On Wednesday, March 4, it was announced by UniFrance that the French delegation, including UniFrance President Serge Toubiana, Lucie Borleteau, Maïmouna Doucouré, Mehdi Idir, Claude Lelouch, Valérie Perrin, Chiara Mastroianni, Mounia Meddour, Nicolas Pariser, Bruno Dumont, Sarah Suco, Pascal Bonitzer, Cédric Klapisch, Alice Winocour, and Juliette Binoche would not be attending Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York. Who You Think I Am (Celle Que Vous Croyez) director Safy Nebbou and An Easy Girl (Une Fille Facile) director Rebecca Zlotowski are still scheduled to do a Q&A.
Juliette Binoche with sea turtle: “I can say that this film had been a dream. I had been nagging Kore-eda for 12 years to write something and do something in France and he did.” Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Adeline Monzier, UniFrance New York Office Director, introduced the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema Opening Night with the following remarks before the screening of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth (La Vérité):
Adeline Monzier: “We will miss the French talents, we will miss their insights on their work and the discussion between them and you, our beloved New York audience. I don’t think anyone could have foreseen even a few days ago that we would celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rendez-Vous in these circumstances. So we had to be creative and we’re gong to bring you the Rendez-Vous talent virtually through videos recorded just for you.
“And yes, we are living in unusual times where suddenly travelling is restricted and hopping from one plane to the other may not be a given anymore. And in these unusual times, cinema might just be the answer. Cinema offers to us more perhaps than any other artistic or social means currently available to us, a unique perspective on different countries, different cultures, different people and makes us citizens of the world. So for this year’s selection of French film we invite you all to travel without leaving your seats and to discover the complexity and richness of contemporary France.”
Adeline Monzier: “We will miss the French talents, we will miss their insights on their work and the discussion between them and you, our beloved New York audience.” Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Juliette Binoche on video: “Hello everyone! Unfortunately we cannot be with you tonight because of the virus situation. But Ethan is with you and will present the film. I can say that this film had been a dream. I had been nagging Kore-eda for 12 years to write something and do something in France and he did. And created that family and I was suddenly in front of Catherine Deneuve playing my mother. She was one of my icons when I was a little girl, so I was just pinching myself.
“Ethan has been a real pleasure because he’s so creative. He loves improvising, he loves singing and playing. I want to say hello to all my friends who came tonight. I’m so sorry I’m not with you. I hope you enjoy the film ad have a great great time. ”
Ethan Hawke: “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema! It may even have been in this theatre, when I was about 13, my mother brought me to see Pauline at the Beach. It began an idealised relationship. I mean, I just wanted to be with Pauline on the beach. In an Eric Rohmer film. Surely, thereafter I auditioned for Richard Linklater for Before Sunrise and he said “Have you ever seen an Eric Rohmer film? And so it feels like really wonderful to get to be here with you.
Helen Scott, L’Amie Américaine author and Uni France President Serge Toubiana free event with Adeline Monzier, moderated by Annette Insdorf, has been cancelled. Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
“Can you believe how cute Juliette Binoche is? She’s just adorable. It was so wonderful to work with her. It’s strange to be upstaged by a video! If you guys could be with these remarkable women, as I was, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche. When you meet people who are internationally famous and get to spend time with them, you realise that this is completely not by accident. They’re remarkable people. They think differently and they speak differently and approach our work differently.
“It was such a pleasure to be near them in this pretty strange environment. With a director who didn’t speak French or English. It was almost like this eye of God, you weren’t even sure was present but he was just kind of watching everything. I don’t know what you’re going to make of this film. I don’t know what I make out of it but I’m glad I’m in it. I’m glad to be here with you.”
Who You Think I Am (Celle Que Vous Croyez) - U.S. Premiere, Friday, March 6, 6:00pm (Q&A with Safy Nebbou) - Monday, March 9, 2:00pm
Burning Ghost (Vif-argent) - U.S. Premiere, Tuesday, March 10, 1:45pm - Friday, March 13, 6:30pm (Q&A with Stéphane Batut)
An Easy Girl (Une Fille Facile) - North American Premiere, Saturday, March 7, 9:00pm (Q&A with Rebecca Zlotowski) - Thursday, March 12, 4:00pm
The 25th Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, organised by Film at Lincoln Center’s Florence Almozini with UniFrance, runs through March 15 at the Walter Reade Theater in New York.