05 October 2013

The San Francisco Film Society's French Cinema Now, 2013

The San Francisco Film Society announced the line-up for their annual French Cinema Now program, which—as its name suggests—features a selection of Gallic films released within the past year. This year's program contains my personal favorite film of 2013 (so far, at least), Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake (L'inconnu du lac). Winner of both the Directing Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes and the Queer Palm, the film is a haunting, erotic mystery of sorts, set entirely on the gay cruising grounds surrounding a secluded lake. Another of the notable films of the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes this year, Claire Denis' Bastards (Les salauds), will close out the four-day affair, on November 10th. Bastards stars Chiara Mastroianni and Lola Créton alongside a number of Denis regulars, including Michel Subor, Vincent Lindon, Grégoire Colin, Alex Descas, and Florence Loiret Caille.

French Cinema Now opens on November 7th at the Clay Theater with Sébastien Betbeder's 2 Autumns, 3 Winters (2 automnes, 3 hivers), which stars Vincent Macaigne, Maud Wyler, and Bastien Bouillon as a trio of individuals whose lives begin to intersect following a pair of catastrophes. Also on the 7th, there's the the third directorial outing for actress Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, A Castle in Italy (Un château en Italie). Like her previous films, this semi-autobiographical yarn, which premiered in competition at Cannes back in May, follows a woman played by Bruni-Tedeschi and her Italo-French family. Her real-life partner, Louis Garrel, co-stars with Filippo Timi, Xavier Beauvois, Céline Sallette, and Omar Sharif (in a cameo as himself).

Two additional Cannes leftovers will also screen: Arnaud des Pallières' period epic Michael Kohlhaas, which played in competition and stars Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen in the title role, and Katell Quillévéré's Suzanne, which played at the Semaine de la critique. Starring Sara Forestier, Adèle Haenel, and François Damiens, Suzanne is Quillévéré's second feature, following Love Like Poison (Un poison violent) in 2010.

Rounding out the selection: Anna Novion's road flick Rendezvous in Kiruna (Rendez-vous à Kiruna), with Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Anastasios Soulis; Axelle Ropert's Miss and the Doctors (Tirez la langue, mademoiselle), starring Louise Bourgoin; Nicolas Philibert's documentary House of Radio (La maison de la radio); and a French-Canadian flick for good measure… Denis Côté's Vic+Flo Saw a Bear (Vic+Flo ont vu un ours), which premiered in competition in February at the Berlinale. The 2013 French Cinema Now showcase runs from 7-10 November at the Clay Theater. See you there.

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