Announcing the 2020 Young French Cinema Program Selection

Announcing the 2020 Young French Cinema Program Selection

NEW YORK, December 18, 2020–The fifth edition of the Young French Cinemaprogram, which will be available for booking from January 2020 through the rest of the year, offers American theaters, universities, film societies, art-house cinemas, the Alliance Française network andother organizations the opportunity to easily screen contemporary French films.

French Cinema is widely known for the cinematic revolution it ignited with the New Wave more than five decades ago, but new generations of French directors continue to wow audiences and are frequently praised by the international press.

The Young French Cinemaprogram, presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and UniFrance, seeks to showcase rising French talents with a global vision, whose films incorporate wide-ranging cultural influences and subject matters. Most of the selected films in the 2020 program have premiered in 2019 in top international festivals.

The scope of this year’s film selection has widened to include two co-productions from Switzerland, in partnership with Swiss Films. The selection also includes three films from the Cannes selection thanks to a partnership with l’ACID (Association for Independent Cinema and Distribution). And for the fourth straight year the project is supported by Eclair, one of the leading international motion picture service providers, headquartered in France and with offices in New York City.  Eclair is making the entire YFC 2020 series available on EclairPlay – the market-leading e-delivery solution for cinema exhibitors, distributors and content owners – for cinemas to download the films in DCP format.

The 2020 selection reflects the mission of the Young French Cinema Program to showcase rising talents, from high-profile independent works to quirky comedies, powerful documentaries, and exciting short films. The selection demonstrates that this young generation shares a capacity to combine cultural influences with films capturing realities from France, Portugal, Algeria, and Switzerland. Furthermore, with 8 films directed by female filmmakers, the selection captures this generation’s concern with expanding female representation in the industry. The films explore a variety of topics such as Gender studies, LGBT issues, Globalization, and migrations, or the concept of family. The 2020 Young French Cinemaprogram includes 10 full-length and 8 short features. The films, which can be booked “à la carte” with no minimum or maximum number of films to choose, are listed below.

Feature Films

●      AS HAPPY AS POSSIBLE (RÊVES DE JEUNESSE) dir. by Alain Raoust:  A subtle yet ambitious portrait of contemporary France through the encounter between a few young people trying to make the most of their lives in a country that may have left them behind.

Selected in the 2019 Cannes ACID Program. 

●      THE BARE NECESSITY (PERDRIX) dir. by Erwan Le Duc: An ebullient high point in the recent spate of eccentric French films by young directors distinguished by an ability to use comedy to express their generation’s uncertainty in the face of an increasingly crazy world.

Selected in the 2019 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

●      BURNING GHOST (VIF-ARGENT) dir. by Stéphane Batut: An astonishingly gentle and strikingly original reflection on death, loss, and love.

Selected in the 2019 Cannes ACID Program.

●      DELPHINE AND CAROLE (DELPHINE ET CAROLE, INSOUMUSES)  dir. by Callisto McNulty: A revealing portrait of the friendship between screen icon Delphine Seyrig—known for her work with Chantal Ackerman and François Truffaut, among others—and documentary filmmaker Carole Roussopoulos—a pioneer in the use of video to make political films.

Selected at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. 

●      KONGO (KONGO)  dir. by Hadrien La Vapeur and Corto Vaclav: A fascinating first documentary feature by experimental filmmaker Hadrien La Vapeur and anthropologist Corto Vaclav provides a rich, nuanced picture of life in the Congo, while recognizing the shadow of the colonial past and the outside forces affecting this Central African nation today.

Selected in the 2019 Cannes ACID Program.

●      PARTICLES (LES PARTICULES)  dir. by Blaise Harrison: This assured fiction debut that takes the familiar genre of the coming-of-age story and turns it into an undefinable tale pulsing with big ideas, fragile emotions, and entrancing atmospheres.

Selected in the 2019 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

●      REAL LOVE (C’EST ÇA L’AMOUR)  dir. by Claire Burger : Shot in the director’s hometown of Forbach, a small working-class town in the northeast of France, Real Love is a film grounded in a deep knowledge of its setting and close observation of human relations, but occasionally surprises the viewer with an astonishing twist.

Selected at the 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam. Winner of Giornate degli Autori Director’s Award at the 2018 Venice Film Festival.

●      STARS BY THE POUND (100KGS D’ÉTOILES)  dir. by Marie-Sophie Chambon: A charming blend of a heartfelt coming-of-age story and a zany road movie is an inventive and uplifting paean to accepting yourself without letting go of your dreams, lifted by stirring performances by its four young leads.

●      TWELVE THOUSAND (DOUZE MILLE)  dir. by Nadège Trébal: Grounded in the sensual reality of bodies and the hard truth of money, Twelve Thousand goes further than one could ever hope to imagine, lifting the French social realist drama into a kind of mythology for container yards and industrial landscapes.

