[Tiff Review] Parisienne

Many deflect from it, but a writer/director’s intent can change the viewer’s outlook on his/her film. Danielle Arbid‘s fictional coming-of-age drama about a college-aged immigrant from Lebanon to France (Manal Issa‘s Lina) is one containing many new acquaintances able to help her find the freedom she covets but never found back home. It can prove convenient because of this since she never truly hits rock bottom like many in her situation do. Instead there’s always a guardian angel watching out for her—sometimes manipulated and sometimes a compassionate soul. While trying to reconcile her luck with the unfortunate and horrific acts befalling her can be overwhelming, hearing Arbid state her goal as providing a “‘Thank you’ to the people who shaped [her own] life” goes a long way towards accepting its almost stifling optimism.

Parisienne isn’t therefore a strict autobiography as much as a
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Parisienne (Peur de rien) | 2015 Tiff Review

A Girl in the World: Arbid’s Coming of Age Portrait Enhanced by Generous Lead

French director Danielle Arbid returns with Parisienne, her first feature since 2007’s critically dismissed A Lost Man. Returning to the Lebanese roots that informed her 2004 debut In the Battlefields, it’s a semi-autobiographical period piece exploring the a familiar trajectory of a woman discovering her identity while lost in a hostile, foreign environment. Besides featuring an impressive array of young, notable French actors in the supporting cast, Arbid discovers an arresting new presence with her lead Manal Issa, an actress making her screen debut. Warmly portrayed without depending on extreme emotional fluctuations to hold attention, it’s an overly familiar if engaging character study of a young woman forced to deal with unfair cruelties from patriarchal and political realms. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the woman in question is as strikingly beautiful as Issa,
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Snubbed French Oscar hopeful 'Saint Laurent' leads Lumière Awards nominations

  • Hitfix
Snubbed French Oscar hopeful 'Saint Laurent' leads Lumière Awards nominations
The nominations for France's Lumière Awards were announced this morning, and leading the way was the film's Oscar foreign film entry "Saint Laurent" (which sadly didn't make it past the initial culling with the Academy). The film picked up four nominations and will compete for best film with Cannes hit "Girlhood," "La Famille Bélier," "Pas son genre," fellow Oscar foreign hopeful "Timbuktu" and "Three Hearts." Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be announced on Feb. 3. And oh yeah: The Circuit. Best Film "Girlhood" "La Famille Bélier" "Pas son genre" "Saint Laurent" "Timbuktu" "Three Hearts" Best Director Lucas Belvaux, "Pas son genre" Bertrand Bonello, "Saint Laurent" Benoît Jacquot, "Three Hearts" Cédric Kahn, "Wild Life" Céline Sciamma,"Girlhood" Abderrahmane Sissako, "Timbuktu" Best Actor Guillaume Canet, "La prochaine fois je viserai le cœur," "In The Name of My Daughter" Romain Duris, "The New Girlfriend" Mathieu Kassovitz, "Wild Life" Pierre Niney,
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Lumière Awards nominations unveiled

Lumière Awards nominations unveiled
Two Days, One Night, Mommy and Fevers nominated in French-language foreign film category.Scroll down for full list of nominations

The Lumière Awards, France’s version of the Golden Globes, has announced the nominations for its 20th anniversary edition. There is no clear front-runner this year.

Bertrand Bonello’s Yves Saint Laurent biopic Saint Laurent, Benoît Jacquot’s 3 Hearts, starring Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroianni as sisters who unwittingly fall for the same man, and Eric Lartigau’s Christmas hit La Famille Bélier, about an aspiring singer growing up in deaf family, lead the field with four nominations each including best film.

Céline Sciamma’s gritty urban drama Girlhood (Bande de Fille) and Lucas Belvaux’s chalk-and-cheese romance Not My Type(Pas Mon Genre) and, which were also nominated in the best film category, followed behind with three nominations.

Franco-Mauritanian Abderrahmane Sissako Timbuktu about the impact of Islamic fundamentalism on a rural community in Mali, is the sixth
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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: #67. Valerie Donzelli’s Marguerite et Julien

Marguerite et Julien

Director: Valerie Donzelli // Writers: Valerie Donzelli, Jeremie Elkaim

Director and actress Valerie Donzelli has fostered a considerable career as a director over the past several years, starting the her utterly charming 2009 debut The Queen of Hearts. Often working with her partner, actor Jeremie Elkaim, their most notable collaboration was 2011’s Declaration of War, a highly autobiographical film that played in Critics’ Week and was France’s candidate for Best Foreign Language film in 2012. Donzelli’s third film, Hand in Hand took home Best Actor at the Rome Film Festival in 2012 but never received Us distribution. 2015 will be a big year for her, however, starring in two films (one of which is the new Joachim Lafosse title), and directing Marguerite et Julien, based on a 1971 script that Francois Truffaut almost made. Starring Elkaim and a scintillating cast headlined by quickly rising star Anais Demoustier, plus legend Geraldine Chaplin,
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The Dreamers: Valérie Donzelli Completes Casting for “Marguerite et Julien” (aka Abandoned Truffaut Project)

Valérie Donzelli, the actress-turned director who we most recently caught as a supporting player in the garishly dressed Saint Laurent, Bertrand Bonello’s stylized biopic might have found a taste for risky content as cameras are set to lense next week on her fourth feature film. The Cineuropa folks report that Donzelli has completed the casting on Marguerite et Julien, a project that François Truffaut flirted with but ultimately passed on. Completing the cast we find Aurélia Petit (The Science of Sleep), vet thesps Sami Frey and Geraldine Chaplin, reuniting with her fellow Declaration of War‘s Frédéric Pierrot and Bastien Bouillon who join the previously announced duo of Anaïs Demoustier (you can find her in Ozon’s latest, the recently acquired Cohen Media’s The New Girlfriend) and Jérémie Elkaïm (full-time collaborator with Donzelli who we also discovered in Declaration of War). Rectangle ProductionsEdouard Weil (Benoît Jacquot’s
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High Society | 2014 Tiff Review

Is There More to this Coming-of-Age Parable Than Meets the Eye?

One of the key specificities about the production of Julie Lopes Curval’s latest exploration of female social development, High Society, is the fact that she utilized a team comprised almost entirely of women to influence the creative and technical contingents. It’s a decision that has pointed intentions in itself, suggesting a conscious decision to evade male influence and authority within the context of a story that’s ostensibly and subtle female coming-of-age parable. It also clarifies any ambiguity surrounding interpretation of a text that, while effective, doesn’t quite spell out its position on gender relations.

The plot, in itself, isn’t particularly revolutionary or original in any way. It’s like a humbler, less literal, version of Stephen Gaghan’s forgettable thriller, Abandon, in its positioning of a young, determined female protagonist—Alice (Ana Girardot)—in
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