Co-presented by Unifrance
During the month of February Filmatique is partnering with Unifrance to present a diverse selection of works competing in the 8th annual My French Film Festival, presided over by Jury President Paolo Sorrentino alongside renowned film directors Nabil Ayouch (Horses of God, Much Loved), Kim Chapiron (Sheitan), Julia Ducournau (Raw), and Brillante Mendoza (Ma' Rosa). Featuring three films from female directors and two debut features among a selection documentaries, independent comedies and an acerbic study of cinematic style, Filmatique's My French Film Festival Series presents emerging talents from one of the world's most loyal sources.
Willy the 1st, the first feature from Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier and Hugo P. Thomas, is an existential comedy unfolding in the French countryside when 50-something Willy moves out of his parents' house for the first time. Ava is a visually stunning meditation on the nature of sight itself, chronicling the misadventures of a young girl as she starts going blind while on vacation in the South of France. A much different experience lies at the perimeter of this hazy, sun-soaked atmosphere in Maryam Goormaghtigh's first documentary Before Summer Ends, as a group of Iranian exiles roadtrip in an effort to persuade one among them to stick it out in France, rather than returning home. Dual portraits of Parisian life are presented in Swagger and In Bed with Victoria— Olivier Babinet's third feature surveys teenage life in the banlieue while Justine Triet's second film depicts a single mother on the verge of a breakdown.
Exploring themes of confusion, isolation, loneliness and exile amid the experiences of immigrants and successful white-collar women alike, Filmatique's My French Film Festival Series presents a panorama of contemporary French cinema, diverse and ever-evolving as the fabric of French society itself.
Willy the 1st, Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier & Hugo P. Thomas / France, 2016
Willy, pushing 50 and living in the French countryside, has just lost his brother to suicide. Facing the threat of being put in a home, Willy leaves his parents' house for the first time and moves to a neighboring village. Willy sets out to find a job, a scooter, some friends and most of all his place in an unfamiliar world.
A deadpan portrait of a maladjusted adult, Willy the 1st utilizes understated performances and wry humor to portray the doldrums of rural French existence. This first feature from Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma, Marielle Gautier and Hugo P. Thomas premiered at Cannes ACID and Deauville, where it won the Prix d'Ornano-Valenti.
Ava, Léa Mysius / France, 2017
Ava is a 13-year-old girl on a seaside vacation with her family when she learns that her retinitis pigmentosa, a rare condition, is progressing quickly and that she will thus lose her sight earlier than expected. In an effort to make this the best summer ever, Ava's mother acts as if nothing has happened while Ava embraces the last flings of summer romance and the darkness that will soon subsume her.
Sensual, evocative and ephemeral, Ava is a stunning visual meditation on youth, female sexuality and the nature of sight itself. Léa Mysius' first feature premiered at Cannes' Semaine de la Critique; Stockholm, where it won Best Cinematography; and Montréal, where it won Best Film.
Before Summer Ends, Maryam Goormaghtigh / France & Switzerland, 2017
After five years of study in Paris, Arash hasn't adapted to French life and decides to return home to Iran. Hoping to change his mind, his friends Hossein and Ashkan drag him away on a final trip across France.
Capturing the atmosphere of exile, male friendship and the longing for home, Before Summer Ends offers a naturalistic portrait of the Iranian diaspora through the eyes of three young men. Maryam Goormaghtigh's first documentary feature premiered at Cannes' ACID; London BFI, where it won a Special Mention; and Zurich, where it won the Emerging Swiss Talent Award.
Swagger, Olivier Babinet / France, 2016
Aïssatou Dia, a shy teenage girl living in the Parisian suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, attends school each day knowing the odds are stacked against her. The fashionable Regis N'Kissi greets each day with a smile and focuses on his dreams rather than his fears. Nine other children and teenagers demonstrate astonishing personalities and hopes for the future despite growing up in some of France's most underprivileged housing projects.
Capturing the perspectives of Parisian youth living on the fringes of society, Swagger strikes a poignant and topical portrait of life inside France's primarily-immigrant banlieue. Olivier Babinet's first documentary feature premiered at Cannes ACID, CPH:DOX, Jeonju, Hamburg, Stockholm and Quebec City, where it won the Jury Prize.
In Bed with Victoria, Justine Triet / France, 2016
Victoria is a criminal defense attorney on the verge of an emotional breakdown. She has two young children at home and her ex-husband has become quite a successful blogger intent on character assassination, detailing Victoria's past exploits through the lens of an anonymous woman who is very thinly veiled. When at a wedding, Victoria runs into her old friend Vincent and Sam, a past client she had successfully represented. But these twin encounters lead Victoria down a strange road both personally and professionally.
A light, comedic portrait of an imperfect woman in increasingly desperate circumstances, Justine Triet's second feature film examines male hegemony in the rom-com genre by subtly inverting the formula. In Bed with Victoria premiered at Cannes' Semaine de la Critique, Hong Kong, Jeonju and Vienna.