Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:38 am 
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Rendez-Vous with French
Cinema 2012

I'll be reviewing these. The complete public screening schedule follows. It includes more new films as well as retrospective items.

Monday, February 13

[U]Tuesday, February 14[/U][/B]
9AM – SMUGGLER’S SONG (97 min) - WRT

Wednesday, February 15

1PM – FREE MEN (99 min) - WRT
3PM – AMERICANO (105 min) - WRT

Thursday, February 16

Friday, February 17
10AM - THE PAINTING (76 min) - IFC

Monday, February 20

Tuesday, February 21
10:45AM – DELICACY (108 min) - WRT

Wednesday, February 22
9AM - 38 WITNESSES (104 min) – WRT
11AM – 18 YEARS OLD AND RISING (96 min) – WRT

Thursday, February 23
9AM - FAREWELL, MY QUEEN (100 min) – WRT
11AM – 17 GIRLS (90 min) - WRT

Friday, February 24
10AM – UNFORGIVABLE (113 min)– WRT

Monday, February 27
10AM – PATER (105 min) - IFC

Tuesday, February 28
9:30AM – LOW LIFE (120 min) – IFC


French box office sensation "The Intouchables," starring "Tell No One" star Francois Cluzet," will kick-off the series, while the latest Audrey Tatou vehicle, "Delicacy," will close.

Other highlights include: New French Shorts, an award-winning selection of shorts from France; a special Centerpiece screening of the newly restored version of "Children of Paradise," from filmmaker Marcel Carne, which premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival; "Farewell, My Queen," the latest from Benoît Jacquot, that stars Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette; and a tribute to French film magazine Positif, with the founding editor in person presenting some of his favorite films.

Filmmakers and talent slated to make appearances include: Mathieu Amalric, Laurent Achard, Carole Bouquet, Pascal Cervo, François Cluzet, Delphine and Muriel Coulin, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Mathieu Demy, Ismael Ferroukhi, David and Stéphane Foenkinos, Benoît Jacquot, Nicolas Klotz, Jean-François Laguionie, Vincent Lindon, Frédéric Louf, Olivier Nakache, Sylvie Pialat, Tahar Rahim, Audrey Tautou, Eric Toledano and Rabah Ameur-Zaïméche.

If a title has been released in France I give the Allociné scores, press and public, which gives some idea of the local reception of the film.

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2012, March 1-11, 2012
Films, Descriptions & Schedule

Alice Tully Hall (ATH)/ BAMcinématek (BAM)/Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (EBM)/IFC Center (IFC)/Walter Reade Theater (WRT)

Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, 2011, France; 112m
(Allociné: press 3.7, public 4.5)
A phenomenon in France, where it shattered box-office records to become the second most successful film of all time, The Intouchables tells the true story of the unlikely friendship between a handicapped white millionaire (François Cluzet) and his unconventional Senegalese caretaker (breakout star Omar Sy). A Weinstein Company release.
*Thurs., March 1, 7:30pm – ATH; *Sun., March 4, 1:05pm - IFC
*In person: Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache and François Cluzet

DELICACY (La Délicatesse)
David and Stéphane Foenkinos, 2011, France, 108 min.
(Allociné: press 2.5, public 3.5)
Audrey Tautou returns with this touching portrait of a woman trying to put her life back together after the loss of her husband, including embarking on an unexpected affair with a co-worker. A charming adult fable about starting over. A Cohen Media Group release.
*Sun., March 11, 6pm & 9pm - WRT
*In person: David & Stéphane Foenkinos and Audrey Tautou

17 Girls (17 FILLES)
Delphine Coulin and Muriel Coulin, 2011, France, 90 min.
(Allociné: press 3.5, public 3.1)
Based on a headline-grabbing incident in the U.S., sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin’s provocative debut feature follows the fallout in a sleepy French coastal town when a group of teenage girls all decide to become pregnant at the same time. A Strand Releasing film.
*Fri., March 2, 9:15pm – WRT; *Sat., March 3, 9:30pm – IFC; *Sun., March 4, 1pm - WRT
*In person: Delphine and Muriel Coulin

Fred Louf, 2011, France, 92 min.
(Allociné: press 2.9, public 3.3)
As France prepares for a presidential election that will determine the fate of François Mitterand, a young man from the provinces falls head over heels for a bourgeois girl from Paris in this charming and inventive spin on a classic tale of first love.
Mon., March 5, 6pm – IFC; *Sat., March 10, 3:45pm - WRT
*In person: Frédéric Louf

