The YOUNG FRENCH CINEMA 2017 FILM SELECTION listed below is available to art house cinemas, film societies, the Alliance Française network and American universities. For program guidelines, please click here.


Download the 2017 Young French Cinema brochure here.


A GERMAN YOUTH (UNE JEUNESSE ALLEMANDE)

Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot
Screenplay: Jean-Gabriel Périot, Pierre Hodgson, Anne Steiner, Nicole Brenez and Anne Paschetta
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 93 min. Color. Documentary.
Rights holder: Films Distribution

Synopsis: Jean-Gabriel Périot’s brilliant debut feature about the traumatic years of German leftist terrorism and unrest is a film dense with questions about the legacy of Nazism, the role of government, the duty of intellectuals, and the responsibilities of the media. Entirely relying on archival footage including journalist Ulrike Meinhof’s mesmerizing appearances on talk shows, agitprop student films by future terrorists, and TV news reports of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings, A GERMAN YOUTH charts the tragic course of a generation of intellectuals and artists whose radical critique of society foundered in armed violence in the 1970s. Avoiding any explanatory voiceover or text, Périot immerses the viewer in a dangerous but fascinating time when the line between right and wrong wavered and Germany was brought to a standstill by leftist terrorism. The film climaxes with an extraordinary clip from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Germany in Autumn, putting the emotion back into politics after putting the politics back into film.

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A YOUNG POET (UN JEUNE POÈTE)

Director: Damien Manivel
Screenplay: Damien Manivel
Cast: Rémi Taffanel, Léonore Fernandes and Enzo Vassallo
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2014. France. 71 min. Color. Drama.
Rights holder: The Open Reel

SynopsisA YOUNG POET is a simple summer tale of a young poet searching for inspiration in a seaside town. With the barest of ingredients—a beanpole of an actor, the sun-splashed streets of Sète, and the Mediterranean in the distance—young writer-director Damien Manivel reveals himself to be a true original, a DIY inventor with an eye for intrinsically elegant, wry compositions and the comedy in repetition. While there is a delectable lightness and fond humor in the way Manivel captures the poet Rémi’s fruitless search for inspiration, the movie hits home when Rémi finds himself at the grave of Paul Valéry, one of France’s greatest poets, and confesses his fear of life. In that terrific moment, one recognizes how daunting the limitless possibility of youth can feel. Here, Manivel confirms that he is more than a charming stylist with a can-do spirit, but the voice of a young generation.

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LES OGRES

Director: Léa Fehner
Screenplay: Léa Fehner, Catherine Paillé and Brigitte Sy
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Marc Barbé, François Fehner and Marion Bouvarel
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 142 min. Color. Drama.
Rights holder: Pyramide

SynopsisIn Léa Fehner’s exuberant second feature LES OGRES, a struggling traveling theater company overcomes a painful past, unruly performers, and an invasion of bovines to keep performing in the fields and vacant lots of southwest France. After an acrobat breaks her leg under the big top, director François calls in his former mistress Lola to replace her in the troupe’s cabaret version of Chekov’s short plays and stories, setting off a long-brewing crisis with his wife and fellow performer Marion. Meanwhile mercurial actor Deloyal goes into a tailspin when the news that he is expecting a baby with the young actress Mona reminds him of the death of his teenage son. While his hilarious antics cost the troupe several performances and lead to a brush with the law, the company soldiers on, however turbulently, bound together by a family spirit formed on the stage. Based on the director’s own childhood and starring her father, mother, and sister along with movie greats Marc Barbé and Adèle Haenel, LES OGRES joins the canon of films about theater by combining a painfully intimate, authentic story with a joyful, ebullient sense of spectacle.

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MUCH LOVED

Director: Nabil Ayouch
Screenplay: Nabil Ayouch
Cast: Loubna Abidar, Asmaa Lazrak, Halima Karaouane, Sara Elmhamdi Elalaoui and Abdallah Didane
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2015. France-Morocco. 104 min. Color. Drama.
Rights holder: Celluloid Dreams

SynopsisWhile this uncompromising look at the lives of four high-end prostitutes in present-day Marrakesh unleashed a storm of controversy following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and was eventually banned in its native Morocco, MUCH LOVED’s extraordinarily frank approach to sexuality and women’s discourse about men is anything but empty provocation. Writer-director Nabil Ayouch goes after a far more uncomfortable truth here: the condition of women in oppressive patriarchal societies that deny them “respectable” means to care for themselves and their families. With a non-sensational, empathetic gaze, the film shows us everything Moroccan fundamentalists and power brokers would prefer to ignore: call girls partying with rich Saudis, transvestites and children walking the street, corrupt police officers, families without resources. Though its subject matter is as dispiriting as it is infuriating, MUCH LOVED is ultimately uplifting. By being true to the details and constantly hitting the right note, Ayouch and his non-professional actresses have crafted unforgettable portraits of women pursuing a dream of independence.

