Programmed by Anton Yu
Essay by Anton Yu
This spring, Doc Films presents a Tournées Film Festival, as part of a program held in partnership by the FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy to bring French cinema to American universities.
The main Tournées program features five films showcasing the robustness and diversity of modern French cinema, as well as one classic title. For our festival, we start out with screenings of Abderrahmane Sissako's award-winning Timbuktu and Celine Sciamma's powerful coming-of-age story Girlhood, the latter film presented in a double feature with our classic film: Paul Grimault's animated gem, The King and the Mockingbird.
To round out the series, we have added three more recent films, all directed by new or up-and-coming young filmmakers: Mélanie Laurent's Breathe, Xavier Dolan's Mommy, and Mia Hansen-Løve's Eden. These films, which all focus on young adults and the emotional turmoils of adolescence, highlight the new generation of French (or, in Dolan's case, Canadian) filmmakers and film stars to come. And, for another new French release, check out Deniz Gamze Erguven's Mustang, screening in the Saturday series of new releases!
"Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l'Image Animée, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund. This series was also supported by the France Chicago Center on campus."
(Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014) · For his fourth feature film, Abderrahmane Sissako presents a moving and humane depiction of the 2012 jihadist siege of Timbuktu in Mali. The jihadists make a series of prohibitions--on music, sports, and even socializing--and impose harsh punishments on those who transgress these rules. Just outside Timbuktu, cattle herder Kidane lives with his family, free from the tyranny in the city--but, with one abrupt mistake, that all changes.
runtime: 97 min format: DCP
(Paul Grimault, 1980) · Finished over 30 years after it was initially started, and only released in the U.S. in 2014, The King and the Mockingbird centers on a tyrannical king, who attempts to separate a shepherdess and chimney sweep who are in love, and the talking mockingbird who opposes him in helping the young couple escape. A masterpiece of hand-drawn cell animation, Grimault's animated gem notably influenced Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.
runtime: 83 min format: DCP
(Celine Sciamma, 2014) · In her follow up to Tomboy, Celine Sciamma returns once again to the pains and trials of adolescence. Girlhood follows the resilient but fragile African-French teenager Marieme as she tries to navigate her present and future in the harsh reality of a Paris banlieue with the help of her newfound friends. Through her nuanced and emotional examination of these four French girls, Sciamma portrays today's benefits and consequences of femininity.
runtime: 113 min format: DCP
(Philippe Garrel, 2013) · In Philippe Garrel's Jealousy, French star and Philippe's son Louis Garrel stars as Louis, a struggling actor who abandons his wife and daughter to move in with his lover Claudia, a fellow actress. This action sets off a web of shifting relationships, filled with unexpected yearnings, betrayals, and jealousies, both personal and professional. The film is also a semiautobiographical work for Philippe, who's represented in the film by Louis' young daughter Charlotte.
runtime: 77 min format: DCP
(Olivier Assayas, 2014) · Clouds of Sils Maria stars Juliette Binoche as successful actress Maria Enders, who reluctantly agrees to perform in a new production of the play that launched her career 20 years ago, this time as a vulnerable older character cast opposite a young Hollywood starlet (Chloë Grace Moretz). Retreating to a remote part of the Alps with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) to rehearse, Maria must come to terms with her personal insecurities and jealousies.
runtime: 124 min format: DCP
(Cédric Jimenez, 2014) · A satisfying and stylish 70s-era thriller, The Connection offers the European side to William Friedkin's The French Connection, focusing instead on real-life French magistrate Pierre Michel's attempts to take down the notorious drug smuggling ring known as the French Connection. Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars as the steadfast and determined Michel in a compelling performance, meshing perfectly with the retro visual style of the film.
runtime: 135 min format: 35mm
(Mélanie Laurent, 2014) · Described as "Mean Girls remade as a thriller", Breathe tells the story of two teenage girls, Charlie and her new classmate Sarah, who bond quickly and form an intense friendship that just as quickly goes awry. While highlighting the dark side of teenage infatuations, Laurent deftly captures the emotional conflict and personal turmoils of adolescence, aided by powerful performances from the two lead actresses, Joséphine Japy and Lou de Laáge.
runtime: 91 min format: DCP
(Xavier Dolan, 2014) · Mommy--already the fifth feature film by 26-year-old Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan--follows widowed mother Diane and her troubled teenage son Steve, who returns home after being kicked out of his latest juvenile facility. Their coexistence is tense and punctuated by conflict, permeating the film with raw emotion. Uniquely, Dolan filmed Mommy in a 1:1 aspect ratio, presenting a more intimate portrayal of the subjects while also boxing them further inside their lives.
runtime: 139 min format: DCP
(Mia Hansen-Løve, 2014) · Based on director Mia Hansen-Løve's brother's own experiences, Eden follows French teenager Paul Vallée as he immerses himself in the hedonistic underground culture of the nineties in the pursuit of becoming a DJ. As the decades pass, Paul's success waxes and wanes, and the cost of chasing his dreams takes its toll. Eden is an ode to French house music, dedicated to portraying both the euphoria and the harsh reality of contemporary club culture.
runtime: 131 min format: DCP