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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

3rd My French Film Festival Lineup


As the third edition of this now more famous online film festival approaches the program with 10 films and 10 short films in competition has become available; but the best news for many online viewers is that the fest returns with new foreign languages, new partner platforms and an avant-première for its launch in London.

The festival will run from January 17 to February 17, 2013 and new partner platforms include the fest website and Dailymotion for worldwide viewers plus with less coverage but still with many countries coverage, iTunes. Then you have a large list with one specific partner for countries like UK, Turkey, USA, Spain, Austria, Germany, Quebec, Russia, China, and more that you can check here. So if the fest website does not satisfy your streaming possibilities, now you can select a source with higher, better and cleaner streaming. Well done as is a great improvement.

Another interesting change for this year is related to the juries as in my opinion has become a bit more professional when a Filmmakers Jury is added to previous International Press Jury and Social Networks Jury. The audience plus the three juries will award seven prizes, four for feature films and three for shorts; plus winning films will be shown aboard all flights of Air France.

As some of you know this is a pay-per-view festival and you can check rental rates and package options at fest official site, rates that imagine will be different if renting from a different platform provider; but as in previous editions there are some lucky regions of the world that can view films for free like China, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Latin America.

Again to stimulate viewership there are promotions that give away prizes that include a trip for two to Paris (no matter their country of origin) or a trip to London for French residents, plus a trip for two to New York in March 2013 by betting on the film elected by Internet Users on the Facebook page of Air France and many free viewings and other surprises.

If you wish to participate in any of the promotions check facebook page for the fest here and for Air France go here. The promotions are not active right now but you can "like" both pages to learn in your facebook news feed when promotion becomes active.

After the long introduction these are the films in the selection.

Feature Films

Une bouteille à la mer (A Bottle in the Gaza Sea), Thierry Binisti, France, Israel and Canada, 2010
Tal is a young Frenchwoman who has settled in Jerusalem with her family. Seventeen years old, she has reached the age of the "first time": the first love, first cigarette, first piercing. And the first bombing. After the explosion of a kamikaze in a café in her neighborhood, she writes a letter to an imaginary Palestinian, in which she expresses her questions and her refusal to accept that only hatred can reign between Israelis and Palestinians. She slips the letter into a bottle that she gives to her brother to throw into the sea, near Gaza, where he is carrying out his military service. A few weeks later, Tal receives a response from a mysterious "Gazaman."

This 2010 produced film was first screened in theaters on February 8, 2012 and according to IMDb is listed as "Coming Soon" in theaters January 4th, which usually means America domestic release. The most interesting thing this film has is that outstanding HIam Abbass performs here in the role of Intessar.

Donoma, Djinn Carrénard, France, 2010
A teacher forms an ambiguous relationship with a student, an agnostic teenager is "called" by God, and a photographer gives herself to a stranger. Do we choose to love? Do we choose to be loved?

This very low-budget production was first released in theaters on November 23, 2011 and is better known to me as the 2011 Prix Louis-Delluc Best First Film winner and as a film that I haven't been able to see and I'm very curious about it, just to see what they did with a budget of 150 Euros!!!

De bon matin (Early One Morning), Jean-Marc Moutout, France and Belgium, 2011
Monday morning. Paul Wertret, 50, heads off to his job as a manager at the International Credit and Trade Bank. He arrives at 8 o'clock on the dot, as usual. He enters a meeting room, takes out a gun and kills two of his bosses. Then he locks himself in his office. As he waits for the inevitable police assault, this ordinary man looks back over his life and the events that led him to commit such an act.

This is one of those French films that I have said: No, merci. In case you are not a regular blog reader "No, merci" means, nothing will make me see this movie in the past, the present, and the future.

Tous au Larzac (Leader-Sheep), Christian Rouaud, France, 2011
"We've chosen the Larzac, because it's an abandoned region." - Michel Debré. Marizette, Christiane, Pierre, Léon, and José… are some of the people, funny and moving, united together in a merciless struggle to save their land. A determined and joyful fight, but one that is also very trying and dangerous.
It all began in 1971, when the French government, with Michel Debré, Head of the Defense Department, as spokesperson, decided to enlarge the Larzac military camp. Without any prior discussion with the farmers, the camp was to be extended from 3,000 to 14,000 hectares.
Anger spread like wildfire, farmers rallied together and signed an oath: never would they hand over their land. In the daily confrontation with the army and police, they employed great imagination to ensure that their voices were heard. Soon, hundreds of Larzac committees sprouted up throughout France. Ten years of resistance, collective intelligence and solidarity that would carry them to victory. Today the Larzac region is thriving more than ever.

A documentary with an interesting story but think will skip watching.

Louise Wimmer, Cyril Mennegun, France, 2011
50-year-old Louise Wimmer is adrift. Her comfortable life is turned upside down when a painful separation and an unexpected crisis leave her immersed in debt and homeless, forcing her to sleep in her car. Her job as a hotel maid is not enough for rent or for paying off her debts. However, Louise keeps fighting for a better future. Refusing even the help of friends and a man who truly loves her, she will nevertheless find the strength to build a new life for herself.

