The 40th Portland International Film Festival, presented by the Northwest Film Center, is an annual showcase of world cinema. Many French films are part of the festival this year:

DEATH IN SARAJEVO
Danis Tanovic | Bosnia & Herzegovina / France

Tanovic’s deft and dizzying thriller satirically illuminates the conflicts that have torn the Balkans apart for a century. On the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, the event that precipitated World War I, dignitaries have arrived at the luxe Hotel Europa to commemorate. But the hotel is in chaos. The staff is about to strike,
and the manager is courting gangsters at the hotel nightclub for strong-arm help. Everywhere else, tensions of all sorts seem to be reaching climax. This year’s Bosnian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In Bosnian and French with English subtitles. (85 mins.)

THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV
Albert Serra | France / portugal / Spain

Versailles, August 1715. The Sun King (Jean-Pierre Léaud) feels pain in his leg. Fever erupts, marking the beginning of the agony of the greatest King of France. Surrounded by a horde of doctors and his closest counselors who come in turn sensing the impending power vacuum, Louis struggles to run the country from his bedchamber. Based on extensive medical records and memoirs, Serra’s contemplative, candlelit chamber drama is a wry portrait of aristocratic façade. In Latin and French. “Reminiscent of the
historical films of Visconti and Rossellini as the modernist literary adaptations of
Rohmer and Oliveira.”—Film Comment. (115 mins.)

FRANTZ
François Ozon | France

A year after his death in 1918, Anna is mourning her fiancé Frantz, a German soldier killed in the war. One day she sees a man laying flowers on Frantz’s grave and is surprised to learn he is French and was Frantz’s friend at music school in Paris before the war. Anna and the mysterious Frenchman find comfort in each other, and their relationship soon
evolves into something stronger, yet undefined. When he returns to France and a letter she sends is returned, she decides to find him and come to terms with her own grief. (113 mins.)

GRADUATION
Cristian Mingiu | romania / France / Belgium

Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for this keenly observed depiction of the insidious ramifications of corruption. A street assault has left Eliza somewhat shaken on the eve of finals that will pave her way to Cambridge University. Her father, anxious for her to escape their corruption-plagued country, becomes concerned that she might not perform well and, knowing a few of the right
people, arranges that she will do well on the tests. Mungiu’s social thriller of moral
dilemmas big and small resonates on societal and parental levels. (128 mins.)

PERSONAL SHOPPER
Olivier Assayas | France

“Kristen Stewart is the medium, in more ways than one, for this sophisticated genre exploration from director Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria). As a fashion assistant whose twin brother has died, leaving her bereft and longing for messages from the other side, Stewart is fragile and enigmatic—and nearly always on screen. From an opening sequence
in a haunted house with an intricately constructed soundtrack to a cat-and-mouse game on a trip from Paris to London and back set entirely to text messaging, Personal Shopper brings the psychological and supernatural thriller into the digital age.”—New York Film
Festival. (105 mins.)

SIERANEVADA
Cristi Puiu | Romania / France / Bosnia & Herzegovina
n a labyrinthine Bucharest apartment, a cantankerous extended family has gathered 40 days after its patriarch’s death for a memorial service. Dark truths of the family’s past slowly emerge as everyone wrestles with the patriarch’s complicated legacy. As claustrophobia mounts, heated, humorous exchanges—about the old Communist days and the present age of terror—coalesce into a fascinatingly observed portrait of Romanian family life and personal and social disquiet. This year’s Polish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (173 mins.)

STAYING VERTICAL
Alain Guiraudie | France

Léo, a filmmaker in search of a project, is scouting in the south of France when he
is seduced by Marie, a free-spirited and dynamic shepherdess. Months later, after Marie gives birth to their child, she abandons both Leo and their child without warning. Through a series of unexpected and unusual encounters, Léo finds inspiration for his next film amid his new life as a single parent and explorer of his own sexuality. With vivid, pastoral imagery, the story plays out like a fairy tale but with a dark, explicit twist that
filmmaker Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake) is known for. Adult audiences. (100 mins.)

