Archive for the ‘French cinema’ category

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema: The Apprentice, a high pitched teenage tale

March 12, 2009

The Apprentice

I really admire a filmmaker who has the tenacity to aim for a level of humanism that is rarely seen in cinema today. Samuel Collardey reaches for these heights and succeeds in his debut feature, The Apprentice /L’apprenti screening at Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2009.

Like a loving cousin to the Kazakh film “Tulpan” that unfurled at last year’s NYFF and akin to the “Up” films of Michael Apted, The Apprentice was shot one week a month over a span of ten months using mostly non-actors. The film does not feel like a documentary though and that is in most part to the incredible acting by Mathieu Bulle. He plays 14 and 1/2 year old Mathieu, who is on a teenage quest to find meaning. Haven’t we all been there–IM chatting late at night with an invisible girl? What’s really tremendous about this process of shooting a movie is the audience really gets a truthfulness in every frame. We are with Mathieu as he goes through his own high pitched puberty battle and and we witness the beautifully photographed rural environment go from a lush summer to a white winter . It’s quite an accomplishment.

The film meanders in the beginning not knowing where to settle, but once it finds its pace at Mathieu’s surrogate family’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, where our hero says “life is shit” we know he’s on the up and up. His hero is the farmer (with a Sam Elliott mustache) he apprentices for. They sled down hills, deliver baby bulls and relearn what it means to be a father and son. I left this film thinking this is one of the few films intelligent enough that you can take your children too. There is nothing crass or sinister about it. Just an honest, truthful look at growing up and regaining something that was once lost.

-Michael Masarof

Buy Tickets to The Apprentice: Thu Mar 12: 8:45

Film Society Week Ahead March 12-18: More tips on making a Rendez-Vous

March 11, 2009

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Don’t miss these Rendez-Vous picks:

The Apprentice: Modern learning comes up against old-time methods in Samuel Collardey’s directorial debut, which nabbed him the prestigious Louis Delluc Award for best first film. With that particular French talent for creating works on the boundary between fiction and documentary, the young director effectively captures the sights, sounds, and rhythms of life on a family-run dairy farm. Thu March 12 at 8:45pm ~ Buy Tickets

The Other One is “…a portrait of female jealousy run amok in which Dominique Blanc plays a toxic control freak with Bette Davis eyes,” said Stephen Holden in The New York Times. In the film, Anne-Marie (Dominique Blanc) finds it much easier to navigate the New Paris landscape of neon-lit, mall-nested cafes, glass-enclosed high-rise office buildings, hermetically sealed buses and subways cars, and apartments regulated by an electronic cyberboxes than the terrain of her love affair with a much younger man. Sun March 15 at 5:30pm:  Buy Tickets

Shown to great acclaim at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Stella confirms Sylvie Verheyde as one of her generation’s most distinctive film talents. Léora Barbara displays great poise as a young girl coping with her working-class family’s meltdown. With Guillaume Depardieu as the charismatic charmer who befriends her. Thu March 12 at 1pm & 6:15pm ~ Buy Tickets

Fantastic French shorts: Tout Court is a program of seven prizewinning short films by emerging filmmakers provides an exclusive introduction to the next generation of French cinema. See them now and catch a potential Oscar winner of the future! Friday, March 13, at 4pm: Buy Tickets, Sunday, March 15, at 3:15pm: Buy Tickets

View Complete Rendez-Vous Schedule

Plus, New Directors/New Films tickets on sale this Friday!

Photos from Rendez-Vous

March 9, 2009

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From top, director Pierre Schoeller, actress Felicite Wouassi, and director Costa-Gavras. All photos by Godlis.

