Saturday, March 6, 2010

FIAF hosts Belgian Cinema series; In-person! Yolande Moreau with a Q&A

French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is hosting another set of sublime CinémaTuesdays with The Whimsical World of Belgian Cinema which began this past Tuesday and will continue through March 30 at FIAF's Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, NYC.

The program, part of the celebration of Francophone Month, offers a special CinémaTuesdays series spotlighting contemporary Belgian cinema: nine works representative of Belgium’s film industry, including a New York/U.S. premiere and a presentation of When the Sea Rises, featuring its star and director, the critically acclaimed and award-winning Yolande Moreau (shown above), who will make an in-person appearance for an audience Q&A.

The Belgium film industry has risen to international prominence in the past twenty years – particularly in the region of Wallonia, which has released numerous films to widespread critical praise. On the FIAF program is a New York and a U.S. premiere of a movie based on a popular Belgian comic book, Largo Winch will debut on March 9, 2010, in its New York premiere, followed by the topical black comedy Louise-Michel on March 30, 2010, which was a hit at both the 2009 Sundance Festival and New Directors/New Films here in NYC.  Also on March 30, FIAF will welcome Louise-Michel star Yolande Moreau, who will conduct a Q&A session following a 7pm presentation of her 2004 award-winning film, When the Sea Rises.

The series The Whimsical World of Belgian Cinema was curated by Marie Losier and produced in cooperation with L’office de tourisme belge: Bruxelles-Wallonie and with Wallonie-Bruxelles International.

Out of the series listed below, TrustMovies has seen -- and highly recommends -- When the Sea Rises, Toto the Hero, Ma Vie en Rose and (to a lesser extent) Man Bites Dog.  He'll be out of town, sadly, for Largo Winch but will be back in time to catch Louise-Michel.  Here's the remaining program for your delectation:

Largo Winch
New York Premiere Event
March 9 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Jérôme Salle. 2008. Color. 108 min.

With Tomer Sisley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Miki Manojlovic and Mélanie Thierry.

A hugely successful Belgian comic book, Largo Winch now brings its trademark tales of international espionage to the screen. Sisley stars as the unjustly jailed son of a murdered billionaire who now must crawl out of prison to prevent those who attacked his family from stealing a fortune.

“Epic and well directed, Largo Winch is a true good popular French-y entertainment. Why ask for more?”— Gaël Golhen, Première


Il court… il court le monde
March 16 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne. 1987. Color. 10 min.
With Jean-Paul Dermont, John Dobrynine, François Duisinx.

The Dardenne brothers’ first foray, after years of documentary projects, into fiction was this short about a television director who suffers a car crash, interrupting his work on a special about…speed. Even in this early film, the Dardennes’ hallmark themes of time and chance are very much present.


Man Bites Dog (C’est arrivé près de chez vous)
March 16 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Rémy Belvaux and André Bonzel. 1992. B&W. 95 min.
With Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert
Note: This film contains R-rated material

Three filmmakers track the daily activities of Ben, who loves poetry and philosophy. He is also an unrepentant serial killer. Winner of the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes (1992), Man Bites Dog is an unsettling portrait of the media and its relationship to the subjects it covers that remains frighteningly relevant today.

“An offbeat, darkly hilarious portrait.” —Variety

“A black comedy that's as dark as night, Man Bites Dog is a worthy successor to A Clockwork Orange as this generation's most telling and unflinching look at our views on violence. But Man Bites Dog filters that through the lens of the media in a biting damnation of our fascination with televised tragedy -- the more real the better” – Christopher Null,


Ma vie en rose
March 23 at 4pm
Directed Alain Berliner. 1997. Color. 88 min.
With Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Hélène Vincent and Georges Du Fresne

Ludovic is a 7-year-old boy who longs to be a girl. As parents, teachers, and friends react to his changing behavior, Ludovic remains resolute. His simple (yet inevitably complicating) wish stands at the center of this marvelous, profound film that won a Best Foreign Film Golden Globe and other international awards.

"Ludovic takes refuge in dreams and imagination. For him, it's like breathing. The older we get in life, the more barriers spring up, narrowing the range of possibilities. I see life as a kind of funnel. That is why I make movies, so that I can go on inventing everything." – Alain Berliner

“An entertaining and thought-provoking debut effort with near-universal emotional resonance…[Du Fresne] renders Ludo’s search for acceptance poignant and compelling.”—Variety


I’m Hungry, I’m Cold (J’ai faim, j’ai froid)
March 23 at 12:30, 4 & 7:30pm
Directed by Chantal Akerman. 1984. B&W. 12 min.
With Maria de Medeiros
Note: No English subtitles

Two young runaways head toward Paris from Brussels only to realize that the excitement of their journey can quickly sour into frustration. Originally part of the omnibus film Paris Seen By…20 Years After, which also included work by Philippe Garrel, this wry short now comfortably stands on its own.