THE SON OF JOSEPH
Eugène Green | France Belgium

Wry visual humor, playful religious subtext, and a note of farce inform a coming of age story that takes aim at French cultural pretensions. Vincent, a discontented high school student in Paris, lives with his mother, who won’t tell him who his father is. Despite her efforts, he sets out to find him on his own. The search leads him to Oscar, a narcissistic,
womanizing publisher who shows no interest in Vincent and stirs rage. But an encounter with his father’s brother, Joseph, provides the missing father figure, and together the two begin to explore Paris with new eyes. (113 mins.)

THE STOPOVER
Delphine Coulin, Muriel Coulin | France / Greece

Aurore and Marine are given three days of “decompression leave” with their unit, among tourists, at a five-star resort in Cyprus. But it’s not that easy to forget the war and leave violence behind. Childhood friends who left Brittany to see the world and saw much more than they bargained for, the two respond differently to the program, and tensions surface. Inspired by real experiences, this sometimes surreal film about trauma, gender, sexism, and friendship is “cuttingly observed, fraught, and bleakly funny.”—Variety. In
French and Greek with English subtitles. (102 mins.)

WULU
Saouda Coulibaly | France / Sénégal

Set in Mali’s capital city of Bamako, Coulibaly’s debut feature offers perspective on the country’s enduring political turmoil. When low-level transit employee Ladji misses out on a potentially lucrative promotion, it’s time to move on. He uses his connections to earn money as a drug runner, at which he thrives. It’s not long before he is rising in the ranks, but as he does his control of events spin out of control and he’s soon embroiled in
conflicts that stretch from Mali’s government all the way to Al Qaeda. In Bambara and French with English subtitles. (95 mins.)

IT'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD
Xavier Dolan | Canada / France

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and this year’s Canadian Oscar submission, Dolan’s visually and emotionally powerful melodrama follows terminally ill writer Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), who returns home to break the news of his debilitating condition to his estranged family. Once there, old wounds and deep-seated frustrations surface as Louis struggles to rekindle relationships and articulate the real reason for his
unexpected visit. An all-star cast, including Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, and Vincent
Cassel, bring to life a family burdened with buried memories and heavy sadness, but ultimately profound love for each other. (99 mins.)

LOST IN PARIS
Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon | France / Belgium

Fiona, a hapless Canadian librarian, visits Paris for the first time after receiving a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha. When she arrives, Aunt Martha has disappeared within the depths of the city. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, Fiona meets Dom, a seductive homeless man who won’t leave her alone. Their awkward, gentle
romance provides an excuse for director and actor pair Dominque Abel and Fiona
Gordon (The Fairy) to show off their quirky devotion to the art of slapstick comedy in a charming ode to Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, and Buster Keaton.
Très French. (84 mins.)

NOCTURAMA
Bertrand Bonello | France
Bonnello’s (Saint Laurent) latest provocation is a film in two distinct and gripping parts: first, a procedural in which we follow a group of Parisian young people, crucially of varying backgrounds, as they carry out a sure-to-be-controversial, city-wide, premeditated terrorist plot; second, a waiting game, oscillating between tense, languid, and bizarre, and which clearly reveals the absolute brutality of the mass media and the militarized state apparatus. A 21st-century thriller of
the moment, Nocturama asks impossible questions and alludes to geopolitical
issues with a profoundly troubling yet thrilling wink. “A bravura feat of filmmaking.”
—The A.V. Club. (130 mins.)

AFTER LOVE
Joachim Lafosse | Belgium

Marie and Boris, married for 15 years, are going through the emotional turmoil of divorce in front of their twin daughters. At the center of the dispute is the house that Marie purchased but Boris has renovated, and both want. Without a steady job, Boris can’t afford to move so the two must share the house stalemated by domestic standoffs and complex turns, which only continues to drag out the divorce proceedings. Lafosse’s intimate, emotional movie looks at what it means to be a couple, while also exploring the
dichotomy of two stubborn people who must figure out a way to peacefully coexist
for their children when love is gone. (100 mins.)
 

