New York Rendez-Vous with French Cinema encore highlights

My King, Summertime, Two Friends and 21 Nights With Pattie.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

New York Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center
New York Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

As Guillaume Nicloux's Valley Of Love, starring Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert opens this year's Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York tonight, here are four more highlights. Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel are brilliant in Maïwenn's My King (Mon Roi) with Isild Le Besco and Two Friends (Deux Amis) director Louis Garrel. Garrel's film, co-written with Christophe Honoré, stars Golshifteh Farahani (Asghar Farhadi's About Elly), Vincent Macaigne and Garrel.

Isabelle Carré, Karin Viard, Denis Lavant (of Léos Carax's Holy Motors fame) and André Dussollier in Jean-Marie Larrieu and Arnaud Larrieu's alluring 21 Nights With Pattie (21 Nuits Avec Pattie) and Catherine Corsini's hot Summertime (La Belle Saison) Izïa Higelin, Cécile de France and Noémie Lvovsky with a score by Grégoire Hetzel (composer of Mathieu Amalric's The Blue Room) add to the early bird highlights.

My King (Mon Roi)

My King (Mon Roi)
My King (Mon Roi)

Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel give spectacular performances in their portrayal of what has become a rarity in movies - a couple truly enjoying each other's company and allowing us in on the fun. Georgio morphs before our eyes on screen. Tony (Bercot), an independent, educated, attractive woman, falls utterly and completely in love with him. During the early days of courtship, and numerous times in-between, they have the lighthearted bond of Myrna Loy and William Powell until suspicions cloud the skies as they did for Joan Fontaine when she realizes some unwanted things about Cary Grant's Johnny. Two parallel strands of storytelling - one forward showing Tony's painful progress at a seaside physical therapy facility after a skiing accident that results in a ligament tear, and one backwards, recounting the couple's eventful life together - cleverly take us into and out of emotional entanglements. Maïwenn's My King (Mon Roi) works in waves. We are pulled under and spat out to reflect for ourselves about the human heartbreak we witness. What more can you want from cinema?

US Premiere Wednesday, March 9, 6:30pm (Q&A with Maïwenn and Louis Garrel) -Thursday, March 10, 9:45pm (Introduction by Maïwenn)

Summertime (La Belle Saison)

Summertime (La Belle Saison)
Summertime (La Belle Saison)

Paris in the spring of 1971 - Delphine (Izïa Higelin) freshly arrived from the farm where she grew up, by chance or fate, finds herself on the same street where a group of women in protest slap the behinds of men strolling by. This is how she meets Carole (Cécile de France), a feminist activist with undeniable charm. The ensuing love story temporarily leads both women back to Delphine's parental place near Limoges where they really get to know not only each other but also the prejudices of the society around them. Very alive and funny, de France displays the same transformative magnetism and deep goodheartedness that made the Dardenne's The Kid With A Bike so powerful. Director Catherine Corsini places the love story in the center without ever blurring the edges. Grégoire Hetzel's score is smart and bold. Noémie Lvovsky as Delphine's mother, a woman who is capable of almost single-handedly running an entire farm without ever taking credit for it, quietly steals the scenes she is in. Her body language, the house dresses she wears for work, and the deeply engrained positions of what cannot be, are as real as can be.

US Premiere Tuesday, March 8, 9:15pm (Introduction by composer Grégoire Hetzel) - Saturday, March 12, 4:30pm

Two Friends (Deux Amis)

Two Friends (Deux Amis)
Two Friends (Deux Amis)

Louis Garrel begins his directorial debut feature with a woman taking a shower. The shower is behind bars, and Mona (Golshifteh Farahani) has to return to her cell every night after her shift at a cafe kiosk in the Gare du Nord. Vincent (Vincent Macaigne) is one of her customers and convinced that he loves her although he knows nothing about her. His best and only and maybe not much longer friend Abel (Garrel himself) falls back on his own vast maturity in relationships - we see him with prostitutes, his high school-age girlfriend, and chatting up a clearly not-single woman in a car at the gas station where he works - in order to help Vincent get the girl or some such thing. Christophe Honoré co-wrote the script, unmistakably clear when Mona feels like dancing, which links her to Chiara Mastroianni in Honoré's sparkling Beloved and all the way back to Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Who cares for whom and how much?

US Premiere Sunday, March 6, 6:30pm (Q&A with Louis Garrel) - Monday, March 7, 9:00pm (Introduction by Louis Garrel)

21 Nights With Pattie (21 Nuits Avec Pattie)

21 Nights With Pattie (21 Nuits Avec Pattie)
21 Nights With Pattie (21 Nuits Avec Pattie)

21 Nights With Pattie is an enticing absurdist workout up the Pyrénées garden path, Lynchian deer omen included. Caroline (Isabelle Carré in perfect disbelief) arrives in a small hamlet for the funeral of her estranged mother. The large house in the leafy hills, the pool, the hunky construction workers from the village who continue even after their employer's death, have a magical flair. There is the chatty Pattie (Karin Viard), the dead mother's housekeeper and friend, spilling her extensive amorous exploits like a waterfall to the newcomer. Then the mother's corpse disappears without a trace, and the gendarme comes up with a number of theories - most of them tied to necrophilia. A local satyr, played by Denis Lavant as a guy whose every tenth word you understand, throws timber onto a truck as part dance, part invention of a bored child, part pre-human creature made from roots and moss. When Jean (André Dussollier), a writer friend of her mother's, arrives at the house, Caroline checks the library. Genet, Giono, Cocteau, Rousseau - all dead. Not so another Jean, Nobel Prize winner J.M.G. Le Clézio who left an inscription in his book. Dussollier is hilarious in the role, adding little sighs, the way Dustin Hoffman did in The Graduate. Mysterious and not exactly a ghost story, Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu's film poses an enchanted plea to let desires have a ball once in a while. They play fetch with us and as we run after the stick, we realize that nothing was thrown in that direction.

US Premiere Friday, March 11, 1:30pm - Saturday, March 12, 6:45pm

The uniFrance and Film Society of Lincoln Center's 21st Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York runs from March 3 through March 13. Screenings and filmmaker appearances will take place at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center.

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