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SPARTACUS & CASSANDRA

Director: Ioanis Nuguet
Screenplay: Ioanis Nuguet and Samuel Luret
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2014. France. 80 min. Color. Documentary.
Rights holder: Nour Films

SynopsisSpartacus, 13, and his sister Cassandra, 11, are the children of Romani beggars in Paris. When the film begins, they are living in a circus built in a vacant lot outside the city by the idealistic young trapeze artist Camille. Following the children at juvenile court, in school, in their trailer, and on the streets, this tremendously moving documentary finds them wrestling with the terrible choice to live on the streets and in illegality with their parents or to agree to integrate French society by being placed in a foster family. As occasional voiceover written and delivered by the children makes amply clear, Spartacus and his sister are extraordinarily bright people faced with situations no young person should ever have to experience. While it is far from a straightforward inspirational tale, this intimate, sensitive film describes the difficult year in which hope finally appears on their horizon.

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STRUGGLE FOR LIFE (LA LOI DE LA JUNGLE)

Director: Antonin Peretjatko
Screenplay: Frédéric Ciriez and Antonin Peretjatko
Cast: Vincent Macaigne, Vimala Pons, Jean-Luc Bideau and Mathieu Amalric
Format(s): DCP/DVD CineConductor
Details: 2016. France. 99 min. Color. Comedy.
Rights holder: Be for Films

SynopsisWhen thirtysomething deadbeat Marc Châtaigne (played by the irresistible Vincent Macaigne) snags an internship with a French government ministry, he is surprised to learn that his assignment is to launch a ski resort in tropical French Guyana. Naturally, once in Guyana, everything that could go wrong goes way wrong: the resort site is overgrown, a dogged tax collector is on Marc’s heels, and an encounter with local guerillas propels Marc deep into the jungle, where he proceeds to get lost and have a close encounter with a boa constrictor—not to mention some hairy spiders. Luckily, he is accompanied by the beautiful and savvy Tarzan, a scrappy beauty played by the ever excellent Vimala Pons... Relentlessly inventive and popping with sight gags and dead-on one-liners, STRUGGLE FOR LIFE is a riotous send-up of an aging France buried in administrative absurdities, a deeply eccentric take on the state of the nation that gives way to an offbeat, sensual love story.

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SWAGGER

Director: Olivier Babinet
Screenplay: Olivier Babinet
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2016. France. 84 min. Color. Documentary.
Rights holder: Faro/Kidam

SynopsisSWAGGER is a beautifully shot, deftly edited documentary about life in the projects of the tough Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, as seen through the eyes of eleven middle school students, most of whom are first generation French citizens. Speaking directly to the camera as if it were a long-trusted confidante, these extraordinary young people talk about love, being French, life in the projects, and their visions of the future. SWAGGER seduces not only by the maturity, generosity, and frankness of its memorable subjects, but by the filmmaker’s efforts to lift it out of the quotidian by including charming flights of fancy that illustrate the children’s unspoken dreams. Shot in bold colors, with breathtaking aerial photography and a score by Jean-Benoît Dunckel, one half of legendary French electronic duo Air, SWAGGER is much more than another documentary about children’s resilience in challenging circumstances. But perhaps the film’s greatest accomplishment is to leave the viewer feeling she has made eleven new friends in a place she had never dreamed of visiting.

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THE WOODS DREAMS ARE MADE OF (LE BOIS DONT LES RÊVES SONT FAITS)

Director: Claire Simon
Format(s): DCP/DVD CineConductor
Details: 2015. France-Germany. 144 min. Color. Documentary.
Rights holder: Be for films

Synospsis: Veteran director Claire Simon reaches a career high with this engaging, constantly surprising documentary on people in the Bois de Vincennes, a sprawling park on Paris’s southeast edge. Ranging from amateur painters to prostitutes, from ornithologists to exercise nuts, from gay men cruising for sex to mothers strolling with their babies, the characters we encounter share more than a geographic location; all seem to find solace and meaning in the sometimes eccentric activities that bring them to the woods. While she does not shy away from the difficulties of some of her subjects’ circumstances, Simon’s boundless curiosity and generous presence (she is often heard, but never seen) turn the film into a joyous rallying call for those seeking independence in outdoor pursuits and the margins of society. These political implications rise to the surface in a moving visit to the scant remnants of the experimental university of Vincennes, where the great philosopher Gilles Deleuze once lectured on the “lines of escape” that free individuals from the calcification of society. THE WOODS DREAMS ARE MADE OF is a stirring continuation of his legacy.

