Chicago French Film Festival: Comedies, Classics & More
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The last date listed for 3rd Annual Chicago French Film Festival was Thursday August 1, 2013 / 5:00pm (Populaire).
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Reviews & Ratings
Friday, July 26 at 9:40pm and Monday, July 29 at 9:30pm: The Prey (La Proie)
Director Eric Valette
France, 2011, 105 minutes
Franck Adrien (Albert Dupontel), a bank robber convicted of a heist, makes the mistake of befriending his seemingly vulnerable cellmate Jean Louis Morel. But, when Jean Louis is released Franck learns that he is actually a sadistic serial killer who now knows private details about Adrien’s life and the whereabouts of his family. To protect his wife and daughter, Franck must escape and catch Morel all while evading the police. Superbly tense, The Prey is a non-stop adrenalin rush that has kept audiences worldwide on the edge of their seats.
Saturday, July 27 at 2:00pm and Tuesday, July 30 at 5:00pm: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (Vous n’avez encore rien vu)
Director Alain Resnais
France/Germany, 2012, 115 minutes
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet opens with a who's-who of French acting royalty (including Mathieu Amalric, Michel Piccoli and Sabine Azéma) being summoned to the reading of a late playwright's last will and testament. When the playwright (Denis Podalydès) asks them to watch a recent production of his Eurydice, a play they all appeared in years ago, these seasoned thespians can’t help but insert themselves into the work. Both wry and wistful Resnais’ film is a valentine to actors and the art of performance.
Saturday, July 27 at 4:30pm and Monday, July 29 at 5:00pm: The Stroller Strategy (Le Stratégie de la pousette)
Director Clément Michel
France, 2013, 90 minutes
Though he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing, Thomas (Raphaël Personnaz), suddenly finds himself taking care of a neighbors baby for a few days. He soon realizes however that his newly assumed role as a “father” may be just what he needs to win back the love of his life Marie (Charlotte Le Bon) who left him because he told her he didn’t want children. With a change of heart and an adorable infant in his favor Thomas’ plan to pass off his charge as his own and prove himself worthy will either totally backfire or rekindle the romance!
Saturday, July 27 at 7:00pm and Thursday, August 1 at 5:00pm: Populaire
Director Régis Roinsard
France, 2012, 111 minutes
Rose (Déborah Francois) longs for a world away from her grouchy widower father, her mechanic fiancé and humdrum small town life so she heads to the city to find a job. During a disastrous interview with the charismatic Louis (Romain Duris) Rose reveals a special gift – she can type at an extraordinary speed. Louis, a former athlete, is inspired, declares himself her coach and vows to turn her into the fastest competitive typist in the world! But a love of competition doesn't always mix well with love itself. Colorful and utterly charming Populaire is a love letter to the 1950s and the innocence of a time gone by.
Saturday, July 27 at 9:30pm and Wednesday, July 31 at 5:15pm: Carré Blanc
Director Jean Baptiste Leonetti
France, 2011, 77 minutes
In an austere dystopian future in which the population is rapidly declining and the weak are killed and used for meat, the young Phillipe (Sami Bouajila) and Marie (Julie Gayet) meet in a brutal state run school where they form a bond based on survival. Years later they are married but estranged and struggling to endure the ruthless, cold world they live in. Disturbing, dark and grim Carre Blanc is an intense film that could best be described as a blend of surreal horror and dark sci-fi.
Sunday, July 28 at 1:30pm and Tuesday, July 30 at 9:15pm: The Dandelions (Du vent dans mes mollets)
Director Carine Tardieu
France, 2012, 89 minutes
Precocious nine-year old Rachel Gladstein lives with her overprotective mother (Agnes Jaoui), her Holocaust survivor father (Denis Podalydès) and regularly visits her eccentric child psychologist Madame Trebla (Isabella Rossellini). Life gets even more interesting when Rachel finds a new best friend in her wild child classmate Valerie and blossoms under her influence, proving that Rachel may, in fact, be the sanest member of the Gladstein family. The Dandelions brims with humor and charm and tells an unpredictable story with realism, pathos and fancy.
Sunday, July 28 at 3:30pm and Wednesday, July 31 at 9:15pm: You Will Be My Son (Tu seras mon fils)
Director Gilles Legrand
France, 2012, 102 minutes
Passionate about his wine and his work, Paul (Niels Arestrup) is the proprietor of his family’s prestigious estate. Disheartened by the thought that his son Martin (Lorànt Deutsch) will inherit the business and the fact that his estate manager, François, is dying, Paul rejects Martin in favor of Philippe (Nicolas Bridet), François’ son, grooming him to be the rightful heir. Work, love and wine all play key roles in this gripping family drama. Oenophiles and cinephiles alike will relish this psychological thriller that showcases the beauty of the Saint Emilion region of France.
Sunday, July 28 at 6:00pm: Wings of Desire (Der Himmel uber Berlin)
Director Wim Wenders
Germany/France, 1987, 127 minutes
This special screening and event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, or Treaty of Friendship, which ushered in a new era of cultural and diplomatic relations between France and Germany and is co-presented with the Chicago Goethe Institut. A beautiful symphony celebrating the city of Berlin, Wings of Desire has become a timeless classic. The angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz), perched on top of buildings high over the city, can hear the thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams of everyone living below. But as one soul speaks to him louder than the others, he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist and realizes he is willing to give up his immortality and return to earth to be with her. Filmed not long before the fall of the Berlin wall, Wings of Desire is an unforgettable tapestry of sounds and images that, with a German director and French actress, perfectly embodies the spirit of the Elysee Treaty.
A Q&A with Sara Hall, Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at UIC and Lorraine Groleau Darrow, director and screenwriting faculty at DePaul University, follows the screening.
Sunday, July 28 at 9:15pm and Tuesday, July 30 at 7:20pm: The Chef (Le Chef)
Director Daniel Cohen
France, 2012, 84 minutes
Chef Alexandre (Jean Reno) of the three-star restaurant Cargo Lagarde is facing a crisis. Much to his horror, his boss wants him to cut costs and introduce molecular gastronomy. Meanwhile, Jacky (Michaël Youn), a self-trained cook with haute-cuisine ambitions, keeps getting canned from menial cooking jobs. When his girlfriend arranges a handyman position for him at an old folks home, he just can't resist the siren call of the kitchen. Together these two masters of the kitchen cook up an irresistibly delightful comedy in this fast paced, frothy French farce.
Wednesday, July 31 at 7:00pm: Un Flic
Director John-Pierre Melville
France, 1972, 98 minutes
Two men, the piano-playing Alain Delon and nightclub owner Richard Crenna are both in love with Catherine Deneuve. One of them is a burnt-out cop and the other is bent on the heist of a lifetime. Legendary director John-Pierre Melville’s final film features iconic performances from the star trio: a jaded detached Delon; a chillingly icy Deneuve; and a smiling, insinuating Crenna. With unforgettable actors and two legendary heist sequences, this dark atmospheric classic has recently returned to the big screen a triumphant and well-deserved success!
Thursday, August 1 at 7:20pm: 11.6 -- Closing Night
Director Philippe Godeau
France, 2013, 102 minutes
On November 5, 2009, Toni Musulin (François Cluzet) made off with 11.6 million Euros. It was the heist of the century and took him years of planning and preparation. But surprisingly, just a few days after pulling off his headline-grabbing crime, Musulin turned himself in. This fictionalized account of Musulin’s famous exploit is based on the book Toni 11.6, by Alice Géraud-Arfi, the only person to interview Musulin in prison where he is currently serving a five-year sentence. 11.6 is a fascinating portrait of a man for whom going to jail may actually be part of the master plan.