Friday, January 20, 2012

2nd annual has smart art/mainstream movies & nice price

It's back -- and it's better than ever ("ever" being its first appearance last year). is the brainchild of UniFrance, Allocine & its partners, who are currently bringing much of the world some of the sharpest French films from the past couple of years, which you can watch via computer or TV monitor -- if you've got the hardware for such a set-up. In French, of course, but with subtitles in the language of the country in which it is being shown, each feature-length movie in the 12-film feature series (there are also 11 short films you can view) costs less than $3 when viewed individually. You can get the entire 23-film series for less than one buck a shot (only $21.11 for the whole shebang). This has got to the be one of the best deals of the year for film buffs, particularly those with a Francophile streak.

Whoops --did I say 23 films? For U.S. audiences, there are only 22, because one of the best of the bunch -- Valérie Donzelli's The Queen of Hearts (La reine des pommes) has not been licensed for U.S. rights.  I hope this means that some distributor has picked the film up for U.S. distribution because it is a prime example of what the French do best: rom-coms based in psychological and other real-world truths, done with style to spare. The film -- that's Donzelli and her co-star Jérémie Elkaïm, above -- was first shown here in last year's Rendez-vous with French Cinema but has not been seen in New York since then, and it ought to be because it is even better than Donzelli's about-to-break Declaration of War, which was France's selection for this years Best Foreign-Language Film award (but did not make even the shortlist). I'll have more to say about her new film next week.

Other worthwhile films from this year's group include 8 Times Up (8 Fois Debout, above), Love Like Poison (Un poison violent, below) and Living on Love Alone (D'amour et d'eau fraîche, at bottom of post). For a capsule review of each, click on the title links just above, then scroll down until you hit the film.

This year's festival began over a week ago, but I was not informed of it until just recently, so I apologize for the late post. There are a number of other good movies on the program which I'll hope to see -- and hope that you will, too. Meanwhile, click here to view the entire schedule and to order films.

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