11 March, 2009

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in New York

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

The on-going love affair between American audiences and French cinema is having a honeymoon perriod over the next weeks, with the annual celebration of gallic moviemaking called Rendez-Vous With French Cinema. Co-presented by Unifrance and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the program is presenting 18 French films that range from the glossy to the gritty, reflecting the current themes of the current generation of French film autuers.

The series launched last week with a gala screening at the newly opened Alice Tully Hall ith the U.S. Premiere of Christophe Barratier's musical period piece, PARIS 36 (the film had its international premiere this past summer as the Opening Night Film at the Montreal World Film Festival). A follow-up to the director’s international hit THE CHORUS, the ation takes place in a Depression-era music hall in Paris. Sony Classics will release the film stateside April 3.

Among the highlights of the program is the biopic SERAPHINE, about the 20th century painter Seraphine de Senlis, that won 7 Cesar Awards earlier this week (the French Oscar), including Best Film honors. Another hot ticket item is Jean-Francois Richet's two-part MESRINE, which won Best Director and Best Actor honors at the ceremony. Vincent Cassel stars as the master con artist and criminal in the film that will have its U.S. release later this summer in the United States by newly created distributor Senator Entertainment.

Other well known directors participating in the series include Claire Denis ("35 Shots of Rum"), Agnes Varda (best documentary Cesar winner "The Beaches of Agnes"), Andre Techine ("Girl on the Train"), Costa-Gavras ("Eden is West") and Benoit Jacquot ("Villa Amalia").

Among the many celebrated French stars making appearances in films in the series are Catherine Deneuve (as the mother of a Jewish girl attacked in a hate crime in Andre Techine’s THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN); Gerard Depardieu as a troubled police commissioner in the latest suspense film by maestro Claude Chabrol; Isabelle Huppert as a damaged woman who finds a new life on the cosat of Naples in VILLA AMALIA by director Benoit Jacquot; and Emannuelle Seigner, as a distant Parisian professional in the ensemble drama CHANGE OF PLANS, from the mother-and-son filmmaking team Daniel and Christopher Thompson. For a full roster of films, visit the website:

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