Various Locations (Portland) Portland, OR

40th Portland International Film Festival

When
February 9, 2017 - February 25, 2017
Where
Various Locations (Portland)
Portland, OR

The 40th Portland International Film Festival, presented by the Northwest Film Center, is an annual showcase of world cinema. Many French films are part of the festival this year:

DEATH IN SARAJEVO
Danis Tanovic | Bosnia & Herzegovina / France

Tanovic’s deft and dizzying thriller satirically illuminates the conflicts that have torn the Balkans apart for a century. On the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, the event that precipitated World War I, dignitaries have arrived at the luxe Hotel Europa to commemorate. But the hotel is in chaos. The staff is about to strike,
and the manager is courting gangsters at the hotel nightclub for strong-arm help. Everywhere else, tensions of all sorts seem to be reaching climax. This year’s Bosnian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In Bosnian and French with English subtitles. (85 mins.)

THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV
Albert Serra | France / portugal / Spain

Versailles, August 1715. The Sun King (Jean-Pierre Léaud) feels pain in his leg. Fever erupts, marking the beginning of the agony of the greatest King of France. Surrounded by a horde of doctors and his closest counselors who come in turn sensing the impending power vacuum, Louis struggles to run the country from his bedchamber. Based on extensive medical records and memoirs, Serra’s contemplative, candlelit chamber drama is a wry portrait of aristocratic façade. In Latin and French. “Reminiscent of the
historical films of Visconti and Rossellini as the modernist literary adaptations of
Rohmer and Oliveira.”—Film Comment. (115 mins.)

FRANTZ
François Ozon | France

A year after his death in 1918, Anna is mourning her fiancé Frantz, a German soldier killed in the war. One day she sees a man laying flowers on Frantz’s grave and is surprised to learn he is French and was Frantz’s friend at music school in Paris before the war. Anna and the mysterious Frenchman find comfort in each other, and their relationship soon
evolves into something stronger, yet undefined. When he returns to France and a letter she sends is returned, she decides to find him and come to terms with her own grief. (113 mins.)

GRADUATION
Cristian Mingiu | romania / France / Belgium

Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for this keenly observed depiction of the insidious ramifications of corruption. A street assault has left Eliza somewhat shaken on the eve of finals that will pave her way to Cambridge University. Her father, anxious for her to escape their corruption-plagued country, becomes concerned that she might not perform well and, knowing a few of the right
people, arranges that she will do well on the tests. Mungiu’s social thriller of moral
dilemmas big and small resonates on societal and parental levels. (128 mins.)

PERSONAL SHOPPER
Olivier Assayas | France

“Kristen Stewart is the medium, in more ways than one, for this sophisticated genre exploration from director Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria). As a fashion assistant whose twin brother has died, leaving her bereft and longing for messages from the other side, Stewart is fragile and enigmatic—and nearly always on screen. From an opening sequence
in a haunted house with an intricately constructed soundtrack to a cat-and-mouse game on a trip from Paris to London and back set entirely to text messaging, Personal Shopper brings the psychological and supernatural thriller into the digital age.”—New York Film
Festival. (105 mins.)

SIERANEVADA
Cristi Puiu | Romania / France / Bosnia & Herzegovina
n a labyrinthine Bucharest apartment, a cantankerous extended family has gathered 40 days after its patriarch’s death for a memorial service. Dark truths of the family’s past slowly emerge as everyone wrestles with the patriarch’s complicated legacy. As claustrophobia mounts, heated, humorous exchanges—about the old Communist days and the present age of terror—coalesce into a fascinatingly observed portrait of Romanian family life and personal and social disquiet. This year’s Polish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (173 mins.)

STAYING VERTICAL
Alain Guiraudie | France

Léo, a filmmaker in search of a project, is scouting in the south of France when he
is seduced by Marie, a free-spirited and dynamic shepherdess. Months later, after Marie gives birth to their child, she abandons both Leo and their child without warning. Through a series of unexpected and unusual encounters, Léo finds inspiration for his next film amid his new life as a single parent and explorer of his own sexuality. With vivid, pastoral imagery, the story plays out like a fairy tale but with a dark, explicit twist that
filmmaker Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake) is known for. Adult audiences. (100 mins.)

