France

Gilles Deroo & Marianne Pistone – Mouton AKA Sheep (2013)

From Variety

Films that truly surprise are the rarest of the rare, and while “Sheep” also perplexes, its originality and intriguing docu-style approach make it impossible to dismiss as just another arty experiment. Debuting helmers Marianne Pistone and Gilles Deroo have crafted a prose poem on the randomness of life itself, at first focusing on a young man working as a prep chef and then, quite suddenly, introducing a freak event that changes the course of the picture and steers it down unexpected paths. “Sheep” should get a boost from Locarno’s tyro film award, heralding fest interest and deserved cult status. Sheep, or rather Mouton, is the nickname of the main character, real name Aurelien (David Merabet). Read More »

Claude Berri – Une femme de ménage AKA A Housekeeper (2002)

Synopsis:
One of France’s most respected filmmakers, Claude Berri here brings viewers the story of Jacques (Jean-Pierre Bacri) a middle-aged sound engineer whose wife has just left him. Living on his own for the first time in years, Jacques decides it’s high time to clean up his life, literally and figuratively. In short order he hires Laura (Emilie Dequenne, a bright, vivacious young housekeeper, to bring order to his apartment. Laura’s presence makes Jacques realize what has been missing from his life, and as their relationship evolves over the subsequent months, both Jacques and Laura gain uncomfortable knowledge of one another, and of themselves. Read More »

Emmanuel Mouret – Vénus et Fleur (2004)

Quote:
A frumpy young woman vacations in Marseilles in the large, empty villa of her uncle. She eats at a cafe next to a much hipper woman who she is startled to see sobbing openly. That same young woman appears at her door several hours later – oddly they have switched their exact same, pink beaded bags back at the restaurant. A connection is made, and an adventure begins for ‘Vénus et Fleur.’ Read More »

Nicolas Klotz – La question humaine AKA Heartbeat Detector (2007)

Quote:
Paris today. Simon works as psychologist in human resources department of petrochemical corporation. When Management gets him to investigate one of the factory’s executives, Simon’perception goes disturbingly chaotic and cloudy. The experience affects his body, his mind, his personal life and his sensibility. The calm assurance that made him such a rigorous technician starts to falter. Read More »

Jean-Marc Moutout – Violence des échanges en milieu tempéré AKA Work Hard, Play Hard (2003)

Quote:
Philippe Seigner, a charming business school graduate from the French Pyrenees, starts his career in business consulting at the posh Paris seat of McGregor. His first serious task is a delicate one, an audit at the Janson food cans factory in the provinces, which is about to be taken over. As he soon realizes, this will mean sacking about 80 employees, as his boss Hugo Paradis knew from the start. However, his Paris girl friend reproaches him collaborating with ruthless capitalism, as if any of the downsizing could be stopped or mitigated by him bowing out. Nevertheless, as he gets to knew the threatened staff better he considers risking his career when his boss orders him to chose who should go. Meanwhile the factory staff starts realizing what’s about to happening. Read More »

Robert Siodmak – Le Grand Jeu AKA Flesh and the Woman (1954)

Quote:
Not really epic material, this is a fated romantic drama (a typically French quality) set against the exotic background of the Foreign Legion and, actually, a remake of Jacques Feyder’s 1934 film LE GRAND JEU.

The plot involves a successful young lawyer (Jean-Claude Pascal) who, due to a shady deal, finds himself penniless and separated from his wife (Gina Lollobrigida). Stranded in Algeria, he’s persuaded to join the Foreign Legion where he befriends a couple of similar losers (played by Raymond Pellegrin and Peter van Eyck). Read More »

Jean-Pierre Gorin – Routine Pleasures (1986)

Quote:
Routine Pleasures makes of its investigation of “men and imagination” in 1980s America “a small-scale epic,” in Gorin’s words, a remake of Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939). Gorin’s principal subject is a group of model train enthusiasts who meet weekly at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Southern California: their miniature landscapes preserve a lost, perhaps illusory America, and their obsession curiously entwines work and childhood. Gorin weaves this subject with another: his friend and mentor Manny Farber. Farber doesn’t appear, except in photographs; but his paintings and words (and such preoccupations as Jimmy Cagney) do; and Gorin, again assuming the persona of bemused investigator, shuttles between these strands with effortless ingenuity. Read More »