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Cinefranco 2011

24 Mar 2011

14th Cinefranco 2011

March 23rd, 2011 by Gilbert Seah


14th Cinefranco a Toronto

Cinéfranco, English Canada’s largest celebration of international francophone cinema is celebrating its fourteenth year in Toronto from Friday, March 25 – Sunday, April 3, 2011 at Toronto’s new centre for film lovers

- the TIFF Bell Lightbox as well as the NFB Mediatheque.  Cinéfranco 2011 is an oasis for lovers of francophone cinema with 7 North American Premieres, 3 Canadian Premieres, and 10 English Canadian Premieres and a showcase of 27 features, 7 documentaries and 10 shorts.

Marcelle Lean, Founder/Artistic & Executive Director of Cinéfranco says of this year’s festival, “Family is the thread that runs through much of this year’s Cinéfranco program.  From ‘policiers’ to comedies and thrillers, to adventures, documentaries and dramas - films from Algeria, Belgium, Canada (Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick), France, Morocco and Switzerland by master filmmakers with stars like Gérard Depardieu, Natalie Baye, Patrick Bruel, Isabelle Huppert, Canada’s Saul Rubinek, and Sabine Azema explore the ties of blood, as well as families created by need or circumstance.”

Cinéfranco’s 2011’s Opening Night film (English Canada Premiere) is a psychological drama in the tradition of Hitchcock.  Impasse du désir directed by Michel Rodde and starring Quebec superstar Rémy Girard, is a Swiss film with an international cast including Natacha Regnier, the Belgian actress in the role of Carole Block, who cheats on her older husband (Rémy Girard).  Robert (Girard), a psychiatrist is obsessed with the situation, preventing him from concentrating on his patients until he meets Leo Debod, a depressive and psychotic bachelor who Robert realizes will provide him with the perfect means of relieving his suffering……………

Director Michel Rodde will present his film Impasse du désir at Cinéfranco.
Quebec actor Rémy Girard will be in attendance at Cinéfranco with two films:
The Swiss thriller, Impasse du désir and Quebecois comedy Y’en aura pas de facile (Tough Luck).

This year’s Closing Night film, Comme les 5 doigts de la main (5 Brothers) is an English Canadian Premiere by French director Alexandre Arcady.  Well known for his sagas of North African (Pieds Noirs) Jewish families, Arcady combines the drama of a complex family and the discovery of a secret that will tear the brothers apart.  A captivating thriller, 5 Brothers features a cast of renowned French actors including Patrick Bruel, Pascal Elbé (also seen in Tête de Turc/Turk’s Head), Eric Caravaca (also seen at Cinéfranco in La Petite chambre/The Little Room), Vincent Elbaz (also seen at Cinéfranco in Tellement proches/Happy Together), Françoise Fabian, and Michel Aumont (also seen at Cinéfranco in Les Invités de mon père/My Father’s Guests).

Guests at Cinefranco 2011:

Rémy Girard (Impasse du désir/ Y en aura pas de facile)
Michel Rodde, filmmaker (Impasse du désir)
Marc André Lavoie et Esther Long (Y’en aura pas de facile)
Guy A. Lepage (L’Appât)
François Delisle (2 fois une femme)
Mirianne Brûlé (2 frogs dans l’Ouest)
Jessica Malka (2 frogs dans l’Ouest)
Driss Chouika (Destins croisés)
Saul Rubinek (Kill Me Please)
Dany Chiasson (Ma Jeanne d’Arc)
Maxime Desmons (D’une rive à l’autre)
Fadel Saleh (Les Conspirationnistes)
Vital Kosongo (L’épopée de Sumbu Kalambay)
Zefred (Morteterre)
Suzy Cohen (Symphonia)
Jocelyn Forgues (Mémoires d’un Magasin general)
Suzanne Chiasson (Donald McGraw et le cercle des chefs)* (TBC)
Guy A. Lepage (L’Appât)
Dominic Desjardins (panelist)
Jean-Marc Larivière (panelist)
Eric Cader (presenter)
Professor Eric Jennings (U of T)

Cinéfranco 2011 Box Office information:
Tickets: $12 Students and seniors (Age 60 +): $10; Up to 18: ($8 proof of ID required); Festival Pass (10 tickets): $99
Walkup: 10am to 10 pm daily –TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West Online*: cinefranco.com
By phone*: 10 am to 7 pm daily 416-599-TIFF (8433) or toll free 1-888-599-8433
*Surcharge on tickets purchased online or by phone
The presence of guests may be subject to last minute changes, which is not Cinéfranco’s responsibility.