THE SON OF JOSEPH
Eugène Green | France Belgium

Wry visual humor, playful religious subtext, and a note of farce inform a coming of age story that takes aim at French cultural pretensions. Vincent, a discontented high school student in Paris, lives with his mother, who won’t tell him who his father is. Despite her efforts, he sets out to find him on his own. The search leads him to Oscar, a narcissistic,
womanizing publisher who shows no interest in Vincent and stirs rage. But an encounter with his father’s brother, Joseph, provides the missing father figure, and together the two begin to explore Paris with new eyes. (113 mins.)

THE STOPOVER
Delphine Coulin, Muriel Coulin | France / Greece

Aurore and Marine are given three days of “decompression leave” with their unit, among tourists, at a five-star resort in Cyprus. But it’s not that easy to forget the war and leave violence behind. Childhood friends who left Brittany to see the world and saw much more than they bargained for, the two respond differently to the program, and tensions surface. Inspired by real experiences, this sometimes surreal film about trauma, gender, sexism, and friendship is “cuttingly observed, fraught, and bleakly funny.”—Variety. In
French and Greek with English subtitles. (102 mins.)

WULU
Saouda Coulibaly | France / Sénégal

Set in Mali’s capital city of Bamako, Coulibaly’s debut feature offers perspective on the country’s enduring political turmoil. When low-level transit employee Ladji misses out on a potentially lucrative promotion, it’s time to move on. He uses his connections to earn money as a drug runner, at which he thrives. It’s not long before he is rising in the ranks, but as he does his control of events spin out of control and he’s soon embroiled in
conflicts that stretch from Mali’s government all the way to Al Qaeda. In Bambara and French with English subtitles. (95 mins.)

IT'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD
Xavier Dolan | Canada / France

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and this year’s Canadian Oscar submission, Dolan’s visually and emotionally powerful melodrama follows terminally ill writer Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), who returns home to break the news of his debilitating condition to his estranged family. Once there, old wounds and deep-seated frustrations surface as Louis struggles to rekindle relationships and articulate the real reason for his
unexpected visit. An all-star cast, including Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, and Vincent
Cassel, bring to life a family burdened with buried memories and heavy sadness, but ultimately profound love for each other. (99 mins.)

LOST IN PARIS
Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon | France / Belgium

Fiona, a hapless Canadian librarian, visits Paris for the first time after receiving a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha. When she arrives, Aunt Martha has disappeared within the depths of the city. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, Fiona meets Dom, a seductive homeless man who won’t leave her alone. Their awkward, gentle
romance provides an excuse for director and actor pair Dominque Abel and Fiona
Gordon (The Fairy) to show off their quirky devotion to the art of slapstick comedy in a charming ode to Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, and Buster Keaton.
Très French. (84 mins.)

NOCTURAMA
Bertrand Bonello | France
Bonnello’s (Saint Laurent) latest provocation is a film in two distinct and gripping parts: first, a procedural in which we follow a group of Parisian young people, crucially of varying backgrounds, as they carry out a sure-to-be-controversial, city-wide, premeditated terrorist plot; second, a waiting game, oscillating between tense, languid, and bizarre, and which clearly reveals the absolute brutality of the mass media and the militarized state apparatus. A 21st-century thriller of
the moment, Nocturama asks impossible questions and alludes to geopolitical
issues with a profoundly troubling yet thrilling wink. “A bravura feat of filmmaking.”
—The A.V. Club. (130 mins.)

AFTER LOVE
Joachim Lafosse | Belgium

Marie and Boris, married for 15 years, are going through the emotional turmoil of divorce in front of their twin daughters. At the center of the dispute is the house that Marie purchased but Boris has renovated, and both want. Without a steady job, Boris can’t afford to move so the two must share the house stalemated by domestic standoffs and complex turns, which only continues to drag out the divorce proceedings. Lafosse’s intimate, emotional movie looks at what it means to be a couple, while also exploring the
dichotomy of two stubborn people who must figure out a way to peacefully coexist
for their children when love is gone. (100 mins.)
 

 

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