The films of Le French Festival
Writer: Casey Lee
Which of these French films are you going to watch?
Back for its second year as part of the Le French Festival, GSC International Screens is bringing in some of the latest films from France that were released in 2015 and 2016.
The Cowboys / Les Cowboys
Starting on May 4 to 21 for the Klang Valley at GSC Pavilion, GSC Mid Valley and GSC 1Utama, the films will be traveling to Penang's GSC Gurney Plaza on May 25 to June 4 and lastly to Kota Kinabalu at GSC Suria Sabah from June 8 to 11.
While we highly encourage anyone with the chance to catch all 17 films that Le French Festival has to offer, but if you are planning to make the most of your cinema time, here's a guide of all 17 films that will be screening.
When a woman goes missing in the United States, her father and brother arrive from France to search for her, unknowingly being led to far unsettling places as they follow her trail. This is screenwriter Thomas Bidegain's directorial debut, who is better known for being the writer of the BAFTA nominated "Rust and Bone", starring Marion Cotillard.
After losing her job at a foreign film set, 26-year old Ana moves back to her hometown of Strasbourg which she has left for so long that she is unable to find herself again. While caring for her grandmother, and meeting up with lost friends and estranged lovers, Ana is trying to put her life back together in one fine French summer. Screenwriter and director Rachel Lang makes her feature length debut in this second coming of age tale that garnered Lang a nomination for the Grand Prize City of Lisbon award at the IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival.
Our Futures / Nos Futurs
Realizing that he is living an unfulfilled live as an adult in his 30s, Yann meets up with his high school best friend Thomas who hasn't changed much since the good old days. Thomas then comes up with an idea to celebrate Yann's birthday by having a party and inviting their high school classmates. Screenwriter and director Rémi Bezançon reunites with his star from his "A Happy Event" and "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" Pio Marmar, with this new dramedy from 2015 for anyone who wants to relive the old days of their teenage years, but times have changed.
Settled into a monotonous life, Vincent Machot's days are spent in his hairdressing salon, with his cousin, his cat and his mother. When a chance meeting with a lonely woman at the grocer stirs a memory inside him, Vincent decides to follow her and find out if he has truly met the woman before. At the same time, the woman decides to turn the tables on him by asking friends to find out more of her stalker, introducing a host of endearing characters who want to change their lives. Based on the graphic novel series by Camille Jourdy, Julien Rappeneau makes his directorial debut with this adaptation starring Noémie Lvovsky in the curious leading lady of many questions. "Rosalie Blum" was nominated at the 2017 César Awards for the Best First Feature Film.
A child hospitalised with a physical illness discover he has powers to project his ghost and move through walls. When he befriends a cop who was in the same hospital on the trail to stop a cyber criminal from releasing a virus to blackmail the city, it is up to the Phantom Boy and the cop to find him and stop his plans. Back with their cubic animation after their Oscar-nominated "A Cat in Paris", directing and screenwriting duo Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol brings a new superhero-inspired adventure for those who are interested in seeing more of the quiet but brilliant French animation.
The Fabulous Patars / Cigarettes Et Chocolat Chaud
A single father with two growing daughters, struggles to keep them afloat with two jobs. One day, he is investigated by social services and is forced to attend parenting classes. Another nominee for the Best First Film at the 2017 César coming from director Sophie Reine who brings a light-hearted comedy starring Gustave Kervern who will be making an appearance at the launching of Le French Festival in GSC Pavilion.
Neither Heaven Nor Earth / Ni Le Ciel Ni La Terre
When Captain Antarès Bonassieu arrives to reinforce a military outpost in Afghanistan, he discovers that the post was empty. Leading his men to find the whereabouts of their missing comrades, Bonassieu's own men start to disappear one by one. "Neither Heaven Nor Earth" is a strong feature debut from director Clément Cogitore. This 2015 military film that slowly turns into something more supernatural, has taken down nominations and awards for Best First Film from the César to the Lumiere.
21 Night with Pattie / 21 Nuits Avec Pattie
Caroline has never been close to her mother who lives southern France and moved to Paris. When her mother dies, Caroline is forced to return to her hometown to arrange for her funeral. Barely knowing anyone, Caroline becomes a quick friend with a local woman named Pattie and begins to spend more time with her. On the day of the traditional mid-summer dance festival, Caroline's mother's body disappears. Directed by directing duo Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu, "21 Nights with Pattie" stars Karin Viard for the titular character who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the César, the film itself also got nomination for André Dussollier for Best Actor and Best Screenplay for the directors at the Lumiere awards.