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THIS SUMMER FEELING (CE SENTIMENT DE L'ÉTÉ)

Director: Mikhaël Hers
Screenplay: Mariette Désert and Mikhaël Hers
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Judith Chemla, Marie Rivière and Féodor Atkine
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2015. France-Germany. 106 min. Color. Drama.
Rights holder: Pyramide

SynopsisStarting with the sudden death of Sasha, a young French woman in Berlin, this lushly melancholy drama depicts three summers in the lives of those who loved her. As the story moves from Berlin to Paris and from Paris to New York, THIS SUMMER FEELING loosely weaves together the paths of Sasha’s boyfriend, the American writer and translator Lawrence, her sister Zoe, and her parents (played by Eric Rohmer stalwarts Marie Rivière and Féodor Atkine). While the film’s heart is in how its protagonists cope with loss, the exquisite summer light and outdoor spaces of its locations take center stage, poignantly infusing the mourning process with the elusive beauty of life. Ultimately, THIS SUMMER FEELING serves as a generational portrait of the young creative class living in the hip areas of Kreuzberg, Williamsburg, and the northeast of Paris, finding the depth of feeling and thoughtfulness in a population often written off as superficial. With this marvelously observed, sensitive second feature, Mikhaël Hers joins the ranks of those filmmakers who lift our spirits merely by the acuity of their art.

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TOMORROW (DEMAIN)

Director: Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent
Screenplay: Cyril Dion
Voiceover: Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent
Format(s): DCP/DVD CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 90 min. Color. Documentary.
Rights holder: Elle Driver

SynopsisShortly after having her first child, French actress and director Mélanie Laurent, a star of Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, read a report by several leading scientists stating that man’s environmental impact on the planet had reached a critical stage that could threaten human life as we know it. Wondering what kind of world her young son would grow up in, Laurent gathered a group of friends to make TOMORROW, a documentary about our environmental challenges. The film’s triumph lies in the choice not to frighten—though the facts are sobering—but to inspire; to go beyond the disaster scenarios to share real-life solutions. Traveling to ten countries, from the urban farms of Detroit to an English town that strikes its own David Bowie currency to encourage local spending, from a completely sustainable model village in southern India to the progressive schools of Finland, Laurent and her colleagues introduce viewers to people making a difference in the fields of food, energy, finance, democracy, and education. Their ideas make this one of the most essential and unexpectedly inspirational viewing experiences of our time.

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UNCOMPLETED SONG (COMMENT C'EST LOIN)

Director: Orelsan and Christophe Hoffenstein
Screenplay: Orelsan, Christophe Hoffenstein and Stéphane Murat
Cast: Aurélien Cotentin and Guillaume Tranchant
Format(s): DCP/.mov Files CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 90 min. Color. Comedy.
Rights holder: Other Angles Pictures

Synopsis: UNCOMPLETED SONG is the hilarious, heartwarming autobiographical tale of leading French rapper Orelsan’s struggle to make his hip-hop dreams come true. The challenges here are not due to the closed doors of show biz or a chronic lack of talent, but the artist’s own self-doubt. As such, UNCOMPLETED SONG will inspire anyone hesitant to chase a dream long held. When the film starts, Orel is working as a night receptionist at a hotel in Normandy. It’s been five years since he and his best friend Gringe made waves by rapping on a local radio show. Unfortunately, they haven’t finished anything since and the producers who have been supporting them deliver an ultimatum: Orel and Gringe have twenty-four hours to write a song before they pull the plug. UNCOMPLETED SONG follows one epic day in which an old friendship is tested, relationships are ended, a vocation is questioned, and one triumphant song is finally written. Brimming with unexpected musical numbers, UNCOMPLETED SONG is as much hip-hop musical comedy as provincial bromance, a heartfelt hybrid true to its writer-director and star’s unique personality.

