French film gems coming to festival
THE Alliance Française Cote du Nord, Lismore, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month with a three day film festival at Ballina Fair Cinemas.
Five recently released movies, all subtitled in English, will be screened:
- 150 Milligrams (La Fille De Brest, drama, rated MA): Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, stars Sidse Babett Knudsen, Benoit Magimel and Charlotte Laemmel. Based on a true story. A provincial doctor from the town of Brest, Brittany, led the way in exposing one of the biggest public health scandals in recent French history. A drug intended for diabetics was prescribed to a wider market, people trying to lose weight. Hundreds of patients died and many more would have followed if the pharma lab Servier had not been exposed. It turns out about 500 deaths were linked to the drug, and most of the deceased were women. With quiet forcefulness, Bercot and screenwriter Severine Bosschem evoke how gender issues play a part in this complex story, from the way Irene is sometimes patronized by her male peers, to how it affects her home life. Even the film's French title La Fille de Brest points to the way Irene's opponents sought to diminish her as mere provincial 'girl' from the sticks.
- A Bag Of Marbles (Un Sac De Billes, drama, rated M) Directed by Christian Duguay, stars Dorian Le Clech, Patrick Bruel, Batyste Fleurial and Elsa Zylberstein. Based on the acclaimed memoirs of Joseph Joffo, A Bag of Marbles brings his incredible story to the screen as it follows the experiences of two young Jewish boys living in France during World War II. When Joseph Joffo was ten years old, his father (Patrick Bruel,Love at First Child) gave him and his brother Maurice some money and a map and sent them on a dangerous mission to escape Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941. Making their way to the demilitarised zone in the South, the boys become unavoidably caught in the whirlwind of war. Aided by the occasional kind soul, the two young boys swerve and dart through obstacles set by Nazi soldiers to avoid the dreadful fate of so many others in this situation.
- The Odyssey (L'Odyssée, adventure, rated PG). Directed by Jérôme Salle, stars Lambert Wilson, Pierre Niney, Audrey Tautou and Vincent Heneine. Jérôme Salle's dazzling biopic of the chaotic life of celebrity oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. It is 1943 and the eccentrically ambitious naval officer Cousteau (Lambert Wilson) dreams of adventure. His magnificent new invention of the Aqua-Lung promises to bring him just that. Newly armed with the ability to breathe underwater for long periods of time, Cousteau dedicates his life's work to his obsession with the sea, becoming the first to create underwater films that dazzle audiences worldwide. His success comes at a cost, however, as his wife Simone (Audrey Tautou) and sons Philippe (Pierre Niney) and Jean-Michel (Benjamin Lavernhe) struggle to keep up with Cousteau's fierce and unfailing determination, the ultimate price of which is yet to come. Through a dazzling array of global exploration locations, we undertake this journey almost as if a member of Cousteau's crew.
- Planetarium (drama, rated M): Directed by Rebecca Zlotowski, stars Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger and Louis Garrel. Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp star as two American sisters travelling through Europe. Gifted with the power to connect with the spiritual world, the quiet and ethereal teenager Kate (Depp) performs a clairvoyant act while her elder sister Laura (Portman) negotiates her bookings and fees behind the scenes. Broke and searching for their big break, the sisters arrive in a dazzling, champagne-soaked Paris, where they meet the movie-producer André Korben (Salinger) who is enchanted by their spiritualism and decides he wants to shoot the sisters' séances as part of an ambitious new film. However, the uncertainty of the sister's relationship with each other and with Anton forms a toxic combination.
- Mister Chocolat (Chocolat, drama, rated M): Directed by Roschdy Zem, stars Omar Sy, James Thierrée, Noémie Lvovsky and Frédéric Pierrot. The fascinating rise-and-fall story of the first popular Afro-Cuban artist of the French stage. Lavishly set in stunning Belle Époque Paris, it is beautifully realised through the energised performances of Omar Sy (The Intouchables) and real-life circus-performer and grandson of Charlie Chaplin, James Thierrée. During the late 1800s, former slave Chocolat (Sy) is making a living in a provincial French circus performing the role of a toothbaring cannibal named Kalanka, a novel spectacle for the country people who have never seen a black man before. He impresses established performer George Footit (Thierrée) who takes him under his wing and they develop a routine which catapults them to stardom, glamour and riches in Paris' Nouveau Cirque. However Chocolat's desire for equality begins to take hold. Mister Chocolat blends sharp and impressive physical comedy with moving compassion, gloriously restoring the great legacy of this trail blazing artist.