Rosalie Blum (Opening Night)
Thirty-something Vincent Machot is a hairdresser, like his father before him. Life rotates around work, his overbearing mother who lives in the apartment upstairs, and a womanising cousin constantly trying to set him up. But one morning Vincent experiences a powerful déjà-vu when he meets the gaze of a grocery store clerk, Rosalie Blum. Intrigued by this mysterious woman, he begins following her…
Dheepan is a major film event and the winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2015. Three strangers in conflict-ridden northern Sri Lanka band together as a makeshift family in order to flee to the suburbs of Paris: Dheepan, an ex-Tamil Tiger, lost young woman Yalini and orphan girl Illayaal. As they struggle to find stability, they are forced to improvise their relationships. Soon they find they must cope with new violence and intolerance in their adopted home.
The latest idiosyncratic masterwork from the much fêted auteur, Arnaud Desplechin, is a sincere paean to memories of adolescent romance which is by turns wistful and rueful. A prequel to his earlier My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, it won the SACD prize at the Directors’ Fortnight of the Cannes International Film Festival in 2015.
Paul Dédalus recalls his early blossoming of love as a teenager, his awkwardly charming flirtations with the beautiful Esther, resulting in a life-defining affair, that is tested by Paul’s leaving rural France to study in Paris. In two other distinct episodes, Paul also remembers elements of his childhood, and a thrilling school trip journey to Russia involving passport espionage with a local Jewish boy.
This period drama, set in a French village during the Second World War German occupation, has been a huge success in France since 2009. ‘To live is to choose’ is the motto of the series, as we see characters confronted with daily dilemmas of collaboration, resistance and survival.
Stand-up comic sensation Kheiron directs and stars in this inspiring and hilarious retelling of his extraordinary family journey from the tumult of Iran in the late 70s to the feverish melting pot of suburban Paris. He plays his own father, Hibat, a lawyer and eventual political prisoner under the Shah who was released by the Ayatollah. The intolerant climate forces him to flee through Turkey with his wife Fereshteh and baby son. Ultimately the couple’s spirit of rebellion and joie de vivre continues as they make their mark in the migrant suburb of Pierrefitte-sur-Seine.
Mathias, Gabriel, Andrea and Arlette are talent agents who work around the clock to keep their famous movie actor clients happy. But in this industry there seems to be more drama and comedy off the screen than on! Featuring an incredible line-up of real-life French stars, this sharp-edged and irresistible satire of the egos behind modern movie-making, was a ratings smash hit on French television.
Thierry is a middle-aged man, long out of work and short on prospects. His is a precarious existence, surviving with his beloved wife and developmentally challenged son on meagre state benefits while subject to the corroding humiliation of pointless job interviews and skills training. When Thierry finally does land a job as a Head of Security he is thrust into a world of stark moral choices in which he discovers that his job not only pays, it costs.
Ea, on the advice of her brother JC, hacks her father’s computer and sends everyone on Earth a text message with the date God has planned for their demise. Pursued by her wrathful father, Ea flees to Earth, enlisting bored wife Martine as one of her disciples. Meanwhile, after God decides to leave his apartment for the first time he becomes trapped in the outside world, powerless and alone.This brisk, idea-laden and absurdist film toys with the eternal struggle between fate and free will, asking the question – what would you do if you knew the hour of your doom?
Imagine an alternate world where technological progress has been halted. This wonder-filled animation creates a Paris of 1941 built on coal and steam, in a thrilling story that will inspire awe in children and adults alike. Fans of comic book adventures will love this return to traditional line drawings based on the popular books by Jacques Tardi.
In an unnamed African country, the Move For Kids organisation (based on the real-life Zoe’s Ark) is officially established to rescue orphans and provide them with a new life in France. Led by Jacques, it soon becomes apparent that the organisation’s motives behind saving the orphans are not always altruistic. With the line between humanitarian assistance and human trafficking becoming blurred, the stakes and risks get higher. But who is right and who is wrong? As a provocative and urgently current examination of the sometimes murky moral choices made by NGOs in strife-torn environments, this is an ambiguous, disturbing, yet hopeful must-see film.
When the career of politician Philippe is ruined by a presidential candidate Francis, he is set on a path of bitter revenge. Making friends in high and low places, and forging an alliance with his closest advisor Amélie, Philippe does daily battle with his enemies and his own personal demons. For fans of political thrillers, this engrossing drama is both a suspenseful epic and a superb character study.
Within the DGSE (French CIA), the Bureau of Legends is an elite group of deep undercover assets. When one such agent Guillaume, returns to Paris after a long mission in Syria, he is faced with a crisis: he must find another agent operating in Algeria who has gone off the grid. This exciting look at today’s world of espionage has plenty of twists and turns, as well as a refreshingly human story at its heart.
Contempt (Closing Night)
Contempt remains a glorious experience made for the big screen. Over fifty years on from its first release, Jean-Luc Godard’s film remains a touchstone for world cinema, an incandescent work of intellect and passion, and a true movie icon.
Godard self-reflexively tells the story of a screenwriter Paul Javal, who is working on a script of The Odyssey, directed by film giant Fritz Lang, and sure to be a box-office bomb. Art, commerce and personal affairs clash as Paul courts favour with brash producer Jerry Prokosch, and compromises his marriage to Camille.