For box office, ticketing, schedule and program info please go to:  http://www.cinefranco.com

For information on Cinefranco 2011 films in English & French, please go to website: http://www.cinefranco.com/page/2011-festival
(Please note: on the upper right hand corner icon – indicates ENGLISH or FRENCH version of film information; just hit icon)

All films at Cinéfranco are screened with English subtitles

Capsule Reviews for Selected Films:

ENSEMBLE C’EST TROP (France 2010) **
Directed by Lea Fazer
The French usually come up with great ideas for their comedies.  In Lea Fazer’s ENSEMBLE C’EST TROP, a career oriented husband Sebastien finds that his father (Pierre Arditi) has cheated on his mother getting his much younger mistress pregnant.  The mother, Marie-France (Natahlie Baye) is all distraught and ends up staying with Sebastien’s family that includes three children.  As the title implies this ensemble is too much – much sad to say also for the audience.  For one this idea is not that novel and is stretched way too far.  The film includes the delivery of the mistress’ baby and much more.  The audience would hardly care what happens for the fact that all the characters are tres annoying down to the kids.  Audiences might wish to catch this flick for the performances of veteran French stars Arditi and Baye but the film is essentially good actors playing annoying characters in a not-so-funny comedy!

Directed by Isabelle Mergault
The third film by Isabelle Mergault proves a delight from the fact that she has a keen eye for observations, eliciting humour from every situation.  The plot involves an escaped convict, Constant Billot (Daniel Auteuil who proves he is apt enough in comedy) taking shelter in a barge.  He is blackmailed by Silvia to kill her adopted mother (Sabine Azema).  His good nature causes him to save mother’s life instead of killing her with, yes, a sledgehammer.  But the mother falls for him and he falls for Silvia.  If the story sounds pretty serious, Mergault’s film is actually pure comedy from start to finish.  Billot suffers for a stroke causing him to mispronounce his words – a running joke throughout the movie.  The funniest laugh out loud bits involves Billot having his medical tests.  FAIR IS FAIR though predictable is quite entertaining delight.

IMPASSE DU DESIR (Switzerland 2010) ***1/2
Directed by Michel Rodde

This dark psychological murder drama reminds one immediately of the suspense films French master Claude Chabrol used to turn out in the 60’s and 70’s.  In the true tradition of Chabrol, IMPASSE DU DESIR has a plot that involves suspense, mirder, jealousy and a ménage a trios.  Canadian actor Remy Girard plays a successful practising psychiatrist who transforms into a monster worse than many of his patients when he discovers his wife and the love of his life, the much younger Natacha Regnier has an affair with another man of her age.  He meets apsyhotic unstable patient played by Laurent Lucas who he uses as an instrument to further his compulsive means.  When the wife finally decides to leave him, the doctor loses it with murderous consequences.  All the elements of textbook descent into craziness is here and director Rodde achieves the best performances of his actors especially Girard.  A Chabrol film usually has a fantastic twist or climax at the end but the ending here is a little o a disappointment considering that Rodde has taken his audience for quite the ride!

