During the month of September Filmatique presents French Art House, a collection of films from some of the most exciting directors working in France.
Transcending the constraints of space and time, Jean-Marc Vallée's Café de Flore weaves an intricate portrait of a man and a woman connected across countries and decades by an enigmatic bond. Both set in Normandy, Stéphane Brizé's luminous Une Vie (A Woman's Life) depicts the travails of a noble woman alternately enthralled and exploited by her male companions, while Bruno Dumont's Li'l Quinquin plies the conventions of the serial murder-mystery to satirize social and political realities in present-day France. Working for the first time in 3D, Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language is a beguiling video-essay on the experience of being-in-the-world—refracted through the eyes of several young lovers, and a dog.
Featuring the works of stalwarts in French cinema, and including formal experiments with new technologies and television broadcast storytelling, Filmatique's French Art House Series presents diverse and innovative visions of classic themes including love, death, gender, class, political histories and the tenuous nature of community.
Café de Flore, Jean-Marc Vallée / France-Canada, 2011
Present-day Montreal. Antoine is a successful DJ flung into the throes of romance with Rose, yet navigating a still-complicated relationship with his ex-wife and childhood friend Carole, to whom he feels inexplicably bound. In 1960s Paris, young mother Jacqueline sacrifices almost everything to protect Laurent, her son with Down syndrome. These two stories merge and intertwine, forming resonances that ripple across their respective milieux.
A portrait of people connected in mysterious ways, Café de Flore is a vibrant and atmospheric meditation on the ever-shifting and profound power of love. Jean-Marc Vallée's fourth feature premiered at Venice's Settimana della Critica, Toronto, Göteborg and Dublin. Receiving thirteen nominations, Café de Flore won Best Actress at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's Genie Awards.
Une Vie (A Woman's Life), Stéphane Brizé / France-Belgium, 2016
Raised amid the sun-dappled countryside of Normandy, young aristocrat Jeanne meets and soon enters into marriage with the spirited Viscount Julien de Lamare. Before long, however, Julien is off chasing local women while squandering their fortune on drinking and gambling—likewise, motherhood provides Jeanne only the barest of comforts. As she navigates her isolation, the social pressures of her elevated status and a series of men who bring her nothing but grief, the illusions of Jeanne's privilege quickly dissolve.
At once gauzy and desolate, radiant and shadowed, Stéphane Brizé's seventh feature adapts Guy de Maupassant's novel to reveal in quotidian gestures the stark reality of life as a woman in twentieth-century France. Une Vie (A Woman's Life) premiered at BFI London, Busan, Karlovy Vary, Stockholm, and Venice, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize. The film was also awarded the Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film, and is a New York Times Critics' Pick.
Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard / France-Switzerland, 2014
A small town on the shores of Lake Geneva. A ferry comes and goes; a young couple sets up a bookstand. A professor sits on a nearby bench reading a book by Solzhenitsyn, then a catalog of Nicolas de Staël paintings. In the midst of an affair, Gédéon and Josette argue about equality, love, and philosophy. Gédéon believes the two greatest inventions are zero and infinity; Josette counters sex and death. Meanwhile a dog wanders the countryside, invoking an unencumbered perspective.
Formed of parallel viewpoints and an elaborate web of references to art, literature, and history, Goodbye to Language establishes a dialectical relationship between narrative and cinematography in which the deconstruction of one is made manifest through the fracture of the other—culminating in a canine view of the world. Jean-Luc Godard's experimental foray into 3D technology premiered at Busan, Cameraimage, Göteborg, Locarno, Tallinn, Toronto, Vienna and Cannes, where it won the Jury Prize.
Li'l Quinquin, Bruno Dumont / France, 2014
A bovine carcass is discovered inside a WWII bunker nestled along the windswept coast of Northern France. The droll Captain Van der Weyden and his assistant Carpentier are sent to investigate, intersecting with a gang of young pranksters at the scene of the crime. An autopsy reveals the dismembered remains of a human body stuffed inside the beast, soon identified as belonging to the wife of a local farmer. The impish Quinquin and his friends continue to make trouble as the investigation unfolds; meanwhile, a second cow surfaces on the beach.
Marbled with dark humor and traces of farce, Li'l Quinquin dissects the nefarious dimensions of human nature through its absurdist interrogations of violence, religion, race, and politics in a provincial French community. Broadcast in France as a television miniseries, French auteur Bruno Dumont's four-part film premiered at Cannes, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastián, Toronto; São Paulo, where it won an Honorable Mention; and Tromsø, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize.