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French Films

35 Shots of Rum (35 Rhums)

Directed by: Claire Denis, France, 100 minutes, Rating: MT

The relationship between a father and daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man. A widowed subway conductor, approaching retirement, lives with his beautiful grown daughter—the object of a neighbor’s growing romantic interest. The man’s former girlfriend also lives in their building and plays a role in their closely-knit lives.

8 Women (Huit Femmes)

Directed by: François Ozon,
France/Italy
,
111 minutes, Rating: R

Set in the 1950s, this musical comedy murder-mystery explores the death of the master of a country house by one of the eight women who were in the house at the time of the murder. The film features eight of France’s most celebrated actresses, including Catherine Deneuve, Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart and Isabelle Huppert.  This film will be presented by film critic Farihah Zaman of The Huffington Post and Reverse Shot magazine.

A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noël)

Directed by: Arnaud Desplechin, France, 150 minutes, Rating: MT

The Vuillard family is no stranger to physical/mental illness, loss and familial disagreements. However, when the matriarch becomes in need of a transplant, the whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas. Featured as the Best Film of 2008 on many critics’ top ten lists, A Christmas Tale features incredible performances from Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos.  This film will be presented by film critic Farihah Zaman of The Huffington Post and Reverse Shot magazine.

French Cancan

Directed by: Jean Renoir,
France/Italy
,
102 minutes, Rating: MT

Peter Bogdanovich will present this Technicolor wonder from French luminary Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion). The film chronicles the revival of Paris’ most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge.

Nénette

Directed by: Nicolas Philibert, France, 70 minutes, Rating: TN

Rapt observation of Nénette, a 40-year-old orangutan who’s resided at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris since 1972, has the uncanny knack for eliciting astonishing bits of philosophy and whimsy from her human visitors.  The film is the latest effort from Nicolas Philibert, whose 2002 film To Be and To Have is also featured in our Contemporary French Masters Spotlight.

On Tour

Directed by: Mathieu Amalric, France, 111 minutes, Rating: MT

Unapologetically bawdy, bodacious, and full of frenetic energy, On Tour travels alongside a raucous troupe of American burlesque performers and their hot-tempered manager as take their act on the road in France for the first time. Director and star Mathieu Amalric took Best Director honors at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for his effort on the film.  Amalric also stars in Arnaud Desplechin's masterpiece A Christmas Tale, featured in our Spotlight Section on Contemporary French Masters this year.

Potiche

Directed by: François Ozon, France, 103 minutes, Rating: MT

French stalwarts Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu anchor this wry and vibrant satire from Francois Ozon (also featured in our Contemporary French Masters spotlight with 8 Women).  Deneuve charms as a bourgeois matriarch who takes over the family umbrella business when her husband takes ill, challenging all the 1970s gender role taboos in the process.  Closing Night Film

Queen To Play

Directed by: Caroline Bottaro,
France/Germany
,
96 minutes, Rating: MT

In his first completely foreign language performance (French), Oscar-winner Kevin Kline is a reclusive American expat who befriends his disillusioned chambermaid on the island of Corsica.  Their initially strained relationship begins to thaw when she enlists him to tutor her in the finer points of chess.

Read My Lips (Sur mes lèvres)

Directed by: Jacques Audiard, France, 115 minutes, Rating: R

A contemporary thriller set in the streets and offices of a gritty Paris rarely seen on the big screen, this Jacques Audiard (of last year's Oscar-nominated powerhouse A Prophet) classic centers on Carla (Emmanuelle Devos), the partially-deaf main protagonist and her intense relationship with Paul (Vincent Cassel, Black Swan), an ex-con who she hires to be her assistant but quickly becomes her lover and partner in crime.  The film will be introduced by Dr. Tim Palmer, an Associate Professor of Film Studies at UNC-Wilmington.  Dr.

Rubber

Directed by: Quentin Dupieux,
France/USA
,
85 minutes, Rating: MT

When a telekinetic killer tire named Robert awakens to terrorize a sleepy desert town in the American Southwest, nobody is safe.  Yes, you read that right, the antagonist is actually a sentient, steel-belted radial with a vendetta in this riotously entertaining farce from director Quentin Dupieux, perhaps better known to fans of electronica as Mr. Oizo.

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