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French Cinema Now in San october

Fourth Annual Week-long Festival Celebrates the Best in Contemporary French Language Cinema with Filmmaker Guests and New Works by the Dardenne Brothers, Aki Kaurismäki and Mia Hansen-Løve

The San Francisco Film Society, in association with the French American Cultural Society, the French Consulate of San Francisco and Unifrance, presents French Cinema Now, Thursday, October 27 - Wednesday, November 2, at Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Film Society's new theatrical home, San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema (1746 Post Street). The weeklong annual festival brings the most significant new work from international francophone cinema to discerning Bay Area audiences. Covering a broad spectrum of subject matter and genres, it builds a comprehensive picture of the current moment in French language cinema.
"French-language film continues to be a strong and vibrant force in world cinema and we're thrilled to be able to present a rich selection to a city that we know appreciates francophone film," said Rachel Rosen, Film Society director of programming. "This year's program is wonderfully diverse, incorporating first films from exciting new directorial talent, stellar contributions from mid-career filmmakers, new efforts by established masters and even the first French-language film by beloved Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki."

This year's French Cinema Now offers a broad swath of francophone work including the latest films by established masters the Dardenne brothers and Aki Kaurismäki as well as featuring directors championed by the Film Society such as Mia Hansen-Løve and Pierre Schoeller. In The Long Falling, Yolande Moreau reunites with Séraphine director Martin Provost for another nuanced story of female liberation while Emmanuelle Devos brings her remarkable talents to both the romantic comedy Bachelor Days Are Over and the touching drama The Moon Child. From intense stories of conflicted government officials to the ups and downs of romantic relationships, this year's 11 selections offer something for everyone.

For complete program information, visit

All programs at San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema, except as noted.

Thursday, October 27 Opening Night
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema
6:15 pm Bachelor Days Are Over
North American Premiere
Katia Lewcowicz Director Expected
Three days before his nuptials, 35-year-old Arnaud gets a serious case of pre-wedding jitters. His fiancée has gone missing, his in-laws are crazy and he develops a mad crush on another woman during a wild night of partying. As the big day nears, he ping-pongs between errands, relatives and his new love, all the while wondering whether he really wants to depart the single life. Appealingly played by Benjamin Biolay, Arnaud is less a cad and more a hapless romantic, and the film is more gentle farce than broad comedy. With amusing supporting turns by Emmanuelle Devos as Arnaud's high-strung sister and Valérie Donzelli as his flighty intended bride, Bachelor Days Are Over is a very memorable trip toward the altar. Pourquoi tu pleures?, France 2011, 99 min. Written by Katia Lewcowicz. Photographed by Laurent Brunet. With Benjamin Biolay, Emmanuelle Devos, Nicole Garcia, Valérie Donzelli.
9:00 pm Opening Night Party A chic postscreening soiree with Gallic-inspired hors d'oeuvres and drinks.
9:00 pm Goodbye First Love
Mia Hansen-Løve
Camille and Sullivan are young and in love. She greets him with "my Romeo" when he comes to her window, but this is no Shakespearean tragedy. Instead, in Mia Hansen-Løve's clear-eyed and knowing portrait of young love, sudden, mutually consuming folly is replaced by something more complex if no less passionate. Though he professes his devotion, Sullivan also longs to travel and chafes at the intensity of Camille's affection and need. When he takes off with his friends for a ten month backpacking trip to South America, his parting seems like the end of the world to Camille, but it's just the beginning of more complicated and tenacious emotions that will stretch through the years. Hansen-Løve's delicate touch and her obvious affection for her characters make this a memorable rendering of one of cinema's most cherished subjects. Un amour de jeunesse, France 2011, 110 min. Written by Mia Hansen-Løve. Photographed by Stéphane Fontaine. With Lola Créton, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Magne-Håvard Brekke, Valérie Bonneton, Serge Renko, Özay Fecht. In French, Danish and German with subtitles. Distributed by IFC Sundance Selects.

