The best of 2021, according to France's rising stars

Unifrance’s 10 Talents To Watch in 2022 pick their favourites

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Unifrance 10 Talents to Watch in 2022 - Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, Alice Diop, Arthur Harari, Déborah Lukumuena, Rabah Nait Oufella, Thimotée Robart, Agathe Rousselle, Anamaria Vartolomei,  Lucie Zhang, and Karim Leklou (not pictured)
Unifrance 10 Talents to Watch in 2022 - Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, Alice Diop, Arthur Harari, Déborah Lukumuena, Rabah Nait Oufella, Thimotée Robart, Agathe Rousselle, Anamaria Vartolomei, Lucie Zhang, and Karim Leklou (not pictured) Photo: UniFrance

At the Unifrance 10 Talents to Watch in 2022 press conference this Sunday, I asked directors Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet (Anaïs In Love), Alice Diop (Saint-Omer, We), and Arthur Harari (Onoda; 10,000 Nights In The Jungle), and actors Karim Leklou (Clément Cogitore’s La Goutte d'Or), Déborah Lukumuena (Anaïs Volpé’s The Braves, Constance Meyer’s Robust), Rabah Nait Oufella (Laurent Cantet’s Arthur Rambo, Adam Hegazy’s La Dounia), Thimotée Robart (Vincent Maël Cardona’s Magnetic Beats), Agathe Rousselle (Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or-winner Titane, opposite Vincent Lindon), Anamaria Vartolomei (Audrey Diwan’s Happening), and Lucie Zhang (Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District) to name a favourite film from 2021.

Anne-Katrin Titze, to the panel moderated by Melanie Goodfellow: Which film you saw did you particularly like in 2021?

Lucie Zhang: Titane. That I found striking.

Arthur Harari: “France, by Bruno Dumont is the film that really unsettled me.” Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet: “France also blew my mind.”
Arthur Harari: “France, by Bruno Dumont is the film that really unsettled me.” Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet: “France also blew my mind.” Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Anamaria Vartolomei: I need a bit more time, sorry.

Agathe Rousselle: Annette in the theatre. Annette on my computer I wouldn’t have been able to watch it because it’s long and you didn’t have the crazy sounds for the songs. In the theatre as an experience I found it beautiful.

Thimotée Robart: Drive My Car I would say. And your film [to Arthur Harari on the panel] too. A really, really wonderful film.

Arthur Harari: You are in a Japanese mood, thank you.

Anamaria Vartolomei: I have my answer. A film I saw on my computer and I feel ashamed, it’s Sorrentino’s film Hand Of God. I found it beautiful.

A member of the panel states: Well, it wasn’t released in cinemas, so.

Another notes: I heard there were some special screenings.

Rabah Nait Oufella: There were many of them. I film that I loved is called True Family. And I love Rap.

Déborah Lukumuena: An American film, King Richard, with Will Smith who plays the role of the William’s sisters [tennis stars Serena and Venus] father. The representation of Black people and stories that are not exemplary, that can represent also weaknesses and that means a lot to me as a Black little girl. And I saw it in a theatre and it had a strong impact on the fact that I just cried over this film.

Arthur Harari: France, by Bruno Dumont is the film that really unsettled me. Strangely enough, this is the film that I really retained, especially for Léa Seydoux’s performance that I really didn’t expect. The film is still questioning me, it’s really unsettled me, I can say.

Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet: “Mathieu Amalric’s film that’s incredibly free, Hold Me Tight. It’s incredible to be able to make films like this these days.”
Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet: “Mathieu Amalric’s film that’s incredibly free, Hold Me Tight. It’s incredible to be able to make films like this these days.” Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Alice Diop: I can cheat a bit. A film that I saw on a computer last year, it was Wednesday, Petra Costa’s film [The Edge of Democracy], one of the best films I’ve seen in the last ten years, not only 2021.

Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet: I’ll cheat even more, because there’s Annette, that I saw in Cannes. The opening, it was a crazy experience. France also blew my mind. And Mathieu Amalric’s film that’s incredibly free, Hold Me Tight. It’s incredible to be able to make films like this these days. But also Joachim Trier’s [The Worst Person in the World] film in 12 chapters. There are too many of them.

The 10 to Watch 2022 were selected for the excellence of their work by international journalists Lisa Nesselson (Screen International), Fabien Lemercier (Cineuropa), Elsa Keslassy (Variety), and Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter): they “embody the renewal of our cinema through their audacity, the diversity of their backgrounds, their freshness, exacting career choices, and their commitment.”

The 27th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York, co-presented by Film at Lincoln Center and Unifrance Films will run from Thursday, March 3 through Sunday, March 13.

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