Better known to me for being in competition at the International Film Critics Week of the 2011 Biennale; but as what also happens in Cannes, critics weeks have very strange films which I learned to better not to see them.

Sport de Filles (Of Women and Horses), Patricia Mazuy, France and Germany, 2011
Enraged by the sale of the vaulting horse that she'd been promised as hers to ride, Gracieuse, a talented rider, dumps her job at a stable. She starts again from zero by accepting work as a groom at a dressage stud farm adjacent to her father's property. The owner, Joséphine de Silène, exploits with an iron fist the international renown of a German trainer, Franz Mann. This former champion, now cynical and worn out, is sought out by female riders the world over, who fight each other for his knowledge - and for his attention.
This microcosm of power and money has no time for Gracieuse, whose only assets are her talent, her fiercely stubborn character, and, most particularly, her determination to succeed. A high tension wire who's ready to stand up to Franz Mann and to face any obstacle, even if it means stepping outside the law, she pursues her sole obsession: to have horse to call her own that she will take to the top...

Perhaps the only interesting thing in this film is the cast, with Marina Hands, Bruno Ganz and Josiane Balasko; but no, I'm not interested in watching.

Parlez-moi de vous (On Air), Pierre Pinaud, France, 2011
40-year-old Mélina is the most famous voice in France. Host of a evening radio programme, she resolves listener's emotional and sexual problems on the air with cheekiness, humor, and frankness. Everyone knows her voice, but no one knows her face. In everyday life, she avoids all contact and lives like a spinster in a chic part of town. She is looking for her mother, whom she's never known. When she discovers that the latter is living with a large family in the high rise blocks at the edge of the city, she decides to get near to her, incognito...

Perhaps Karin Viard is the most interesting thing in film but I have already said, No merci, to this film.

Radiostars, Romain Lévy, France, 2011
Ben, who dreamed of himself as a comic in New York, is in back in Paris, his professional and emotional life in complete disarray. He encounters Alex, the star host of the Breakfast Club, a popular morning radio show. With Cyril, a forty-something who'd prefer not to be, and Arnold, the charismatic leader of the gang, they call the shots on Blast FM. In next to no time, Ben is hired to write for them.  He's barely joined the team when a tidal wave hits the station: Breakfast Club listenership is in free fall. They set out on a bus to travel to every corner of France to meet and win over their public once again.  For these arrogant Parisians, a real journey of initiation arises from this radiophonic road trip, shaking up all their certainties.

Yep, already said, No merci.

La Désintégration (The Disintegration), Philippe Faucon, France and Belgium, 2011
Among the projects on the outskirts of Lille today. Ali, Nasser and Hamza, all twenty years old, meet Djamel, who is ten years older than them. To their eyes, Djamel seems like a charismatic, scathing big brother. An able manipulator, little by little he indoctrinates the three friends, knowing better than anyone their disappointments, weaknesses, and their rebellion faced with the society in which they're born, but to which neither of the three feel they belong.

Not interested in watching.

La Pirogue (The Pirogue), Moussa Touré, France, Senegal and Germany, 2012
Baye Laye is the captain of a fishing pirogue. Like many of his Senegalese compatriots, he sometimes dreams of new horizons, where he can earn a better living for his family. When he is offered to captain one of the many pirogues that head towards Europe via the Canary Islands, he reluctantly accepts the job, knowing full-well the dangers that lie ahead. Leading a group of 30 men who don't all speak the same language, some of whom have never seen the sea, Baye Laye will confront many perils in order to reach the distant coasts of Europe.

Better known to me as being in competition in Un Certain Regard section of 2012 Cannes. Film suggests to have great visuals but I have already said No, merci when I had the opportunity to watch.

As you can see I'm not really interested in the feature films program presented this year; only one film really calls my attention for the wrong reasons plus another for one actress I really enjoy her performances. Let see what happens with shorts as usually in previous editions there are many truly must be seen for me.

Short Films

Un monde sans femmes (A World Without Women), Guillaume Brac, France, 2011, 58'
A small sea resort of the coast picarde, last week of August. By handing over the keys of an apartment for rent, Sylvain gets acquainted with two attractive young women. The ideal opportunity to go out if only for a few days in a solitary life in which women are desperately absent. Very quickly, Sylvain makes himself indispensable to his new friends. But things get complicated when the feelings and especially Gilles, a local womanizer without any scruples, come to get involved.

Actually this is a medium-length film as its running time is 58 minutes but from synopsis I can tell film is a comedy and a fast search confirms it. No, merci.

Je sens le beat qui monte en moi (Beauty and the Beat), Yann Le Quellec, France and Belgium, 2012, 32'
Rosalba, a young tourist guide, suffers from a strange ailment: the very least melody sets off in her gesticulation and she beings to dance, as suddenly as uncontrollably. Despite her ruses to hide her eccentricity, this uncontrollable body might well seduce her surprising co-worker, Alain.