The Stopover / Voir du pays
Two female soldiers returning to France after a 6 month long tour of duty in Afghanistan, make a stopover in the island of Cyprus where they will be debriefed of the events that happened during their mission. "The Stopover" is a rare military drama centered on the female experience of post-traumatic stress order after a war, which was in competition for the Cannes' Uncertain Regard in 2015. The film came out winning the Best Screenplay in that competition for directing sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin.
The Summer of All My Parents / Juillet-août
Pimpette and Josephine are two sisters living with their mother and new stepfather. When Pimpette finds out that her mother is pregnant during their summer holidays, they decide to visit their biological and bachelor father. As Josephine is slowly mixing with the wrong crowd, little Pimpette tries her hardest to be someone responsible of keeping the family together. Screenwriter and director Diastème's young coming of age and feel good drama explores the complicated life of living with divorced parents, which has more lessons for adults than the young leading stars.
The White Knights / Les Chevaliers Blancs
Set during the war in Darfur in 2007 before French peace-keeping forces were about to be deployed there, an NGO arrives in the war torn state and promises to take in war orphans to be brought back to France for fostering. Meeting resistance along the way for entering into a warzone, there are also internal struggles between the aid workers who are toeing the lines of ethics for what they are doing. Based on the events of the Zoé's Ark controversy in 2007 which saw the members of the French charity organisation being charged for child abduction, director Joachim Lafosse won the Silver Seashell award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, while it was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, both in 2015.
A Bun in the Oven / Le Petit Locataire
At 49-years-old, Nicole Payan was expecting the onset of her menopause, but instead she found out that she is pregnant. Having to prepare for the incoming baby, Nicole's life becomes even more hectic than before and her unemployed husband, boisterous daughters and busybody mother doesn't make life any easier. Made from the short film by director Nadège Loiseau for a feature length examination of the same premise, award-winning Karin Viard (also seen in "21 Nights with Pattie") takes the lead role in this light-hearted comedy of the excitement and fears of becoming a mother.
The Odyssey / L'Odyssee
Following 30 years of the life of French captain, researcher, scientist, innovator and marine filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau, "The Odyssey" is as much a celebration of his achievements to contributions to marine conversation, as his flaws and weaknesses as a human being. Directed by Jérôme Salle who last made 2013's "Zulu", based on the biographical book b Albert Falco and Yves Paccalet, "The Odyssey" was nominated with the Best Actor and Actress awards at this year's Globes de Cristal in France, and also awarded with the Best Sound at the César this year.
Two Friends / Les Deux Amis
While trying to pursue Mona, shy actor Clément enlist the help of his friend Able to win her affections. Their friendship is then put to the test when Mona gradually grows more interested in Abel instead, but neither Clément nor Abel realises Mona's true past. Actor turned director Louis Garrel makes his feature debut that has been described as "a sense of genuine emotion many directors never accomplish in their entire careers". "Two Friends" has landed with nominations from the Lumiere awards for Best Actor, Best Film, Best Cinematography along with Most Promising Actress for French-Iranian actress Goldshifteh Farahani.
One Man and His Cow / La Vache
After dreaming of entering an international agriculture show in France for years, Algerian peasant Fatah receives an invitation for him and his cow, Jacqueline. After spending all of his money to cross the Mediterranean, Fatah is forced to travel to the show on foot with his cow where he meets strange people along the way. Nominated for the European Comedy award at the European Film Awards, "One Man and His Cow" is almost a self-explanatory premise for a light hearted comedy by director Mohamed Hamidi, while embracing the multicultural diversity of French cinema.
Chocolat / Monsieur Chocolat
During the 19th century, the son of a former slave arrives in France to join a circus, his initial acts are unpopular. When he joins with a white clown as a clown named Chocolat, their show takes off some quickly that they are asked to join the circus in Paris. Chocolat is well received as a clown but not as part of its society where he continues to receive racial discrimination from its people and the police. This biopic from director Roschdy Zem was a strong contender at the 2017 César where it took home awards for Best Supporting Actor and Production Design but was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Original Music and Best Sound. Those who have seen 2011's "The Intouchables" that was also screened in Malaysia at the French Film Festival will remember Omar Sy who takes the titular role here, and got his due as Best Actor at the Globes de Cristal awards, together where "Chocolat" won Best Film.
Cinema Online, 03 May 2017