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8 Films We Want to See at Rendez-Vous with French Cinema

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is back! The 25th edition of the annual festival runs from March 5 to 15, 2020 and is put on by UniFrance and Film at Lincoln Center. This event showcases the variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking by featuring some of the newest and most impressive projects from France. 

In addition to screenings and talks, Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is adding a new Audience Award, sponsored by AirFrance, in which viewers vote for their favorite film screened at the festival. Also returning is its annual contest for cinephiles under 30 years of age: aspiring critics submit a film review for a chance to win a round-trip flight to Paris and a free one-year subscription to TV5MONDE. 

Feeling overwhelmed by the incredible 22-feature film lineup? We understand. That’s why we chose eight films to get you started! Read on below. 

  1. Deerskin

Adele Haenel’s performance in Portrait of a Lady on Fire wowed us, and it is the main reason why this film has taken the #1 spot on our list. Plus, the idea of a man whose obsession leads him to buy a rare jacket isn’t exactly what comes to mind when we think of French cinema, so we’re more than curious to see what Deerskin has in store. 

March 8th at 9:15pm & March 14th at 9:00 pm 

  1. Perfect Nanny

Tense thrillers make some of the best movies. Add in family drama and all of a sudden all eyes are glued to the screen! This feature film by Lucie Borleteau evokes struggles faced by many mothers in today’s society, in which women are forced to choose between family and career. And since this is a thriller, who knows what could happen!

March 9th at 6:15 pm & March 11th at 1:45 pm

  1. Spellbound

Henry James’ stories have made their way to the screen through other great French cinema like The Green Room by and starring François Truffaut and The Wings of the Dove with Isabelle Huppert. Spellbound is based on a haunted short story that involves books, ghosts, painting, and jealousy. Let’s see if this new adaptation does James the honor. 

March 8 at 4:00 pm & March 13th at 9:15 pm

  1. Papicha

Papicha was a highlight of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section during last year’s festival and just won two Cesar Awards, including Best Promising Actress and Best First Film! What makes this story unique is the characters’ struggle to decide what path to take in the face of the Algerian War. Mounia Meddour’s debut has been lauded as dazzling and gives viewers a fascinating glimpse into the core issues and ethos of the time.

March 6th at 1:15 pm & March 12th at 6:15 pm 

  1. Cuties

Maïmouna Doucouré is another director about whom we have heard incredible things. Her debut, Cuties, had people whispering in awe after screening at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, and explores the highly original topic of girls and hip-hop dancing.

March 10th at 6:30 pm & March 12th at 2:00 pm

  1. Proxima

Over the past few years, space movies have tackled serious topics with a sci-fi touch. This new film from Alice Winocour seems no different, as Eva Green stars as a mother whose career as an astronaut will separate her from her young daughter. Add that sort of emotional strain to the male-dominated spaceship environment and the struggles of womanhood will be on full display. 

March 7th at 6:15 pm & March 10th at 9:15 pm  

  1. Burning Ghost

The title hints at a paranormal setting, which is the premise of this debut from casting director Stéphane Batut. As the characters drift through Paris, Burning Ghost gives a new meaning to the phrase 'I see dead people.' The main character, Juste, uses his ability to see the non-living and lead them to the afterlife––until this routine is disrupted by a chance meeting with a long-lost acquaintance. 

March 10th at 1:45 pm & March 13th at 6:30 pm

  1. South Terminal

This latest from filmmaker Rabah Ameur Zaïmeche is a look at 1990s Algeria through the eyes of a doctor. While the country's conflict brings many wounded patients to his practice, the doctor attempts to keep a neutral view of the world around him––until his own safety becomes subject to threats. The duty of this doctor begins to transcend tending to the health of others and threatens to entangle him in the social and political peril of his times. 

 March 11th at 4:00 pm & March 15th at 4:00 pm