Co-presented by Unifrance
During the month of February Filmatique has partnered with Unifrance to present a compelling selection of films competing in the 9th annual My French Film Festival.
In So Help Me God, the creative team behind cult television series Strip-Tease delves into the Belgian justice system vis-à-vis Anne Gurwez, an eccentric magistrate investigating a cold-case while forced to battle the quotidian absurdities of her life as a judge. A vastly different procedural, Èrick Zonca's Parisian noir Black Tide, stars Vincent Cassel as a washed-up detective conducting an investigation that seems to always lead back to himself. Child surrogacy dramedy Diane Has the Right Shape marks a confident debut from Fabien Gorgeart; Pascale Pante's celebrated ode to youth Fake Tattoos traces the romance of two punk teenagers in Montreal while Alex Lutz directs and stars in Guy, a mockumentary-cum-road film circling a musical celebrity who's past his prime.
Weighing crime and justice alongside lighter explorations of love, fame, family, youth and passing time— and spotlighting three feature debuts— Filmatique's My French Film Festival II Series presents a panorama of contemporary French cinema, diverse and ever-evolving as the fabric of French society itself.
So Help Me God, Yves Hinant & Jean Libon / France-Belgium, 2016
Some twenty years ago, two prostitutes were murdered in an upper-class Brussels neighborhood. Celebrated Belgian magistrate Anne Gurwez decides to re-visit this cold case, poring over the evidence with the use of new technologies and tracking down former suspects only to find one dead and another living abroad. Over the course of three years Gurwez immerses herself in criminal investigations, hearings, and crime scene visits, providing a behind-the-scenes view of hidden aspects of society, legal systems, and human nature.
Teetering on farce and proving that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction, So Help Me God embraces the politically incorrect personality of its protagonist to shed clarity on intentionally opaque aspects of Belgian life. The feature documentary debut of Yves Hinant and Jean Libon— the team behind satirical cult television series Strip-Tease— premiered at Göteborg, Palm Springs, BFI London; San Sebastián, where it won a Special Mention from the Jury; and Dublin, where it won Best Documentary.
Black Tide, Èrick Zonca / France-Belgium, 2018
François Visconti is an adept if not world-weary police detective. Decades spent investigating dark and vicious crimes has led him to disillusion, if not a drinking problem. When sixteen-year-old Dany Arnault goes missing, Visconti is assigned the case; meanwhile, his own son Denis is mixed up in nefarious activities of his own. As Visconti questions people close to the missing boy, an overzealous former teacher offers his help, bringing the investigation a little too close to home.
Featuring a rugged lead performance from Vincent Cassel, Black Tide interrogates questions of family, violence and masculinity with noir atmosphere to spare. Èrick Zonca's fourth film premiered at Fantasia Fest, Sitges, Istanbul, Belgrade and Transilvania.
Fake Tattoos, Pascal Plante / Canada (2017)
It's Theo's 18th birthday and he's spending it alone, getting drunk at a punk rock show. While ordering a beer a teenage girl behind him remarks on the tattoo Theo has on his arm, noticing it's fake. From there Mag invites him to spend the night on her place, but before long the two realize their budding romance has an expiration date: Theo is set to leave Montreal at the end of the summer. This bittersweet freedom engulfs their endless afternoons and evenings spent together, aware that all good things must end.
Imbued with naturalistic performances from its leads and an eye for youth culture, Fake Tattoos is an iridescent ode to the textures of adolescence and first love. Pascal Plante's debut feature premiered at Slamdance, Berlin, Seattle; FNC - Festival du Nouveau Cinema, where it won the Grand Prix; Rhode Island, where it won Best Director.
Diane Has the Right Shape, Fabien Gorgeart / France, 2017
Diane doesn't hesitate for a moment when her best friends, Thomas and Jacques, ask her to be the surrogate mother of their child. She retreats to her grandparents' old home in the countryside for the duration of her pregnancy, seizing the opportunity to fix up the place so she can sell it. When handsome electrician Fabrizio arrives for routine maintenance to the property, however, it is in these less than perfect circumstances that Diane falls in love.
Infused with gravity and light comedic flourishes alike, Diane Has the Right Shape weaves an unconventional portrait of childbearing dynamics and a woman belatedly coming-of-age. Fabien Gorgeart's first film premiered at Lisbon - French Film Festival, Varilux Brazil and FIFF.
Guy, Alex Lutz / France, 2018
Young journalist Gauthier learns from his mother that he's the illegitimate son of once famous but now aging French pop singer Guy Jamet, who is back in the limelight promoting a new cover album. Motivated by the need to know this man, Gauthier poses as a documentary filmmaker seeking to accompany Jamet on tour, following his unwitting father on the road, behind the scenes and on-stage as he revels in nostalgic moments from his heyday.
Guy is an ebullient mockumentary that blends humor and heart to interrogate fame, youth and the passing of time. Alex Lutz's second film premiered at Cannes' Semaine de la Critique, Hamburg, Morelia, FNC - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.