IN GOLD WE TRUST (600 KILOS D’OR PUR) (France/Italy 2010) ***
Directed by Eric Besnard
A group of adventurers set out to rob a gold mine in the heart of Guyana. But the operation goes awry. 600 kilos of pure gold is a mighty loot when you have to lug it on your back!  Soon the thieves are chased down. Pushed into the hostile jungle, the runaways fend for their lives and their gold.  But one of them is a female, Camille (Audrey Dana) with a heart.  This is less a robbery film that an escape film through the jungle being pursued by the robbed.  They led the tide of the river carry them downstream to the sea where they hope to escape but it turns out they are travelling the wrong way.  The film takes a turn to being a human story with romance coming in and Camille risking her life for a pregnant native.  What stands out in this film is the attention to detail.  The escape through the treacherous jungle is what makes this movie.  But yes, there is a surprise happy ending.

KILL ME PLEASE (France 2009) ***
Directed by Olias Barco
A medical institution operated by Dr. Kruger (Aurelien Recoing) offers, for a fee, rich terminal patients a chance to die with dignity, often holding a chance of champagne of after a sexual orgasm.  KILL ME PLEASE charts a few successful deaths but mostly the troubles the results that occur because in life (or death for that matter), nothing goes according to plan.  Patients demand to die first, the villagers around the institution stage a protest and a government official is sent to investigate the institution.  Director Olias Barco shoots his film in grainy black and white giving the film a documentary as well as a German old impressionist feel – probably inspired by the classic THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI.  KILL ME PLEASE is interesting enough with spikes of black humour but Braco’s keeps drumming too many times Dr. Kruger’s best intentions.  The climax of the film includes an all out shootout, guns and all.  An intriguing and different film with a weird sense of black humour!  Guest Canadian actor Saul Robinek plays a Canadian patient in the movie.

THE LITTLE ROOM (LA PETITE CHAMBRE) (Luxembourg/Switz 2010) ***
Directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond
LA PETITE CHAMBRE is a very fragile and emotional drama about a home care nurse, Rose (Florence Loiret-Caille) coping with the birth of a still born.  The little room of the title is the room reserved for the baby and has been untouched and decorated as a nursery.  One of Rose’s patients is an aging Emond (the excellent veteran French actor Michel Bouquet) whose son wants him put in a nursing home.  Rose helps him escape and he settles in the little room.  The film besides has some incredible sensitive touches as in a scene when Emond plays with two children.  The audience will sympathize with the two leads, Emond surviving old age and Rose with the tragedy.  The tacked on happy ending is a bit of a cop-out.
MAMMUTH (France 2009) ***
Directed by Gustave Kervern and Benoît Delépine
MAMMUTH is a strange movie but often strange is good.  At the ripe age of 60, Serge (Gerard Depardieu) cannot get his pension because he is missing documents from his past jobs. His wife (twice Cesar winner for Best actress Yolande Moreau) tells him to go get his papers. Serge hits the road on his 1970 Mammuth bike. His trip across France is packed with realistic, humorous and sometimes strange encounters.  In this road trip movie, he discovers himself and returns with love to his wife at a point when she is shaving her armpits.  The encounters are just as strange, Serge getting robbed by a bimbo posing as a cripple, getting jerked off with and by his male cousin naked and falling in love with his niece.  The audience learns that Serge has never got over the love he lost (Isabelle Adjani) whose corpse keep appearing and telling him what to do.  Never boring and filled with strange surproses, MAMMUTH is a bike road trip movie with a difference.

Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Thirty something man-child Alain (Vincent Elbaz) cannot handle being a father. His wife Nathalie (Isabelle Carre) is always glued to her family: her brother, a lawyer who brags and owes everybody money; her sister in law who raises her daughter like a horse in a show and her other sister who has completely lost it… The film centres on a family dinner where everyone gets together.  The daughters perform playing horridly their musical instruments while the other kids run about amok.  While not screaming at the kids, the adults are shouting and arguing amidst any other cathastophes that can happen like lights going off or bad dinners or falling off seats.  This is a film about really annoying characters that no one cares about.  Their antics are childish and meaningless and totally irritating.  Nothing is remotely funny either.  What is the purpose of making such a movie is the biggest wonder.  Avoid this film at all costs.  Hearing your roomate’s blaring sound system is more enjoyable!

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