The Second Annual Chicago French Film Festival

Friday 27 – Sunday 29 July 2012

Now in its second year, The Music Box hosts three days of the very best in contemporary French cinema. Featuring special guests and film presentations!

The festival begins on Friday, July 27 with an Opening Night Presentation of A Better Life (Une Vie Meilleure), directed by award-winning director Cédric Kahn. Three people, Yann (Guillaume Canet), a cook; Nadia (Leila Bekhti), a waitress; and Nadia’s nine-year-old son risk everything to open a restaurant. Bearing up bravely against the onslaught of relentless creditors and an uncaring system, they are forced to make difficult decisions while trying to maintain their hope for A Better Life. Starring Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti and young actor Slimane Khettabi.

The festival concludes on Sunday, July 29 with a screening of 38 Witnesses (38 Temoins), directed by Lucas Belvaux and loosely based on the 1964 New York City assault and murder of Kitty Genovese. This film tells the disturbing story of 38 neighbors who witness a horrific crime and remain silent… except for one man who tells the truth with shocking consequences. Starring Sophie Quinton and Yvan Attal, 38 Witnesses deftly addresses some often unspoken truths about society and individual responsibility.

Other highlights include the Saturday, July 28 screening of the Festival Centerpiece Feature Beloved (Les Bien-Aimés), a delightfully romantic musical directed by Christophe Honoré that tells the story of the various loves and losses of a mother and daughter over a period of three decades. Beloved stars the always stunning and incomparable Catherine Deneuve and her real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni. With music by Alex Beaupain, this charming and utterly original film will touch the heart of anyone who has ever experienced the vagaries of love.

The Chicago French Film Festival is supported by the Cultural Service of the Consulate General of France in Chicago, Unifrance and the Music Box Theatre.


Friday, July 27th, 2012

  • 7:30pm: A Better Life (Une Vie Meilleure)

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

  • 8:00pm: Beloved (Les Bien-Aimes)


Tickets are $10 and available online or at the theatre box office. Save money with the All Festival Pass for $40 (a savings of $50).


  • Fri 27 Jul 2012, 7:30pm

A Better Life (Une Vie Meilleure) (2011)

directed by Cedric Kahn starring Guillaume Canet, Leila Bekhti in French with English subtitles

Opening Night Presentation

Yann (Guillaume Canet), a cook, and Nadia (Leila Bekhti), a waitress and mother of 9-year-old boy, decide to risk everything on the purchase of a restaurant. With plenty of talent, energy, love and dreams, but no finances of their own, they find themselves pushed into a jungle of financing and loans that quickly overwhelms them. To bail them out, Nadia takes a job in Canada, while Yann stays behind to save the restaurant. Together, he and the boy (Slimane Khettabi) confront relentless creditors, an uncaring system; a daily grind from which there is no respite until Yann finally understands that his only chance of salvation lies in joining Nadia in Canada and finding a better life.

  • Sat 28 Jul 2012, 8:00pm

Beloved (Les Bien-Aimes) (2011)

directed by Christophe Honore starring Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni in French with English subtitles

Festival Centerpiece Feature

Starring Catherine Deneuve and (her real-life daughter) Chiara Mastroianni, this sly and exquisitely romantic musical drama from Christophe Honoré (Love Songs, Dans Paris) spans over three decades as it follows a mother and daughter’s misadventures in love.

From the ‘60s era story of Madeleine (Ludivine Sagnier) and her Czech husband to the romance of Madeleine’s daughter, Vera, thirty years later and the rekindling of an affair between a re-married Madeleine (Deneuve) and her former lover Jaromil (Milos Forman). Beloved is a light-hearted but ultimately moving exploration of the changing nature of relationships.

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