38 Witnesses (38 TÉMOINS)
Lucas Belvaux, 2012, France/Belgium, 104 min.
(Release in France: March 14, 2012)
A woman is brutally murdered in front of an apartment building, but all of the residents claim to have seen and heard nothing in this taut, haunting thriller from RAPT director Lucas Belvaux. Inspired by New York’s infamous 1964 Kitty Genovese case.
Fri., March 2, 7pm – IFC; Sat., March 10, 6:15pm – WRT; Sun., March 11, 1:30pm – WRT

Mathieu Demy, 2011, France, 105 min.
(Allociné: press 3.2, public 3.1)
When thirty-something Martin (played by actor-writer-director Mathieu Demy) travels from Paris to Los Angeles to settle his estranged mother’s estate, the journey dredges up long-submerged emotions...and unexpected revelations about a woman he hardly knew. Salma Hayek and Geraldine Chaplin co-star. An MPI release.
*Sat., March 3, 6:30pm – WRT; *Sun., March 4, 6:45pm – IFC; *Tues., March 6, 7:30pm - BAM
*In person: Mathieu Demy

Farewell to the Queen (LES ADIEUX À LA REINE)
Benoit Jacquot, 2012, France, 97 min.
(French release: March 21, 2012.)
A brilliant snapshot of the final days of Marie Antoinette, starring a terrific Diane Kruger as the ill-fated Queen and rising star Léa Seydoux (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS) as her quietly ambitious lady-in-waiting. This was the Opening Night Film, 2012 Berlin Film Festival.
*Fri., March 2, 6:30pm – WRT; *Sat., March 3, 1:30pm – WRT; *Sat., March 3, 7pm – IFC; *Sun., March 4, 6pm – BAM
*In person: Benoit Jacquot

Ismael Ferroukhi, 2011, France, 99 min.
(Allociné: press 3.0, public 3.1)
During the German Occupation of France, an Algerian black marketeer (A PROPHET star Tahar Rahim) is coerced into spying on the denizens of the Paris Grand Mosque, whereupon he discovers a clandestine operation to provide North African Jews with fake Muslim IDs. A Film Movement release.
Fri., March 2, 1pm – WRT; *Sat., March 3, 9:15pm – WRT; *Sun., March 4, 4pm - IFC
*In person: Ismael Ferroukhi and Tahar Rahim.

Olivier Marchal, 2011, France, 102 min.
(Allociné: press 2.8, public 3.7)
Based on the autobiography of a real crime boss, A GANG STORY follows aging ex-gangster Momon (Gérard Lanvin) as he agrees to break his old partner (Tchéky Karyo) out of prison. A solid return to the gangster genre—in the French style, of course! A Weinstein Company release.
Sat., March 3, 4:45pm – IFC; Thurs., March 8, 8:45pm – WRT; Fri., March 9, 4pm - WRT

Vincent Garenq, 2011, France, 102 min.
(Allociné: press 3.6, public 4.1)
A breathtaking, fact-based journey into a Kafka-esque judicial nightmare: a provincial court bailiff (the extraordinary Philippe Torreton) is accused of horrifying crimes against children. Imprisoned, he maintains his innocence, even as his reputation and family life are destroyed.
Mon., March 5, 6:15pm – WRT; Tues., March 6, 1:30pm – WRT; Thurs., March 8, 10:25pm – IFC

Jalil Lespert, 2011, France, 91 min.
(Allociné: press 3.1, public 3.4)
Benoît Magimel (THE PIANO TEACHER) gives perhaps his greatest performance as a struggling writer who tries to start a new life in the coastal Brittany of his youth after his wife (Audrey Tatou) mysteriously vanishes. He is joined by an all-star cast, including Isabelle Carré, Bouli Lanners and Aurore Clement. Based on Oliver Adam’s best-selling novel.
Tues., March 6, 6pm – IFC; Thurs., March 8, 4pm – WRT; Fri., March 9, 6:15pm - WRT

Here Below (ICI-BAS)
Jean-Pierre Denis, 2012, France, 100 min.
2.8, 3.2
The brief, tempestuous relationship between a nun and a priest working for the French Resistance is the focus of director Denis’s taut, suspenseful look at closing months of WWII and the transformation of private passion into national politics.
Sat., March 3, 4:15pm – WRT; Sun., March 4, 9:30pm – IFC; Wed., March 7, 4:40pm - WRT