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VILLE-MARIE [Canadian Pick]

Director: Guy Edoin
Screenplay: Guy Edoin
Cast: Monica Bellucci, Pascale Bussières and Aliocha Schneider
Format(s): DCP/BLU RAY/DVD CineConductor
Details: 2015. Canada. 101 min. Color. Comedy.
Rights holder: Films Boutique

SynopsisIn this powerful study of urban isolation, leading young Canadian writer-director Guy Édouin uses the Ville-Marie hospital in Montreal to effortlessly weave together disparate lives, eventually honing on the encounter between two women facing the metaphorical or literal loss of their sons. International movie star Sabine Bernard (Monica Bellucci) comes to Montreal to shoot a film uncomfortably reminiscent of her own life, but also to be close to her estranged son Thomas. When Thomas gets hit by an ambulance after having a fight with his mother, Sabine meets Marie, an emergency room doctor who has lost her youngest son and subsequently grown distant from her oldest. In their brief encounter, both women seem to find the strength to move forward—and perhaps to change. Featuring a wonderfully intimate performance from Monica Bellucci, VILLE-MARIE is an exquisitely crafted, deeply moving film that mixes the magic of the great Hollywood melodramas with the clear-eyed artistry of today’s greatest arthouse directors.

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Short Films

FORMAT(S) DCP/.mov Files/CineConductor

Alice

Director: Karine Silla Pérez
Screenplay: Karine Silla Pérez
Cast: Marie Gillain and Ariane Séguillon
Format(s): DVD/BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2016. France. 14'56 min. Drama.
Rights holder: To Be Continued

Synopsis: A woman gives birth painfully and pushes the baby out with extreme violence. We put a bracelet on the baby with the letter X. As the psychologist tries to speak to her, she starts thinking of the consequences.

Campo de víboras (CHAMP DE VIPÈRES)

Director: Cristèle Alves Meira
Screenplay: Cristèle Alves Meira
Cast: Ana Padrão, Sónia Martins and Simão Cayatte
Format(s): DVD CineConductor
Details: 2016. France-Portugal. 19'53 min. Drama.
Rights holder: Fluxus Films

SynopsisIn a small Portuguese village, a tragedy occurred. An old lady is found dead in her garden, surrounded by snakes, while her 40 year-old daughter, Lurdes, fled without telling anyone.

Haramist (Haramiste)

Director: Antoine Desrosières
Screenplay: Antoine Desrosières, Anne-Sophie Nanki, Souad Arsane and Inas Chanti
Cast: Inas Chanti, Souad Arsane and Jean-Marie Villeneuve
Format(s): BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 40 min. Comedy.
Rights holder: Les Films de l’autre Cougar

SynopsisRim, 18 years-old veiled woman, is on notice when she reminds Yasmina, her 17 years-old sister, that she must not go to talk at the young man she likes.

Joint-Tenants (Colocataires)

Director: Delphine Priet-Mahéo
Screenplay: Delphine Priet-Mahéo
Cast: Sabrina Horvais-Amengual and Thierry Barbet
Format(s): DVD CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 11'25 min. Animation.
Rights holder: Vivement Lundi!

Synopsis: Camille lives alone. The alarm clock, her cat’s meals and the sound of the cash register at the supermarket order her life. But one day, a man discreetly slips inside her house and shakes up her bearings...

Love

Director: Reka Bucsi
Screenplay: Reka Bucsi
Format(s): DVD CineConductor
Details: 2016. France. 14'32 min. Animation.
Rights holder: Autour de Minuit

SynopsisLOVE is a short film describing affection in 3 different chapters, through an impact on a distant solar system.

Partner (Réplique)

Director: Antoine Giorgini
Screenplay: Antoine Giorgini
Cast: Eddy Suiveng and Tobias Nuytten
Format(s): DVD CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 19 min. Fiction.
Rights holder: Premium Films

SynopsisToday, Tony is supposed to audition for drama school. But Steven, his best friend and reading partner, doesn’t show up. After having failed to find another volunteer, Tony gives up.

The Geneva Convention (La Convention de Genève)

Director: Benoit Martin
Screenplay: Benoit Martin
Cast: Azzedine Bouabba, Soumaye Bocoum and Alison Valence
Format(s): BLU RAY CineConductor
Details: 2016. France. 15 min. Comedy.
Rights holder: Année Zéro

Synopsis: As Hakim is waiting for the bus after class, he is caught in a vendetta between teenagers. He is not exactly keen to get into a fight, but how can he possibly avoid an awaited confrontation?

When you hear the Bells (Au bruit des clochettes)

Director: Chabname Zariab
Screenplay: Chabname Zariab
Cast: Shafiq Kohi, Arya Vossoughi, and Farhad Faghih-Habibi
Format(s): DVD CineConductor
Details: 2015. France. 25 min. Comedy.
Rights holder: Les Films du Bal

Synopsis: Afghanistan. Saman is a “batcha”, a young male prostitute who lives under the protection of Farroukhzad. Saman starts worrying when he sees the new recruit of his master, a young boy who has been chosen to replace him.