France’s selection for Best Foreign film didn’t win an Oscar, but swept the Cesar Awards (France’s Oscars) this year including Best Picture. BPM (Beats Per Minute) chronicles the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990’s right before the drugs were released which would save millions of lives worldwide. With a 99% critics rating from Rotten Tomatoes,
In Paris in the early 1990s, a group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP, and its members, many of them gay and HIV-positive, embrace their mission with a literal life-or-death urgency. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, the newcomer Nathan falls in love with Sean, the group’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.
Watch BPM on DVD from the library’s collection.
Crazy high rating for the French Film, Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit) starring Marion Cottillard and directed by the Dardenne brothers (The Boy on the Bike). From Sundance Selects,
Sandra (Cotillard) has just been released from the hospital to find that she no longer has a job. According to management, the only way Sandra can hope to regain her position at the factory is to convince her co-workers to sacrifice their much-needed yearly bonuses. Now, over the course of one weekend, Sandra must confront each co-worker individually in order to win a majority of their votes before time runs out. With TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT, the Dardennes have turned a relevant social inquiry into a powerful statement on community solidarity, once again delivering a film that is simple on the surface but alive with both compassion and wisdom.
Find Two Days, One Night in our library catalog.
Heralded by critics, Clouds of Sils Maria starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart explores the sensitive topic of aging for women in entertainment. From Sundance Pictures,
Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is an actress at the peak of her international career who is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years earlier. Back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young woman who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) to rehearse in Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal (Chloë Grace Moretz) is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.
Find Clouds of Sils Maria in our library catalog.
(In English, French, German, and Swiss German with English subtitles)
French filmmaker Bruno Dumont’s latest film, Li’l Quinquin was originally released as a 4-part mini-series. From Kino distributor,
French auteur Bruno Dumont, best known for uncompromising and austere dramas, proves with the comedy Li’l Quinquin that he is capable of shifting gears without conceding his signature style. This absurdist, metaphysical murder mystery opens with the discovery of human body parts stuffed inside a cow – a literal bete humaine – on the outskirts of the English Channel in northern France. The bumbling and mumbling Captain Van der Weyden (played by Bernard Pruvost) is assigned to investigate the crime, but he has to contend with a young prankster, the mischievous Quinquin (Alane Delhaye), as he proceeds to investigate the case. Dubbed an “epic farce” by the New York Film Festival, Li’l Quinquin has been compared to Twin Peaks and True Detective. But simply speaking, Li’l Quinquin is “a wonderfully weird and unexpectedly hilarious” (Scott Foundas, Variety) masterwork from one of the most important contemporary French directors.
Find Li’l Quinquin on DVD in the library catalog.
Louise Malle’s 1974 film Lacombe, Lucien on the French Resistance during World War II gets the Criterion treatment. From Criterion,
One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle’s brave and controversial Lacombe, Lucien traces a young peasant’s journey from potential Resistance member to Gestapo recruit. At once the story of a nation and one troubled boy, the film is a disquieting portrait of lost innocence and guilt.
Find Lacombe, Lucien on DVD in the library catalog.
In French with English subtitles.
The 20th Anniversary DVD of Queen Margot arrived in the library this week. From Rotten Tomatoes,
The historical novel by Alexandre Dumas was adapted for the screen with this lavish French epic, winner of 5 Césars and a pair of awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Isabelle Adjani stars as Marguerite de Valois, better known as Margot, daughter of scheming Catholic power player Catherine de Medici (Virna Lisi). Margot is an heiress to the throne during the late 16th century reign of the neurotic, hypochondriac King Charles IX (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a time when Protestants and Catholics are vying for political control of France. Catherine decides to make an overture of good will by offering up Margot in marriage to prominent Protestant Huguenot Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), although she also schemes to bring about the notorious St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, when tens of thousands of Protestants are slaughtered. The marriage goes forward but Margot doesn’t love Henri and takes a lover, the soldier La Mole (Vincent Perez), also a Protestant from a well-to-do family. Murders by poisoning follow, as court intrigues multiply and Catherine’s villainous plotting to place her son Anjou (Pascal Greggory) on the throne threatens the lives of La Mole, Margot and Henri.
Find Queen Margot in our library’s catalog.
In French with English sub-titles.