Solutions in stasis in Dupeyron’s searing anti-narrative With a Little Help from Myself

March 9, 2009

It’s tough to raise a family–especially when your husband is a deadbeat who spends the family pot on the horse race the day of his daughter’s wedding. It’s also tough to make a movie. To get the tone of a film right is maybe an even harder challenge. The constant tonal changes that saturate every sequence of With a Little Help from Myself, playing as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series, require the viewer to adjust quickly to the change of style and music. Is it a comedy, a dark comedy, a family drama, a social drama?

Shot like a documentary, this scripted faux narrative has definite ideas of what the lives of an African immigrant in a Paris housing project are like: full of storming efficient police officers, angry mobs of black and Arab kids, and thoughts of suicide on rooftops with motorcycles. To help convey this frenzied interpretation, the director uses a handheld camera, sometimes propped on the character himself.

The film is held up by worthy performances from the entire ensemble cast, most notably by Ms. Félicité Wouassi playing the mother Sonia, who penetrates every frame with a stern gaze matched with an effervescent longing. Like the movie, she is conflicted. Her solutions are odd for a heroine, and you don’t know whether to root for her or think she’s an idiot–my mother raised five kids and would never have been so forgiving of a drug bust or an unwanted pregnancy. There is a dichotomy between the stirring Cameroon actress’s vision and the French director’s. Perhaps, Dupeyron’s vision is better represented by the old white man, who uses Sonia’s black naked body to relieve himself of any pain before he and the film dies.

-Michael Masarof

Buy tickets to With a Little Help from Myself : Mon Mar 9: 1 & 6:15

From our archives: Laurent Cantet talks about The Class

March 6, 2009

In honor of Rendez-Vous, this look-back at Laurent Cantet speaking with FilmCatcher about his NYFF selection and Oscar nominated film The Class.

See all our video coverage.

How to Rendez-Vous with hot tickets at the Film Society

March 6, 2009

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Maybe it’s the sexy accents. Maybe it’s the sense of superiority that comes from seeing new César Award-bedecked French cinema before anyone else even hears about it. Maybe it’s because it’s cheaper than flying to Paris. But year after year, Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is one of our most popular programs.

That can lead to some frustrating encounters with the sold-out sign. But fear not the hordes of Francophone cineastes! The filmlinc blog spoke with sources within the Film Society’s ticketing department to get you these exclusive tips on snagging prime seats to this yearly Gallic extravaganza.

First off, last minute tickets should become available to some of this weekend’s hottest seats: SÉRAPHINE (winner of seven Caesars!), EDEN IS WEST (Costa-Gavras in person!), and THE JOY OF SINGING (Opera! Espionage! Love!).

You can always show up before a screening, sold out or otherwise, and tickets may become available to the standby line immediately prior to showtime. Just remember,  it’s Cash Only at the box office.

Further, lots of interesting films are not yet sold out. This weekend:

With a Little Help From Myself: [Sat Mar 7: 4:10] [Mon Mar 9: 1 & 6:15] This pointed social satire immerses the viewer into the world of African immigrant Sonia and the housing project where she lives. When Sonia’s ne’er-do-well husband suffers a fatal heart attack on the day of her daughter’s wedding she hatches a plan with her elderly white neighbor Robert to bury the body and keep the dead man’s pension. Thus begins an unlikely relationship between two of contemporary France’s most marginalized groups, immigrants and the elderly.

Check back next week for a spotlight on some more Rendez-Vous selections you don’t want to miss.

But remember, you didn’t hear it from us.

The Week Ahead March 5-11: Rendez-Vous, C’est Magnifique

March 4, 2009

wamar51Oh la la! It’s another edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. “The best in years” raves the New York Times’ Stephen Holden of the contemporary French film showcase that premieres intimate new works and impressive debuts from the crème de la crème of French directors. The series marks The Film Society’s return to the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall, with the opening night premiere of Christophe Barratier’s Paris 36.

Film Comment Selects Closing Night: The Hurt Locker. Tomorrow, catch Kathryn Bigelow’s smart retake on the action genre, and the closing night of the spectacularly eclectic, always provocative Film Comment Selects.