• Events
Jul 24
Day for Night Midtown Arts Cinema 931 Monroe Drive Northeast, Suite C-212, Atlanta, GA 30308
Jul 24
Book Launch: Agathe’s Summer Albertine 972 Fifth Avenue New York, United States
Nicolas Maigret at Gray Area Festival Gray Area 2665 Mission Street San Francisco

40th Mill Valley Film Festival

The Mill Valley Film Festival has an impressive track record of launching new films and new filmmakers, and has earned a reputation as a filmmakers’ festival by celebrating the best in American independent and foreign films, along side high-profile and prestigious award contenders.Each year the festival welcomes more than 200 filmmakers, representing more than 50 countries. This year's lineup includes many French and Francophone movies:

5@5 Golden Years:
“Look at that sky, life's begun. Nights are warm and the days are young.” Come celebrate the history of MVFF in this marvelous retrospective of rarely screened short films from festivals past. You know Barry Jenkins from his Moonlight (MVFF 2016) triumph, but he first came to MVFF with My Josephine (US 2003, 9 min), a paean to cultural integration and love in a laundromat. Filmmaking legend Agnès Varda has had a long history with MVFF (including this year’s Faces, Places) and her documentary Oncle Yanco (US/France 1967, 18 min) is a tribute to her Sausalito-based artist relative and also a love poem to Marin. And we’re proud to showcase a brand-new 16mm restoration of the avant-garde classic The Bed (US 1968, 20 min), shot on Mt. Tamalpais by James Broughton, one of the honorees at the first MVFF in 1978. Don’t miss it!

BPM (Beats per Minute) | 120 battements par minute
Robin Campillo's unforgettable film, winner of the Grand Prize at Cannes, depicts the dynamics of the Paris chapter of ACT UP, the direct-action advocacy group committed to ending the AIDS crisis, alongside the heartrending personal moments generated by an epidemic laying waste to men and women in the prime of life. Set in 1989, the opening throws the viewer right into one of ACT UP's fraught meetings as members review a recent action that goes awry. But BPM is not just a drama of activism. There is also a passionate love story, as the HIV-negative Nathan falls head over heels for Sean whose health is beginning to fail. Campillo's vibrant fresco contrasts righteous protests against Big Pharma, celebratory Pride parades, and redemptive nights at the disco with quieter moments of intimacy and struggle. BPM is a breathtaking, deeply moving, immersive piece of cinema, vibrant with the immediacy and passion of something happening in the moment.

Call Me by Your Name
First love has rarely been captured with such elegance and passion as in Luca Guadagnino's new film, beautifully adapted from André Aciman's novel. Precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman (the magisterial Timothée Chalamet) is summering with his intellectual parents at their 17th-century palazzo in stunning Lombardy. The Perlmans are the kind of loving family who speak three languages and encourage dinner conversation about ancient statuary or medieval novels. Into this heady mix comes doctoral student Oliver (Armie Hammer), here to assist Elio's professor father and scramble the poor kid's emotional barometer. But this boy on the cusp of adulthood is no patsy—even Oliver admiringly asks, "Is there anything you don't know?"—and Chalamet beautifully portrays Elio's unbridled appetite for life and love. Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash), with the discernment of a true sensualist, provides a visual sumptuousness to match the story's sensibility, joyously celebrating the erotics of desire at every moment.

Faces, faces | Visages, villages
Film auteur Agnès Varda and street photographer JR are creators of images from different generations. Varda, the revered female filmmaker of the French New Wave, has long been associated with the art film and inner circles of film lore, including Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, and Chris Marker. JR views the street as his canvas and adorns walls and buildings with murals of his works. Their mutual commitment to human stories creates a path for collaboration and an opportunity to visit the French countryside. These singular artists traveling together makes for an extraordinary journey. This is a brilliant film from one of the most iconic and visionary talents in cinema, whose openness in her conversations with another original—JR—brings us an extraordinarily layered portrait: of two artists, of two generations, of the people they encounter, of France—and the French. Winner of L’Oeil d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 for best documentary across all official selections.

