The 19th edition of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival sweeps across New York City screens at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, the IFC Center and BAMcinématek from March 6 to the 16th. Organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Unifrance Films, this festival is the one time of year where the newest and best in contemporary French film is on display. For those not based in New York, some of the top films are being screened around theaters in the US thanks to Emerging Pictures.
The 2014 slate — which consists of 24 feature films making their New York, United States or North American premieres — attests to the sheer variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking.
The lineup includes new works from established masters like Bertrand Tavernier, Agnès Jaoui, Francois Ozon, and Jacques Doillon; critics’ favorites Serge Bozon, Michel Gondry, and the Larrieu brothers; and polymath talents, actor-turned-directors Emmanuelle Bercot, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and Nicole Garcia, who have fully come into their own as filmmakers.
Alongside these known names are the key figures that have been anointed by critics as France’s next New Wave: a whole raft of emerging talents, including Ruben Alves, Sébastien Betbeder, Guillaume Brac, Thierry de Peretti, Katell Quillévéré, Axelle Ropert, Justine Triet, and Rebecca Zlotowski, who explore contemporary issues from complex race relations to class warfare. Thierry de Perretti’s Les Apaches made a splash at Cannes last year with its depiction of blunt adolescent sexuality among young delinquents in Corsica, prompting comparisons with Larry Clark. Also acclaimed at Cannes, Rebecca Zlotowski’s Grand Central explores a forbidden romance between young lovers (played by Tahar Rahim and Léa Seydoux), against the ominous backdrop of a nuclear power plant.
As always, Rendez-Vous brings together many of French cinema’s most beloved actors. Catherine Deneuve delivers one of the finest and most moving performances of her legendary career in Bercot’s On My Way (Opening Night). The peerless Isabelle Huppert reinvents herself yet again — and to great comic effect — in Bozon’s Tip Top. Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos, so memorably paired in Arnaud Desplechin’s films, including Kings and Queen, are exquisite together in Sophie Fillière’s If You Don’t, I Will.
Other marquee notables include Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Louis Garrel, Omar Sy and Charlotte Gainsbourg. But in keeping with its youthful spirit, this edition of Rendez-Vous also doubles as a showcase for an exciting new generation of breakout actors. Rising stars appearing in multiple movies include Sara Forestier, Louise Bourgoin, François Damiens, and Vincent Macaigne, the It actor of the new French cinema.
Filmmakers and talent who will be in attendance at this year’s festival include Sébastien Betbeder (2 Autumns, 3 winters), Serge Bozon (Tip Top), Guillaume Brac (Tonnerre), Catherine Deneuve (On My Way), Jacques Doillon (Love Battles), Michel Gondry (Mood Indigo), François Ozon (Young and Beautiful), Thierry de Peretti (Les Apaches), Katell Quillévéré (Suzanne), Axelle Ropert (Miss and the Doctors), Jean-Paul Salomé (Playing Dead), Bertrand Tavernier (The French Minister), Justine Triet (The Age of Panic), Nabil Ben Yadir (The Marchers) and Rebecca Zlotowski (Grand Central).
For the full film schedule visit www.rendezvouswithfrenchcinema.com.