The Last Screening (LA DERNIÈRE SEANCE)
Laurent Achard, 2011, France, 81 min.
2.8, 2.4
CINEMA PARADISO meets PSYCHO in a provocative genre film about the dutiful manager/projectionist (Pascal Cervo) of a repertory cinema in the French provinces...and the many secrets he holds.
*Tues., March 6, 8:30pm – WRT; *Thurs., March 8, 6pm – IFC; *Sat., March 10, 1:30pm – WRT
*In person: Laurent Achard, Pascal Cervo and producer Sylvie Pialat

Louise Wimmer
Cyril Mennegun, 2011, France, 80 min.
4.1, 3.7
In a tough, unapologetic work of social realism, director Mennegun observes the daily life of a middle-aged chambermaid (the riveting Corinne Masiero) who lives out of her car while desperately trying to make a fresh start.
Sat., March 3, 3pm – IFC; Mon., March 5, 2pm – WRT; Tues., March 6, 6:15pm - WRT

Low Life
French release: April 4, 2012
Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval, 2011, France, 120 min.
French release: April 4, 2012.
Carmen, a young French student, enters into an intense affair with Hussain, an Afghan poet living illegally in the country, in this bracingly radical movie about the revolt of the human spirit against a heartless, unjust world.
*Sun., March 4, 8:30pm – WRT; *Mon., March 5, 10:05pm – IFC; Wed., March 7, 2pm - WRT
*In person: Nicolas Klotz

The Painting (LE TABLEAU)
Jean-François Laguionie, 2011, France, 76 min.
4.1, 3.9
A touching, wonderfully inventive animated fable, THE PAINTING takes place within the borders of an unfinished canvas, where the fully drawn and colored creatures lord their privilege over the half-drawn and merely sketched underclasses. Presented in collaboration with the New York International Children’s Film Festival
Sat., March 3, 1:15pm – EBM; *Sun., March 4, 11am - IFC
*In person: Jean-François Laguionie

Paris by Night (UNE NUIT)
Philippe Lefebvre, 2012, France, 100 min.
3.8, 3.4
Roschdy Zem gives a tour-de-force performance as a police commander supervising Paris’s demi-monde of bars, discos and strip clubs in this searing voyage into the City of Light’s darkest corners.
Mon., March 5, 4pm & 8:30pm – WRT; Tues., March 6, 10:10pm - IFC

Alain Cavalier, 2011, France, 105 min.
4.3, 2.9
France’s most unpredictable filmmaker, Alain Cavalier, teams up with actor Vincent Lindon for a witty, semi-improvised look at men, power and politics, starring Cavalier himself as a fictional French President and Lindon as his newly appointed Prime Minister.
Fri., March 2, 3:45pm – WRT; *Fri., March 2, 9:15pm – IFC; *Sat., March 3, 6:30pm – BAM; *Sun., March 4, 3:30pm - WRT
*In person: Vincent Lindon

The Screen Illusion (L’ILLUSION COMIQUE)
Mathieu Amalric, 2011, France, 77 min.[/COLOR]
(Film made for TV)
Commissioned by La Comédie-Française, actor-director Mathieu Amalric’s wildly inventive update of Corneille’s popular 17th century tragicomedy follows a hotel concierge on the trail of a missing young man who seems to have left many a young female heart aflutter.
*Sun., March 4, 6:15pm – WRT; *Sun., March 4, 9pm – BAM; *Mon., March 5, 8pm – IFC; *Tues., March 6, 4pm - WRT
*In person: Mathieu Amalric

Smugglers’ Songs (LES CHANTS DE MANDRIN)
Rabah Ameur-Zaïméche, 2011, France, 97 min.
3.6, 2.9
The 18th century folk hero and bandit Louis Mandrin is the inspiration for this strikingly relevant period tale, tracing the efforts of Mandrin’s followers to distribute his songs and stories in the build-up to the French Revolution.
*Wed., March 7, 9:30pm – IFC; *Thurs., March 8, 6:15pm – WRT; Fri., March 9, 1:30pm - WRT
*In person: Rabah Ameur-Zaïméche

Robert Guédiguian, 2011, France; 107m
4.1, 3.7
When a newly retired union rep (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) is robbed, thwarting a dream vacation to Kenya, he finds himself reflecting on the many compromises and lost ideals of his career. An engaging, affecting drama from one of the cinema’s great observers of the politics of everyday life.
*Tues., March 6, 7:45pm – IFC; Thurs., March 8, 1:30pm – WRT; *Sat., March 10, 9pm – WRT
*In person: Jean-Pierre Darroussin