Another medium-length film and another comedy. No, merci.

Edmond était un âne (Edmond Was a Donkey), Franck Dion, France and Canada, 2012, 15'
Edmond is not like everybody else. A small, quiet man, Edmond has a wife who loves him and a job that he does extraordinarily well. He is, however, very aware that he is different. When his co-workers tease him by crowning him with a pair of donkey ears, he suddenly discovers his true nature. And though he comes to enjoy his new identity, an ever-widening chasm opens up between himself and others.

An award winner animated short film that definitively calls my attention. Must be seen for me.

Fille du calvaire, Stéphane Demoustier, France, 2012, 20'
Jérôme fell in love with a young woman whom he tries to seduce. Day after day, he tells the evolution of the operations to his friend Patrick who gives his advice and lives by proxy the adventures of his younger friend.

Not sure, it is a maybe.

Ce n'est pas un film de cow-boys (It's Not a Cowboy Movie), Benjamin Parent, France, 2011, 12'
Brokeback Mountain was aired on TV last night. Vincent watched it and has been completely shattered. He takes advantage of the recess to describe the film in a touching and naïve way to his classmate, Moussa. In the girls bathroom, Jessica also deeply moved by the film, bombards her best friend Nadia with awkward questions about her gay father.

Better known to me as the Petit Rail d'Or winner at 2012 Cannes, where it was show as in the Critics' Week section and for also winning the Queer Palm for best short film. Seems like FINALLY will be able to see this short. Great.

Double Mixte, Vincent Mariette, France, 2011, 25'
While waiting for an important trial for which he has to testify, Jean is placed under Arthur's protection, a slightly intrusive cop. Seeing danger everywhere, Arthur decides to take Jean out of sight to his sister's home, the disturbing Margaret.

Not sure, it's a maybe.

Le Pays qui n'existe pas (Neverland), Cécile Ducrocq, France, 2012, 18'
Jeanne, aged twelve, spends a weekend with her parents. Thanks to an indiscretion, Jeanne learns that her father has a mistress.

Maybe.

Oh Willy..., Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, France, Belgium and Netherlands, 2012, 17'
Following the death of his mother, Willy returns to the naturists community where he was raised. Melancholic when facing his memories, Willy decides to run away in the nature where he finds the maternal protection of a big hairy animal.

Interested in watching this animated short that won the 2012 Silver Hugo at Chicago fest.

Le Marin masqué (The Shady Sailor), Sophie Letourneur, France, 2011, 35'
Laetitia and Sophie leave for weekend in Brittany, in Laetitia's home town, Quimper. Their stay is rhythmed by pancakes, strolls on the beach and going out at night to la Chaumière, reappears the face of the masked sailor, Laetitia's youth love.

Maybe.

Le Monde à l'envers (Upside Down World), Sylvain Desclous, France, 2012, 37'
A typical provincial city. Mado, 56 years old, is a cashier in a supermarket, on a short-term contract, renewable for one year. A good job for some. An eternity for Mado. One day, she escapes. Direction - the countryside. A small house in which lives her son whom she so loves and sees so little of.

Maybe.

As you can see short films are a bit more interesting than feature films as not only are newer productions but also some are award winners and/or official selection at prestigious festivals, plus stories seem more interesting.

By the way, on December 21st there will be an avant-première were we will be able to watch the short films free-of-charge within the framework of "The Shortest Day", the short-film celebration organized by the CNC, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture. Still have to find out exactly where the free screening will happen and if it will be available to watch online. Seems will be at the fest site, according to news I read.

Out of Competition
Two feature films and one short film will be screened in this section.

Les Tontons flingueurs (Crooks in Clover), Georges Lautner, France, 1963
Ex-gangster Fernand (Lino Ventura) receives a call from a dying friend, a mob boss nicknamed "The Mexican". The doomed mobster talks Fernand into taking care of some criminal business and looking after his soon-to-be-married daughter. When a longtime mobster heavy, Volfoni takes exception to Fernand for being an outsider, they come after Fernand who is equal to the task. He defends himself in a series of comical killings from the onslaught of the mob.

Roméo Onze (Romeo Eleven), Ivan Grbovic, Canada, 2011
The intimate portrait of a young man struggling to find his footing in life while living with a physical disability and the expectations of his father. A trail of lies slowly catches up to him as he tries to become Romeo Eleven.

Opasatica, Eric Morin, Canada, 2010, 18'
In winter, northern Quebec, a Spanish woman lives a short and intense relationship. Intimacy in wide open space.

The most interesting Jury is the Filmmakers Jury with the following members.
Emanuele Crialese, Italy
Lucrecia Martel, Argentina
Wang Xiaoshuai, China
Michel Hazanavicius, France

To read info and watch trailers for each film plus learning members in the other two Juries go to the official site.

By the time the festival starts I will be traveling but will try to find time to watch the few films that really call my attention. Maybe next year besides promoting films that have no distribution beyond France, maybe festival could include one or two more recent films that could make the competition more interesting.

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