Friday, October 28
1:30 pm Beautiful Lies
Pierre Salvadori
Audrey Tautou once again shows her flair for light comedy playing Emilie, the bossy owner of a hair salon in a seaside town in the south of France. When she receives an anonymous love letter from an admirer, she has the brilliant idea of redirecting it to try to cheer up her mopey mother Maddy, played by Nathalie Baye. This sets off a chaotic string of mistaken identities, misunderstandings and very awkward moments. Salvadori's energetic homage to the romantic comedies of Hollywood's Golden Age brings out the best in his stellar cast, managing to make them hugely likable despite their questionable behavior. Blending slapstick humor with darker undercurrents, Beautiful Lies makes clever fun of literary pretensions, the hairdressing world and the eternal embarrassments of love and desire. De vrais mensonges, France 2010, 105 min. Written by Benoît Graffin, Pierre Salvadori. Photographed by Gilles Henry. With Audrey Tautou, Nathalie Baye, Sami Bouajila.
4:00 pm The Moon Child
North American Premiere
Delphine Gleize
Delphine Gleize's delicate drama depicts the moving relationship between a teenager and his doctor. Romain is an everyday teenager -- girl-crazy, soccer-loving, with a mop of unruly hair. But he also has a rare and severe susceptibility to UV rays, so he is unable to expose his skin to sunlight. David, an expert in the disorder, has been treating him since infancy and they have great rapport together, but has just received a long-overdue position in another city. When Romain finds out about David's departure, their unique bond ruptures. Foregrounding the friendship over the disease, The Moon Child is knowing and touching, featuring powerful performances by newcomer Quentin Challal and veteran Vincent Lindon. La permission de minuit, France 2010, 107 min. Written by Delphine Gleize. Photographed by Crystel Fournier. With Vincent Lindon, Quentin Challal, Emmanuelle Devos.
7:00 pm The Kid with a Bike
Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
This year's Grand Prize winner from Cannes tells the story of a troubled boy who is desperate for parental support from his neglectful father. Living in a boys' home, Cyril expends most of his energy on trying to see his dad until a kindly hairdresser agrees to take him in on weekends and attempts to steer his energies in other directions. Despite her efforts, the willful Cyril falls in with a group of local toughs and begins making some very poor decisions in the hopes of winning his father's attention. Mining the naturalist vein that they are masters of and eliciting phenomenal work from Cécile de France, Jérémie Renier and newcomer Thomas Doret, the Dardennes have created another indelible portrait of everyday life. Le gamin au vélo, Belgium/France/Italy 2011, 87 min. Written by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne. Photographed by Alain Marcoen. With Cécile de France, Thomas Doret, Jérémie Renier, Olivier Gourmet. In French with subtitles. Distributed by IFC.
9:00 pm The Long Falling
Martin Provost
On a rural farm in Belgium, Rose Mayer lives with her brutish husband. After he injures a girl while driving drunk, she plans a karmic retribution for this man who stunted her life. Then, in a pointed narrative shift, browbeaten Rose goes to live with her gay son who has escaped his fraught family homestead for the urbanity of Brussels. As she reawakens in her new environment, she tries to reestablish relations with her son while evading a persistent detective's questions about what happened to her husband. Following up their award-winning collaboration on Séraphine, director Martin Provost and the remarkable Yolande Moreau create another fascinating depiction of female existence, aided by the shifting subtleties of Agnès Godard's cinematographic palette. Où va la nuit, France/Belgium 2011, 105 min. Written by Martin Provost, Marc Abdelnour. Photographed by Agnès Godard. With Yolande Moreau, Pierre Moure, Edith Scob. In French with subtitles.

