French NeWave 2.0 Series
On Saturday April 25, from 11:00 am to midnight, save your day for an exclusive program of five features putting the new French New Wave under the spotlights (Truffaut Theater), presented in association with IndieWire:
Los Angeles Premiere
In this psychologically fruitful directorial debut, Jérôme, a man fast approaching the wrong end of middle age, hopes to achieve financial independence after being fired from his mundane retail gig. Under intense pressure to succeed, he embarks on an ambitious plan to open up a strip mall shoe store of his own. But as his methods slide from ethically questionable to outright illegal, and his family life begins to rupture, Jérôme - played with all the sweaty cageyness of a cornered animal by Gourmet (The Son) - begins to see his 11 year-old son and budding tennis superstar, Ugo, as his last best hope for a taste of the good life. If only Jérôme himself can get out of his son’s way. Co-written and directed by Stéphane Demoustier.
West Coast Premiere
(Followed by a discussion with writer-director Pascal Tessaud)
This gritty boy-meets-girl set in the unvarnished housing projects of Saint Denis centers on Coralie, AKA Brooklyn, a talented young rapper who leaves Switzerland to find success in the hip-hop subculture of Paris. She is taken under wing by the stern but avuncular social worker Yazid, who invites her to his poetry-slam events. When Coralie proves she can bust a rhyme with the best of them, she gains the attentions, partly amorous and partly adversarial, of Issa, who up to now has been the unchallenged star of the scene. But as Coralie transforms herself into her rap persona Brooklyn, she begins to question the success she thought she wanted. Written and directed by Pascal Tessaud.
(Followed by a discussion with writer/director Élodie Namer)
In this coming-of-age drama set in the world of chess, Cal Fournier is competing in the Grand International Chess Open in Budapest. At twenty-two, Cal is an old hand at this, he and his coach Viktor have their methods down to a routine. To compete at this level requires fanatical single-mindedness. Not a problem for Cal, who has always lived in his head. In fact Cal hardly ever leaves the hotels in which the tournaments are staged, and he has the social skills one might expect from such a cloistered life. Even his clothes are tourist merch from airport boutiques. By day Cal competes, sometimes playing ten opponents at once, by night he and his girlfriend Lou (Jappeloup’s Lou de Laâge, COLCOA 2013) join his entourage for gambling in the hotel’s casino. Though it’s a brutal tournament, Cal is expected to win as usual. But his system is about to be put in check by an unorthodox 11 year-old Hungarian boy named Max. To defeat this impudent little prodigy, Cal will be forced to re-evaluate more than his game strategy. Written and directed by Élodie Namer.
Los Angeles Premiere
Arnaud, a carefree but sheltered young man, is starting another routine summer in his provincial southern hometown working in the family carpentry business and putting off big decisions about his future. At a self-defense demonstration, Arnaud confidently mixes it up with Madeleine, a straight-faced tomboy with a fanatical survivalist bent, and to his surprise, he’s knocked off his feet - in more ways than one. Maddy seems to inhabit a different world from Arnaud. But though her abrasive nihilism, her militant prepper-paranoia, and the fact that she can kick his ass in a fair fight might be a little off-putting, she’s still the best thing that’s ever happened to Arnaud, and if he has to go through a little basic training to earn her affections, so be it. From this moment forward, the only point to survival is being together. Co-written and directed by Thomas Cailley.
Los Angeles Premiere • After 10 Series
In this sobering, darkly comedic exposé of the French public medical system, Jacky In The Kingdom Of Women (COLCOA 2014) star Vincent Lacoste plays Benjamin, a cocksure medical intern learning to cope with grueling 48-hour shifts, mollifying terminal and elderly patients, and crippling budget cuts and supply shortages, all the while carousing like a frat-house party hound. It’s soon apparent that upholding his Hippocratic oath is going to be a tough ask, and when he loses a patient through negligence, the hospital staff closes ranks to avoid liability. Abdel, an experienced Algerian physician obliged to complete an internship because of his immigrant status, is the only one whose conscience is bothered by all of this, and his concern for the patients sets him on a collision course with hospital authorities. Reda Kateb’s performance as Abdel was rewarded with a 2015 Best Supporting Actor César. He is known for his terrific turns in Zero Dark Thirty and The Prophet, and can be seen in Ryan Gosling’s upcoming directorial debut Lost River. Co-written and directed by Thomas Lilti.