Selected at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival.

●      143 SAHARA STREET (143 RUE DU DÉSERT)  dir. by Hassen Ferhani: An unforgettable film portrait that skirts the fertile border between fiction and documentary and toys with genres like the Western and the road movie without ever leaving the confines of this small parcel of desert land.

Winner of Best Emerging Director Award at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival. Selected at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Short Films

●      AHMED’S SONG (LE CHANT D’AHMED) dir. by Foued Mansour: One day Ahmed, employed at the public baths and nearing retirement, encounters Mike, a teenager adrift. Between the bath house walls, in a place on the point of disappearing, a strange relationship will develop between these two fractured souls.

Brive Film Festival. Winner of Bridging the Borders Award at the Palm Springs International ShortFest 2019.

●      THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US AND THE SKY (LE DISTANCE ENTRE NOUS ET LE CIEL)  dir. by Vasilis Kekatos: Two strangers meet for the first time one night in a remote gas station. The first one fills up his car, while the second one lacks a few euros necessary to get home. The two men will haggle over the price of what separates them from a story.

Winner of Short Film Palme d’Or and Queer Palme at Cannes 2019.

●      THE GLORIOUS ACCEPTANCE SPEECH OF NICOLAS CHAUVIN (LE DISCOURS D’ACCEPTATION GLORIEUX DE NICOLAS CHAUVIN)  dir. by Benjamin Crotty: During his acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award, Nicolas Chauvin – farmer soldier, veteran of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the father of chauvinism – embarks on a grand monologue, sending him back in time and space. Until, at a bend on a moonlit road, a spectral encounter changes the course of his non-existence.

Selected at the 2018 New York Film Festival. Winner of Mantarraya Award at the 2018 Locarno International Film Festival.

●      MAGNETIC HARVEST (LA TRACTION DE PÔLES)  dir. by Marine Levéel: In close up, Mickaël seems to move in a nebula of desires: find his lost pig, get his organic farming certification, stop being lonely in a rape desert. But from afar, Mickaël looks more like a magnet attracted to Paul.

Selected at the 2019 Festival Premier Plans d’Angers. Winner of Prix du Public at the 2019 Palm Springs International ShortFest.

●      THE MARVELOUS MISADVENTURES OF THE STONE LADY (LES EXTRAORDINAIRES MÉSAVENTURES DE LA JEUNE FILLE DE PIERRE) dir. by Gabriel Abrantes: Tired of being a banal architectural ornament, a sculpture runs away from the Louvre to confront real life on the streets of Paris.

Selected in the 2019 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

●      SHEEP, WOLF, AND A CUP OF TEA… (MOUTONS, LOUP, ET TASSE DE THÉ…)  dir. by Marion Lacourt: At night, while family members indulge in curious rituals before sleeping, a child invokes a wolf from the bottom of a box hidden under his bed. Disturbing sheep then besiege the door of his bedroom…

Selected at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival.

●      THE TEARS THING (LE COUP DES LARMES)  dir. by Clémence Poésy: Florence is an actress. Preparations for her new role will challenge her in a way she could never have seen coming…

Selected at the 2019 Venice Film Festival.

●      TUESDAY FROM 8 TO 6 (MARDI DE 8 À 18)  dir. by Cecilia de Arce: Névine, a secondary school monitor, is fully committed to her somewhat thankless day job, dealing with teachers, administration and students. Logan, a pupil she is fond of, insists on getting a cap back from lost and found. She has no idea of the consequences of her gesture.

2019 Cannes Critics Week Selection

In 2019, close to 130 screenings were organized in around 40 different cities and locations, in 20 different states, from New York to Tennessee, North Carolina, Arizona, Oregon and throughout the United States. Most screenings were held at arthouse cinemas and film series and festivals, though universities and Alliances Françaises also hosted screenings. It represented an increase of 45% in the number of bookings compared to 2017 and 10% compared to 2018.

Several directors, artists, and speakers also visited the United States & Canada (Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Houston, Minneapolis, Montreal, Chicago, Seattle…) to present films, including director Amandine Gay (Speak up Ouvrir la voix), Saïd Hamich (Return to Bollene Retour à Bollène), Anne Alix (Something is happening / Il se passe quelque chose), Michael Dacheux (Love Blooms / L’Amour debout), Clément Cogitore (Braguino & Les Indes Galantes), Judith Davis (Whatever happened to my revolution / Tout ce qui me reste de la révolution), and Camille Lugan (La Persistente). 

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the

For almost 70 years, UniFrance has been using its experience of the international marketplace to support French cinema worldwide. UniFrance is based in Paris and also has representatives in New York, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo. Its membership brings together around 1,000 French producers, filmmaking talents, agents and sales companies, which are working together to promote French film among foreign audiences, industry executives and media.