Toto the Hero (Toto le Héros)
March 23 at 12:30 & 7:30pm
Directed by Jaco van Dormael. 1991. Color. 91 min.
With Michel Bouquet, Jo De Backer, Thomas Godet.

A success at Cannes, the Césars -- and in the USA -- Toto the Hero is a mystical tale, told through flashbacks and flash forwards, of a man who believes his life is not his own. Seemingly switched at birth, Thomas endured tragedy and poverty while neighbor Alfred grew up carefree.

“A three-ring look at life as a confluence of unrelated acts. Whether it goes off on time or not, depends entirely on the ringmaster. And van Dormael knows how to please the crowd.”—The Washington Post


March 30 at 12:30 & 4pm
Directed by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern. 2008. Color. 94 min.
With Yolande Moreau, Bouli Lanners, Mathieu Kassovitz, Benoît Poelvoorde and Albert Dupontel.

A group of factory workers show up for their shift one morning and discover their jobs have been outsourced. They pool together their severance pay and do the reasonable thing—they hire a hit man to kill their former boss. Yet Louise-Michel is darkly, brilliantly comic, halfway between the Coen and Dardenne brothers.

“Our aim is to create a hilarious jet-black comedy…We want a social western where the best of people can become villains, and where the villains are criminals on a never-seen before level. We want a film that affects the audience. If it is successful, all the better!” – Director’s Note

“Side-splittingly funny and constantly outrageous…a wickedly hilarious, marvelously calibrated exercise in deadpan style owing as much to Bunuel as to the Coen brothers” – Variety


When the Sea Rises (Quand la mer monte…)
March 30 at 7pm
Directed by Yolande Moreau and Gilles Porte. 2004. Color. 90 min.
With Yolande Moreau, Wim Willaert, Olivier Gourmet and Jackie Berroyer

Note: Leading Belgian actress, comedian, and film director Yolande Moreau comes to FIAF to introduce the 7pm presentation. Winner of two César Awards for this film, Moreau will participate in a Q&A session following the screening.

Traveling performer Irene is a quiet loner, comfortable only onstage. A parade float operator proves to be a kindred spirit and lover who soon accompanies her on tour, but her husband and child waiting at home overshadow her newfound happiness. Winner of two César Awards, including Best First Work, When the Sea Rises proves veteran actress Moreau to also be a gifted filmmaker.

“A delightfully off-kilter love story…if you want a bittersweet but cheerful pick-me-up on a cold winter evening, it's just the ticket.” – Andrew O’Heir,


About Yolande Moreau
The wonderfully talented, award-winning actress and director Yolande Moreau has been an active player on the Belgian stage and screen for thirty years. She has received three César Awards, winning both Best New Film and Best Actress in 2004 for Quand la mer monte..., and winning Best Actress again in 2009 for Séraphine. In 1989, Moreau joined the troupe of Jérôme Deschamps and Macha Makeieff, finding great success as star of the TV program Les Deschiens. Her extensive body of work includes roles in the films Louise-Michel, Amélie, and Paris, Je T’aime, as well as in Agnès Varda’s 1985 film Vagabond (Sans toit, ni loi). Moreau is currently working on a new project by Joann Sfar, Serge Gainsbourg, Vie Héroïque, due to be released in 2010.

About FIAF
FIAF, a not-for-profit organization created in 1898 by American Francophiles, is one of the largest and most respected centers of French-American activities in the United States, widely known as the home of New York’s foremost French language school, the leading all-French library in the country, and New York’s only performing arts center dedicated to French and Francophone culture. FIAF is dedicated to encouraging interaction and better understanding between French-speaking and American communities by creating programs in the arts and education that promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture.

CinémaTuesdays is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Special thanks to Annette Choynacki and L’Office de tourisme Belge: Bruxelles-Wallonie in NYC (, to Wallonie-Bruxelles International and Emmanuelle Lambert, to Yolande Moreau, to Funny Balloons and to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

$10; $7 students; Free for FIAF Members

Tickets: | 212 307 4100

Information: | 212 355 6160

Subway - 4, 5, 6, N, R and W to 59th Street & Lexington Avenue;
F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue; E to 53rd Street & 5th Avenue
Bus - M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street

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