André Téchiné, 2011, France/Italy, 111 min.
2.6, 2.5
In the latest from acclaimed director Téchiné, a blocked mystery novelist (André Dussolier) on vacation in Venice falls for an expat real estate agent (Carole Bouquet). Then jealousy rears its head and the writer puts a detective on the trail of this possibly unfaithful femme. A Strand Releasing Film.
*Wed., March 7, 6:30pm – IFC; *Fri., March 9, 8:45pm – WRT
*In person: Carole Bouquet

The Well-Digger’s Daughter (LA FILLE DU PUISATIER)
Daniel Auteuil, 2011, France, 107 min.
2.8, 3.6
Daniel Auteuil, veteran of Marcel Pagnol adaptations Jean de Florette and Manon des sources, returns to Pagnol for his first work as a director, telling moving story of a hardscrabble well digger, his eldest daughter and her passion for the son of a local shopkeeper. The cast also includes Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Sabine Azema, and Kad Merad. A Kino Lorber release.
*Thurs., March 8, 8pm – IFC; *Sun., March 11, 3:45pm – WRT
*In person: Jean-Pierre Darroussin

Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie, 2011, France; 78m
French release: February 8, 2012.
In this beautiful hand-drawn animation, 10-year-old Maki and the orphaned giraffe, Zarafa, go on an epic adventure from the Sudan, where Maki escapes from slave traders, to Alexandria, Marseille and Paris. Ages 7+. In French with English subtitles.
Sat., March 3, 1:15pm – IFC; Sun., March 4, 1:15pm – EBM; Sun., March 11, 10am – EBM

Sun., March 4, 7:20pm – EBM; Wed., March 7, 4pm - EBM

60th anniversary tribute to pioneering French film magazine Positif with Michel Ciment, the founding editor in person presenting some of his favorite seldom-seen films
Claude Sautet, 1988, 131 min.
In a César nominated performance, Daniel Auteuil plays the sensitive Martial, heir to a chain of department stores run by his mother (Gallic acting doyenne Danielle Darrieux) in this comic fable meets bourgeois critique by acclaimed director Sautet. Emerging from a nervous breakdown, Martial is sent to the provincial town of Limoges, where he has a dalliance with a young waitress and prostitute (Sandrine Bonnaire), and discovers that the chain’s regional director (a frostily understated Jean-Pierre Marielle, also César nominated) is embezzling money. An exploration of the contemporary upper class and its laissez-faire mores, this charmingly affable sketch of France in the 80s is an underrated discovery.
*Mon., March 5, 7pm
*In person: Positif editor Michel Ciment

Delphine Gleize, 2011, France, 110 min.
French release: March 2, 2012.
Vincent Lindon and Emmanuelle Devos star in this affecting drama about Romain, a teenager afflicted since birth by a rare genetic disorder that makes him unable to stand exposure to daylight. Romain finds a surrogate father figure in David, a dermatologist who is passionate about his case and has treated him since infancy, but both of their lives are thrown into turmoil when David must leave to take a job in Switzerland.
With Vincent Lindon, Emmanuelle Devos and Quentin Challal.
*Sat., March 3, 9:30pm
*In person: Vincent Lindon

There will also be a "special centerpiece screening" of Carné's classic, CHILDREN OF PARADISE, in a restored print introduced in France in May 2011 at Cannes:

Children of Paradise (LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS)
Marcel Carné, 1945, France, 163 min.
At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, one of the most eagerly awaited events was the unveiling of Pathé's newly restored version of Children of Paradise, one of the best-loved masterworks of French cinema and our special Centerpiece at this year’s Rendez-vous. In 1830s Paris, theatrical mime Baptiste (the amazing Jean-Louis Barrault) falls in love with an actress and notorious woman about town, Garance (Arletty, enough said); when she’s falsely accused of a crime, Garance must seek the protection of one of her admirers. Yet Baptiste’s passion, once kindled, never really dies. Made in the last years of the War, Children boasted the largest set ever constructed for a French film, a tour-de-force for legendary production designer Alexander Trauner (who worked in secret because of the occupation) and a sparkling script from acclaimed poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert. Carné moves the action effortlessly between stage and audience, teeming streets and intimate boudoirs, bringing the world of these characters to pulsing, vibrant life. A Janus Films release, opening on March 9th at Film Forum.
*Wed., March 7, 7pm – WRT
*In person: Positif editor Michel Ciment

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