Tag Archives: France

Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas, 2018)

Arriving just before his new political thriller, Wasp Network, and just after his Kristen Stewart-led horror riff, Personal Shopper, Non-Fiction finds writer-director Olivier Assayas back in the witty ensemble story mode of earlier career highlights Summer Hours (2008) and Late August, Early September (1998), but merged with the industry satire of Irma Vep (1996). There, it was the film industry skewered with affection; here, it’s the world of novels. Non-Fiction’s original French title, Double Vies, translates to ‘double lives’, and the inherent narcissism found in concealing one’s infidelities while also profiting from them is of particular interest to the director…

Full review for VODzilla.co

French Film Festival 2019: Five highlights

From some of the cream of the Cannes crop to restored classics and mainstream hits, the French Film Festival is a much-appreciated annual event for the UK’s Franco-cinephiles. The 27th edition is packed with new works from heavy hitter directors like Bruno Dumont, Céline Sciamma, Quentin Dupieux, Arnaud Desplechin and Christophe Honoré, which feature such onscreen favourites as Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Léa Seydoux, Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel and Fabrice Luchini.

The entire programme’s worth checking out, but here are five we’re particularly keen to see…

Full feature for The Skinny

The Prince’s Voyage (Jean-François Laguionie/Xavier Picard, 2019)

In 1999, Jean-François Laguionie, a French animator with directing credits dating back to 1965, made his third feature, Le Château Des Singes (The Castle Of Monkeys). It followed a rebellious teenage simian discovering an ostensibly more civilised society of simians, only to get caught up in a plot to murder a king. In the UK in 2000, the film was released as A Monkey’s Tale. The screenplay was considerably reworked in the translation to English, Rik Mayall played a comic relief villain, and the marketing campaign heavily promoted a soundtrack song by Westlife. It’s basically the epitome of a dawn of the millennium bastardisation of a foreign animation.

What does any of this have to do with Laguionie’s charming new film, The Prince’s Voyage, co-directed with Xavier Picard? Well, although it is not an explicit continuation, the new film sees Laguionie explore new ideas and stories within what seems to be the same universe. The lead of this film shares the design and royal lineage of a supporting character from A Monkey’s Tale, and that previous film’s lead character is alluded to in a flashback. But The Prince’s Voyage requires absolutely no knowledge of A Monkey’s Tale to follow its story – a relief to many…

Full review for SciFiNow

Coincoin and the Extra-Humans (Bruno Dumont, 2018)

After helming some of the most austere, polarising films in French arthouse cinema, writer-director Bruno Dumont made a surprise swerve into the world of TV in 2014 with P’tit Quinquin, a miniseries that premiered at Cannes in a (still long) film version later released in UK cinemas.

A blackly comic murder mystery, the show starts off as a macabre riff on police procedurals like Midsomer Murders, crossed with kids-up-to-mischief comedies like The Little Rascals, as Van Der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost), a bumbling detective and his deputy, Carpentier (Philippe Jore), try to solve a series of grisly deaths while a group of youths, led by the eponymous Quinquin (Alane Delhaye), watch. What is gradually revealed about the rural southern France setting is the deep prejudices of its residents, particularly towards Arab or African Muslim immigrants, some of whom end up being murder victims. Even the initially ‘good’ leads, the arguable points of identification for the audience, turn out to be belligerent bigots.

Given all of the above, you may be wondering why the sequel miniseries, Coincoin and the Extra-Humans, set years later, is being covered by a genre magazine. One word: aliens…

Full review for SciFiNow

MFKZ (Shôjirô Nishimi/Guillaume Renard, 2017)

Scattered throughout animation MFKZ (aka Mutafukaz) – a collaboration between French company Ankama Animation and Japanese studio Studio 4°C (Tekkonkinkreet, Mind Game) – are a number of narrative-interrupting title cards that reflect something about the film’s various eccentricities. Some are posed as questions before expository information, such as in the case of ‘Who Are These Mysterious Wrestlers?’ One, in particular, stands out: ‘The Movies Have Never Seen Sh*t Like This!’ Although you can trace the DNA of a few notable influences, They Live and Akira among them, one might find that an accurate summation of MFKZ as a whole…

Full review for SciFiNow

The Apparition (Xavier Giannoli, 2018)

Following his 2015 film Marguerite, a comedy drama loosely inspired by a true story, writer-director Xavier Giannoli returns with a drama that’s all about determining the truth in a story…

Full review for VODzilla.co

L’amant double (François Ozon, 2017)

Loosely adapted from a Joyce Carol Oates novel, L’Amant Double sees director François Ozon return to his enfant terrible mode after a couple of relatively more prestigious films, such as Frantz. This involves a reunion with his Jeune et Jolie (Young & Beautiful) star Marine Vacth and making one of his new film’s very first shots take place within her character’s genitalia. Why, yes, this is a very restrained motion picture…

Full review for VODzilla.co