I Still Hide to Smoke | Je me cache encore pour fumer
FOCUS: HIDING & SEEKING In this tight, tense, and riveting drama, an Algerian women's hammam (bathhouse) proves to be both warm sanctuary and steamy political crucible for a group of culturally and religiously diverse women over the course of one momentous day. The central drama pivots on the fate of an unmarried pregnant teenager hiding out in the bathhouse—her destiny a microcosm of the violence and sexism imperiling the region. Award-winning actress Hiam Abbass (In Syria; The Lemon Tree, MVFF 2008; The Visitor; Munich) stars as Fatima, the hammam’s head masseuse who presides over candidly unveiled conversations with her patrons covering everything from religion to orgasms, terrorism to marriage. In adapting her own 2009 play, first-time feature filmmaker Rayhana Obermeyer offers an urgently contemporary and complex view of women living under patriarchal and theocratic law.

In Syria | Insyriated
FOCUS: HIDING & SEEKING Amid sounds of gunfire and shelling, an extended family wakes up to another morning in war-torn Damascus, the only remaining residents in a middle-class apartment building commandeered by combatants and thugs. In peacetime, she might be called a control freak, but in wartime, it is mother and daughter-in-law Oum Yazan who holds everyone together by barking out orders and stern reassurances that they will survive the siege despite the bombardments. Then intruders bang on the door and war’s horror comes inside. Belgian cinematographer Philippe van Leeuw follows up his harrowing 2009 The Day God Walked Away, about a woman in the Rwandan genocide, with another wrenching story of civilians caught in the middle of conflict. The winner of the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, In Syria boasts a remarkable ensemble cast and a stunning performance by its lead, Palestinian actress/director Hiam Abbass.

Let the Sunshine In | Un beau soleil intérieur
Groundbreaking French filmmaker Claire Denis charts beguiling new emotional terrain with Let the Sunshine In, an exceedingly lovely study of a middle-aged divorcée navigating the pitfalls of romance and career. Juliette Binoche plays Isabelle, a painter who remains open to love, despite the many times her heart’s been broken, and the film follows her through a series of possible courtships that test her faith in a happily ever after. Never cutesy and often witty, this wise and melancholy comedy may feel like a departure for Denis, who’s won international acclaim for searing portraits like White Material and Basterds. But what connects Let the Sunshine In to her earlier work is the writer-director’s commitment to realistic, nuanced portraits of complicated characters trying to make the best of their situation. Binoche is pure wistful radiance, and her supporting cast is equally exquisite, including Gérard Depardieu in a sublime cameo. Prepare to have your heart stolen by this deceptively low-key, swoon-worthy beauty.

Meet Salim Shaheen, iconic Afghan actor, prodigiously prolific filmmaker, producer, and all-around raconteur. As he prepares for his 111th feature, this larger-than-life multi-hyphenate hustles his crew from location to location, telling vivid stories from film shoots past, and taking time out to greet his fans or sit down to a vast meal. But there's much more than meets the eye here, and Shaheen is more than an Ed Wood-style comic figure—his work may be no-budget, melodramatic fare, but it is warmly consumed by his adoring public. Most interestingly, his close-knit set of collaborators act like a family. One, an effeminate thespian named Qurban Ali, who often plays cross-dressing roles, offers a fascinating glimpse into how outsiders may find a place for themselves amid Afghanistan’s societal strictures. Director Sonia Kronlund carefully balances her respect and admiration for Shaheen's accomplishments with more critical asides, presenting a warts-and-all portrait that is funny, touching, and extremely entertaining.

Strange birds | Drôles d'oiseaux
Intoxication is in the air—literally—in this romantic and charmingly offbeat second feature from writer-director Élise Girard. Lonely aspiring writer Mavie (Lolita Chammah, daughter of cinema icon Isabelle Huppert) arrives in Paris with her cat Jacques, a notebook, and a suitcase full of uncertainty. After landing a job at an antique bookstore run by curmudgeonly septuagenarian Georges (Jean Sorel), the shy twentysomething discovers the two have more in common than their age gap suggests, igniting a simmering connection that breaks down their emotional walls. In her follow-up to the 2010 minimalist drama Belleville-Tokyo, Girard imbues Paris with a mysterious and fanciful edge, a place that’s easy to find but difficult to escape, particularly for the seagulls that begin mysteriously dropping from the sky. Chammah brings a radiant warmth to contrast legendary French actor Sorel’s brusque but endearing misanthrope in this playfully surreal and unconventional love story.