Saturday, October 29
1:00 pm The Moon Child see 10/28
4:00 pm Goodbye First Love see 10/27
6:30 pm The Minister
North American Premiere
Pierre Schoeller
A contemporary drama set in the world of European Union politics, this is the suspenseful story of Transport Minister Bertrand Saint Jean, who falls prey to the machinations of higher-ups in the wake of a terrible bus accident. In a series of interviews occurring after the incident, a colleague suggests rail privatization while Bertrand denies the possibility to outraged unions and workers. Whether he can hold to his promises, wedded as he is to the political life, is another question. As is the matter of how far his peers will go to have him bend to their will. With Olivier Gourmet in the lead and the formidable Michel Blanc offering stellar support, this is political drama at its best. L'exercice de l'état, France 2011, 115 min. Written by Pierre Schoeller. Photographed by Julien Hirsch. With Olivier Gourmet, Michel Blanc, Zabou Breitman, Laurent Stocker, Sylvain Deble.
9:30 pm Four Lovers
Antony Cordier
Two successful married couples looking for something new decide to share partners on an ongoing basis in this erotic drama. Jewelry maker Rachel meets young web designer Vincent in her office one day and spontaneously invites him and his wife Teri over for dinner. The sexual component between the couples arises from a tentative kiss that evening, and they establish only one rule -- they must all be free at the same time for their extramarital dalliances. Though it initially invigorates all parties, inevitably tensions arise. With four of France's top actors, including Roschdy Zem and Élodie Bouchez, Four Lovers is a provocative examination of sex and love. Aimez qui vous voulez, France 2010, 103 min. Written by Antony Cordier, Julie Peyr. Photographed by Nicolas Gaurin. With Marina Foïs, Élodie Bouchez, Roschdy Zem, Nicolas Duvauchelle. Distributed by Oscilloscope.

Sunday, October 30
1:30 pm The Long Falling see 10/28
4:30 pm The Kid with a Bike see 10/28
6:30 pm Beautiful Lies see 10/28
9:00 pm Bachelor Days Are Over see 10/27

Monday, October 31
7:00 pm The Screen Illusion
Mathieu Amalric
Who but Mathieu Amalric could take a canonic 17th century play by Pierre Corneille -- with alexandrine couplets intact -- and conjure it into something completely fresh and modern? Working with members of the venerable Comédie Française, all of whom were familiar with their roles from the stage, Amalric updates the action of Corneille's L'illusion comique to modern-day Paris. A father, looking for his son, Clindor, who left home years ago, employs the assistance of a wizard, Alcandre -- in this case a hotel concierge who can see all (past, present and future) in his hotel's bank of security cameras. The Hotel du Louvre and its bars, suites and parking garage provide the contemporary backdrop for Clindor's tragicomic comings and goings and his dealings with his warrior boss (a computer gaming executive) and his pursuit of the lovely Isabelle (in punkish leather) who has been promised to another man. L'illusion comique, France 2010, 77 min. Written by Mathieu Amalric. Photographed by Isabelle Ravazet. With Muriel Mayette, Jean-Baptiste Malartre, Alain Lenglet, Loïc Corbery, Denis Podalydes.
9:00 pm The Minister see 10/29

Tuesday, November 1
7:00 pm Angèle and Tony
Alix Delaporte
Angèle is a looker, though impulsive and forthright to a fault. Recently let out on probation, she needs a job, a place to live and a steady beau to help her prove she deserves custody of her son. She meets the balding Tony, a fisherman who lives with his mom, through a personal ad. But he is no quick patsy for her charms; he gives her a job and lets her stay at his place but rebuffs her advances. With a finely tuned sense of milieu and beautifully modulated performances, Angèle and Tony is a perfectly realized and moving romantic drama. Angèle et Tony, France 2010, 87 min. Written by Alix Delaporte. Photographed by Claire Mathon. With Clotilde Hesme, Grégory Gadebois, Evelyne Didi, Patrick Descamps.
9:00 pm Four Lovers see 10/29

Wednesday, November 2
5:00 pm The Screen Illusion see 10/31
7:00 pm Le Havre
Aki Kaurismäki
Set in the retro environment unique to the Kaurismäki oeuvre, this is the marvelous story of a shoeshine guy who rescues an African stowaway from deportation. Marcel, the bootblack in question, comes upon the boy Idrissa while having lunch at the docks one day. Since his neglected wife has been recently admitted to the hospital, he recruits neighboring shopkeepers to help feed the kid and shelter him from nosy cops. Full of sly humor and touching moments, Le Havre offers numerous pleasures, among them the delight of seeing Kaurismäki regulars like Kati Outinen and André Wilms mingling with the hangdog Jean-Pierre Darroussin as a weary detective and Italian singer Roberto Piazza as a performer named Little Bob. Finland/France 2011, 93 min. Written by Aki Kaurismäki. Photographed by Timo Salminen. With André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Blondin Miguel. In French with subtitles. Distributed by Janus Films.
9:00 pm Angèle and Tony see 11/1

