Abdellatif Kechiche – La vie d’Adèle aka Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

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The sensation of the Cannes Film Festival and the most controversial film of the year, Blue is the Warmest Color made cinema history as the first film ever awarded the Palme d’Or to both its director and its actresses. In a star-making role, Adèle Exarchopoulos is Adèle, a passionate young woman who has a yearning she doesn’t quite understand until a chance encounter with the blue-haired Emma ignites a flame and brings her to life. Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris) gives a fearless performance as Emma, the older woman who excites Adèle’s desire and becomes the love of her life. Abdellatif Kechiche’s (The Secret of the Grain) intimate epic of tenderness and passion charts their relationship over the course of several years, from the ecstasy of a first kiss to the agony of heartbreak. Pulsing with gestures, embraces, furtive exchanges, and arias of joy and devastation, Blue is the Warmest Color is a profoundly moving hymn to both love and life. ~ ifcfilms
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Abdellatif Kechiche – La Faute à Voltaire aka Blame It on Voltaire (2000)

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Winner of the Golden Lion for first feature, Poetical Refugee is the story of Jallel, a North African immigrant in Paris. Claiming to be a refugee from war-torn Algeria in order to get residency, his life in the country of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ is one of homeless shelters, illegal jobs, assumed identities and emotionally complex sexual relationships. Director Abdel Kechiche, who was born in Tunisia and has worked for many years as an actor in France, refuses to portray Jallel as either hapless victim or angry rebel. Instead, he focuses on Jallel’s interpersonal relationships with his new community-not ghettoized North Africans, but an eclectic group of unemployed French and second-generation immigrants struggling to survive. Here, it is the wounded who heal the wounded, and Jallel, in spite of his own traumas, becomes a healing force for the emotionally troubled women whose lives intermingle with his. With superb performances by Sami Bouajila (Bye Bye), Aure Atika and Elodie Bouchez (The Dream Life of Angels), Poetical Refugee offers a moving and tender portrayal of life on the margins. Continue reading

Abdellatif Kechiche – La graine et le mulet AKA The Secret of the Grain (2007)

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Fish couscous has never looked so good—nor the émigré experience so real—as in Tunisian-French director Abdellatif Kechiche’s intimate saga of an extended family living in the French seaport of Sète. Grey-haired Tunisian immigrant Slimane is let go after 35 years, some of it under the table, as a dockworker. With his severance pay he dreams of turning an old freighter into a restaurant with his ex-wife’s renowned mullet couscous as the specialty. This doesn’t sit well with his current girlfriend, who hoped he would put the money into renovating her rundown hotel. Meanwhile, the white financial officers and city bureaucrats, one of whom doesn’t know he has an illicit tie to Slimane’s family, place one hurdle after another before the taciturn old man. But the hotelkeeper’s determined daughter Rym steps up to make the project succeed for her cherished stepfather and organizes a go-for-broke dinner party to seduce potential investors and the city’s big shots. Winner of four Césars (France’s Oscars) including best picture, and winner of the 2007 FIPRESCI and Special Jury prizes at the Venice Film Festival, this is a minutely detailed, sharply observed portrait of the immigrant generation contending with its French-born offspring and the dominant culture in a time when they are no longer the freshest émigrés off the boat. Hafsia Herzi (César winner for best female newcomer) is a standout as Slimane’s girlfriend’s beautiful daughter Rym, not just for her spirited harangues and mouth-watering noshing style but for her resourcefulness when disaster strikes and desperate measures are called for. Continue reading

Abdellatif Kechiche – L’esquive AKA Games of Love and Chance (2003)

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the film presents a group of kids – mostly of arab descent – in the “cit?s” (us= projects) who stage the marivaux play of the same name.

at the Istanbul International Film Festival/, it also took the international critics’ prize and a special jury prize for the ensemble acting. Kechiche was awarded a special jury prize at the European Film Awards for his first feature, La faute ? Voltaire (also highly recomended, if you can find it.)

someone at imdb writes: This movie is getting fresh exposure in France thanks to its win at Les C?sars, or the “French Oscars” as other countries like to call them. Its success will probably mean that it now gets exposure outside the country, too, and I wonder how successfully. Continue reading

Abdellatif Kechiche – Vénus noire (2010)

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SynopsisIn his unforgettable telling of the short, deplorable existence of the “Hottentot Venus”—née Saartjie Baartman, a slave from Cape Town who was exhibited as a freak-show attraction in early 19th-century Europe—Abdellatif Kechiche (The Secret of the Grain) delivers a riveting examination of racism.Gawked at and groped in grimy carnivals in London and, later, high-society Parisian salons, Baartman soon becomes the object of prurient fascination of French scientists, obsessed with calibrating every part of her anatomy—particularly her enlarged buttocks and genitals. Though Baartman’s life was unspeakably grim, Yahima Torres’s remarkably complex portrayal of the title character reveals not just a mute symbol of victimhood but also a woman capable of fierce defiance. North American Premiere. Continue reading