The Focus on French Cinema festival is organized by the Greenwich Alliance Française in partnership with the Cinémania Francophone film festival in Montreal, and is set to return to Connecticut and Manhattan from April 27 through May 1, 2018.
Some 18 Francophone movies are set to be screened for the festival’s 14th year, including seven for the first time in the United States. Albert Dupontel’s See You Up There, will open the festival in Greenwich on April 27. The movie depicts the life of an artist mutilated during World War I, and picked up five César Awards including Best Director.
Hubert Charuel’s first feature-length movie, Bloody Milk, also won over the French press and audiences alike. The drama centered around the farming world and filmed in the Haute-Marne département “makes the viewer feel all of the anxiety of a young farmer who is terrified by a disease that appears to be spreading in his herd of cattle,” says movie critic Joe Meyers, who is also director of the festival’s programming. He also recommends Montparnasse Bienvenüe, a film about a 30-something woman who turns her back on her quiet life, and which won the Caméra d’Or Award at Cannes in 2017. In this film, the journalist sees the bravery of leading actress Laetitia Dosch as reminiscent of “the work Gena Rowlands did in the early John Cassavetes films.”
This year’s line-up also features Squat from Quebecer director Samuel Matteau, which follows two teenagers as they try to escape from their sleepy suburban lives. François Girard’s Hochelaga, Land of Souls is a fantastical exploration of the history of Quebec from the arrival of Jacques Cartier up to the modern day. Godard Mon Amour by Michel Hazanavicius offers a biographical comedy about Jean-Luc Godard set in France during the unrest of May 1968. And don’t miss C’est la vie! from Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, the pair behind the successful comedy The Intouchables.
The festival will close with two screenings at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York on May 1. Breton explorer Luc Hardy will personally present Arktika Incognita, the account of his expedition to the New Siberian Islands, while filmmaker Gaël Morel will be presenting Catch the Wind featuring an outstanding Sandrine Bonnaire as a worker faced with the closure of her factory. “We are proud to represent such extraordinary women,” says Renée Amory Ketcham, the festival director. “The directors and actresses Laetitia Dosch, Nathalie Fuchs, Sara Giraudeau, Colombe Savignac, and Léonor Serraille are as intrepid as they are pioneering.”
Focus on French Cinema
April 27 through May 1, 2018