Since 2005, SFFS Youth Education, in partnership with the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, has presented the French Films & Schools program as part of French Cinema Now. This annual program exposes high-school level students of French to the language and culture of France. Past offerings have included Brodeuses by Éléonore Faucher, Cyrano de Bergerac by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, L'Enfant by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and The Class by Laurent Cantet. This year's program, offered free to all participating students and their teachers, will feature three films: The Kid with a Bike by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Moon Child by Delphine Gleize and Le Havre by Aki Kaurismäki. Seats for the French Films & Schools program are available exclusively to Bay Area educators and students and may be reserved only through the Schools at the Festival office by contacting Keith Zwölfer at 415-561-5040 or

Film tickets $11 SFFS members, $13 general, $12 seniors, students and persons with disabilities; Opening Night film and party $15 SFFS members, $20 general; Film Society CineVoucher 10-Packs $105 SFFS members, $125 general. Box office now open online at and in person at San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema.

For screeners and interviews contact
For photos and press materials visit

French Cinema Now is sponsored by the French American Cultural Society, Bank of the West, TV5 Monde, the Consulate General of France, San Francisco, Fischer Beer, Unifrance USA, hotel sponsor The Fairmont San Francisco and media sponsors France-Amérique, France Today and San Francisco Bay Guardian. Special support is provided by William R. Hearst III.

At San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema, the supremely stylish state-of-the art theater located in the ultra-contemporary New People building at 1746 Post Street (Webster/Buchanan) in Japantown, the San Francisco Film Society offers its acclaimed exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs and events on a daily year-round basis. For complete up-to-date information on all SFFS | NPC programming, including buying tickets, visit

Upcoming San Francisco Film Society programs
September 27: Film Arts Forum: The Sound of Cinema A panel discussion and networking event offering insight and expertise on sound design in film.

September 28 - 29: Shaolin With a superstar cast including Andy Lau, Jackie Chan and Nicholas Tse, and the participation of a group of real Shaolin monks, this is an action-packed story of a ruthless warlord's rehabilitation through Buddhist practice.

Opens September 30: Passione John Turturro's tuneful exploration of the musical roots and traditions of Naples, Italy, as well as its influence on the rest of the world.

October 1: Film in the Fog Free, family-friendly screening will feature Delmer Daves's gritty film noir thriller Dark Passage (USA 1947), a musical performance, a classic animated short and free freshly-popped popcorn.

October 9: An Evening with Susan Orlean and Rin Tin Tin Orlean celebrates the publication of her new book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend with an illustrated introduction to Rin Tin Tin's career and a screening of his greatest silent film, Clash of the Wolves.

October 14 - 16: Taiwan Film Days A showcase of the best contemporary Taiwanese cinema.

October 17 - 21: The Sleeping Beauty Catherine Breillat takes on another fairy tale classic, brining her unique exploration of female sexuality to the story of a young princess who is the subject of a tug-of-war among witches.

October 21 - 23: NY/SF International Children's Film Festival A celebration of diverse, enlightening, inspiring and entertaining films for kids ages 3-18 and their families.

October 24: Orbit(film) and An Injury to One A program of short films dedicated to the awe and absurdity of the solar system.

November 3 - 6: Cinema by the Bay New work produced in or about the San Francisco Bay Area provides a compelling window into Bay Area film culture and practice at its best.

San Francisco Film Society
Building on a legacy of more than 50 years of bringing the best in world cinema to the Bay Area, the San Francisco Film Society is a national leader in exhibition, education and filmmaker services.

The Film Society presents 365 days of exhibition each year, reaching a total audience of 130,000 people. Its acclaimed education program introduces international, independent and documentary cinema and media literacy to more than 15,000 teachers and students and presents 120 classes and workshops annually. Through the filmmaker services program essential creative and business services, and funding totaling millions of dollars, are provided to deserving filmmakers of all levels.

The Film Society seeks to elevate all aspects of film culture, offering a wide range of activities that engage emotions, inspire action, change perceptions and advance knowledge. A 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, it is largely donor and member supported. Patronage and membership provides discounted prices, access to grants and residencies, private events and a wealth of other benefits.

For more information visit


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