Films to See Before the 22nd Annual Boston French Film Festival

Dear French Film Lover,

The 22nd Annual Boston French Film Festival kicks off with a free showing of Divore, French Style (dir. by Martin Bourboulon) on the Museum of Fine Arts’ lawn on July 13. The festival ends July 30 closing with The Odyssey (dir. by Jérôme Sall). This year’s festival has in love with french cinema again and I just finished binging majority of the New Wave films of Truffaut, Malle, & Godard.

While the French Festival has a few gems this year, I have included a few movie suggestions to get you excited for this year’s lineup. I cannot wait to see Isabelle Hupert shine (loved her in Every Man for Himself) in False Confessions. The war-driven tales of films such as Frantz and The Stop Over are eye-catching while The Together Project looks like a film taken straight from a page in my life. The MFA has brought back my favorite director Bruno Dumont again this year with Slack Bay and honestly, I just hope I can afford to catch all of these films before the festival ends.

The only sad thing about this festival is that the Henri Matisse exhibit closes 4 days before. Check out my film suggestions below? Oui ! Oui !


THE PARIS OPERA
dir. by Jean-Stéphane Bron

Every time I visit the Boston Ballet, I often wonder what it would be like to meet the dancers, the composer, the choreographers, and the musicians. I recently just went to see my first opera (Carmen) by Heartbeat Opera and I am looking forward to this all-access behind the scenes documentary of the Paris Opera.

While my first go-to suggestion to hold you over (if you’re excited as I am) is La Mome or La Rose en Vie, I could not find a streaming or renting option. It looks to only be for purchase on iTunes (worth it !!), but click the photo below to see the trailer of Marion Cotillard in all of her glory:

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THE MIDWIFE
dir. by Martin Provost / writer Martin Provost

The film experts at the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) say that this is one of Catherine Deneuve’s best performances. Since I haven’t seen The Midwife yet, here’s a few suggestions of films that I think Deneuve consistently surpasses her legacy in acting below:

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SLACK BAY
dir. Bruno Dumont / writer Bruno Dumont

Simon Abrams at (Roger & Ebert) ends his review of Slack Bay saying, “I must warn you: this is a misanthropic comedy that features cannibalism, weird religious overtones, and a lot of goony pratfalls. The film’s charms are substantial, but what makes “Slack Bay” so original and enticing is also what makes it fairly alienating.”

But this is the case for all of Dumont’s films. This is Dumont’s niche. Dumont is to the Newer Wave directors what Louise Malle is to the New Wave directors.

My introduction to Dumont was after a recommendation of Twenty Nine Palms featuring a male photographer who spoke english and bad french and his Russian girlfriend who spoke russian and bad french. This licentious tale goes out with a bang. Eh, maybe two to three bangs, but a bang nonetheless.

For the purpose of the French Film Festival, I recommend watching Lil Quin’Quin first, which was Dumont’s first attempt at the comedy genre. It has the same religious overtones and ticks of Slack Bay. It is a murder mystery. It is a love story. It is a gorgeous depiction of small, rural France. This movie requires at least two viewings to understand how Dumont directs and writes comedies. This was an instant favorite and is in my top ten.

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Another suggestion for a Dumont film to check out would be Camille Claude 1915. This was my first film I’ve seen with Juliette Binoche and she is an impressive actress. Highly recommend watching this heartbreaking biography about sculptor Camille Claudel (older sister to poet Paul Claudel). This movie will emotionally invest you into the characters and deeper narrative.


PERSONAL SHOPPER
dir. Olivier Assayas / writer Olivier Assayas

Kristen Stewart in Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart is basic. She is basic meaning what actresses should aspire to. The basic definition of captivating. In this film, she is basic with superpowers that connect her with the dead. She owns this role and brings it to life. This is her second film with Assayas after her work on Cloud of Sils Maria with Juliette Binoche (see Slack Bay movie entry above).

If you like ghost movies, you need to see this one.
If you like movies about mediums and the afterlife, you need to see this one.
If you like Best Directed films from the Cannes Film Festival, you need to see this one.

I don’t have a particular film suggestion for this one, but I do recommend wear your best-dress ensembles to see this movie. Yes, bring out those pearl necklaces and fancy heels. Or you may end up going shopping afterwards.


SWAGGER
dir. Olivier Babinet / writer Olivier Babinet

What would the French Film Festival be without any diversity? These festivals are inclusive of all backgrounds from actors to directors to screenwriters to narratives. Seeing the housing projects in Washington, DC where I grew up, I am interested in seeing the world through the scope of the eleven teens growing up in France’s underserved housing in Swagger. With Babinet’s previous directing of music videos, I am looking forward to this soundtrack.

Below are some feel good, do good movies that also push the comfort zone of class, race, and culture clashes:

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THE LATEST FROM THE COSMOS

dir. Julie Bertuccelli

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As a person and lover of words, I can’t wait to see Bertuccelli’s chronicling of Helene Nicolas, a 30-year-old autistic french woman that composes droll and humorous poetry. My last and final suggestion for films to check out to ready yourself for what seems to be the best French Film Festival yet is one of my top 5 favorite films of all-time:

The Intouchables (Youtube)

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Have you seen any of these films? What movies do you suggest? Shoot me a tweet at @Mr_Hip and let me know. Hope to see you at this year’s Boston French Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts. For more information, visit the MFA’s Film Festival Page.

Thanks for reading.

Grosses Bisous,
Monsieur Hip

22nd Annual French Film Lineup

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