earns a little unofficial money unloading goods at an open-air market. After his motorbike is sideswiped and he fails a drug test, he faces the prospect of real jail time — unless he can prove to the judge that he’s keeping clean and has a steady job. Jolivet’s largely hand-held camera captures Zim’s flurry of activity practically from the first frame, in a way that at times makes it seem practically attached to him.

Grey Souls / Les Âmes grises
Yves Angelo, 2005; 106m

WRT: Thurs March 16: 1 pm; Fri March 17: 3:30 pm; Sat March 18: 9 pm
IFC: Tue March 14: 7 pm & 9:30 pm

Based on Philippe Claudel’s acclaimed novel, Grey Souls is nominated for 3 Césars (Most Promising Actress, Marina Hands; Best Art Direction; and Best Costume Design). An unsettling portrait of a world that has lost any sense of a moral compass, the film is set during WWI in 1917. A young girl is found murdered not far from the estate of Public Prosecutor Destinat, a reclusive widower. The case is assigned to the self-conscious, socially awkward Inspector Mierck, whom Destinat has always treated with contempt. The case gives Mierck a new confidence as well as a chance to seek some long overdue retribution. Working with a first-rate cast, Angelo offers a look at how easily the thin layer of civilization that protects us can be stripped away.

I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed / J’ai vu tuer Ben Barka
Serge Le Péron, 2005; 101m

WRT: Thurs March 16: 3:30 pm; Sun March 19: 6:15 pm
IFC: Fri March 17: 7 pm & 9:30 pm

Based on the still unsolved disappearance of Moroccan independence leader Mehdi Ben Barka in Paris in 1965, I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed reminds us that truth is always stranger than fiction. An ex-con, Georges Figon (Charles Berling in one of his best performances), is hired by some equally dubious characters to produce a documentary about the French colonial experience. The film is to be written by Marguerite Duras (Josiane Balasko) and directed by Georges Franju (Jean-Pierre Léaud). Mehdi Ben Barka (Simon Abkarian) is to serve as historical advisor and so a meeting is set up for October 29, 1965. Ben Barka sets out for the appointment and is never seen again. Director Le Péron brilliantly captures the atmosphere of that very heady moment in France during which art, radical politics, and criminal activity occasionally intersected, providing a new meaning to the term “underground.”

Housewarming / Travaux, on sait quand ça commence
Brigitte Roüan, 2005; 95m

WRT: Thurs March 16: 8:45 pm; Sun March 19: 3:30 pm
IFC: Sat March 18: 2 pm & 4:30 pm

A Cannes selection, Brigitte Roüan’s delightful comedy begins as single mom and top litigator Chantal (the wonderful Carole Bouquet) decides that it’s time to get her living space in order. Soon after she hires a Colombian architect, who brings along some very original plans and an entire work crew of co-nationals, chaos reigns with Chantal’s life including her teenage children, current lover, and ex-husband. The plot goes off in several directions simultaneously, covering everything from the French legal system to maintaining relationships with ex-spouses, as Chantal wonders if maybe more than her home is getting remodeled.

Heading South / Vers le sud
Laurent Cantet, 2005; 105m - A Shadow Distribution Release

WRT: Fri March 17: 1 pm; Sat March 18: 6:15 pm
IFC: Sun March 19: 4:30 pm & 9:30 pm

With Human Resources and Time Out, Laurent Cantet established himself as one of French cinema's leading screen realists and analysts of social discontent. A selection of the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, his third feature is an investigation of sexual tourism based on three stories by the Haitian writer Dany Laferrière. At a beach resort in Duvalier’s Haiti in the late 70s, middle-aged North American women such as Ellen (Charlotte Rampling), Brenda (terrific Karen Young), and Sue (Louise Portal) are sexually pampered by young black men in exchange of economic and quasi-maternal favours. The young man preferred by both Ellen and Sue, Legba (Menothy César, winner of the Marcello Mastroianni prize in Venice for this role) falls foul of the Macoute militia. Cantet and regular co-writer Robin Campillo sensitively but trenchantly look into a complex nexus of sexual and political issues.

Le Petit Lieutenant
Xavier Beauvois, 2005; 110m

WRT: Fri March 17: 6:15 pm; Sat March 18: 1 pm; Sun March 19: 9 pm
IFC: Mon March 13: 7 pm; Wed March 15: 9:30 pm

Le Petit Lieutenant, a great success in France, was a selection of the Venice Film Festival and is nominated for 5 Césars (Best Film; Best Director, Best Actress, Nathalie Baye; Best Supporting Actor, Roschdy Zem; Best Original Screenplay, Xavier Beauvois, Guillaume Breaud, and Jean-Eric Troubat). On the day of his graduation from the police academy, Antoine (Jalil Lespert) learns that his request for assignment in Paris has been granted. While his wife remains in the country, Antoine finds a place in town and starts working in the criminal unit run by Inspector Caroline Vaudieu (Nathalie Baye), who’s recovering from a long bout with alcoholism brought on by the death of her son. The police unit becomes a kind of refuge for each of these characters, until tragedy strikes and reconfigures all their relationships.

Hell / L’Enfer
Danis Tanovic, France/Italy/Belgium, 2005; 98m

WRT: Fri March 17: 9 pm; Sun March 19: 1 pm
IFC: Sat March 11: 8 pm; Thu March 16: 7 pm

Danis Tanovic (Oscar winner No Man’s Land) returns with another masterful film assembled with the precision of a Swiss watch. Starring Emmanuelle Béart, Carole Bouquet, Marie Gillain and Karin Viard, Hell is based on a haunting screenplay by Krzysztof Piesiewicz (Kieslowski’s longtime collaborator) loosely inspired by Dante. A selection of the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, it is a whirling, epic portrait of a family torn apart by haunting events from the past that has the feel of a metaphysical ghost story.

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