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The Chicago French Film Festival Begins This Thursday!
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Bonjour, French Film Lovers,

We’re a few days away from the Chicago French Film Festival is this week, July 31st – August 5th! For the past four years, we’ve been presenting the very best in contemporary French cinema, offering Chicagoans the opportunity to see the best the French film industry has to offer.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival is the black comedy Paulette from director Jérôme Enrico, starring the late actress Bernadette Lafont as a brash and opinionated retiree who discovers a surprising way to supplement her meager pension.

Also eagerly anticipated is the biopic Violette, the latest from director Martin Provost (Seraphine). It tells the story of trailblazing feminist writer Violette Leduc and her mentor/object of desire, Simone de Beauvoir, and stars Emmanuelle Devos and Sandrine Kiberlain.

The 2014 Chicago French Film Festival promises to be the most comprehensive, diverse and exciting yet!

Check below for the full schedule and film descriptions, and Purchase advance tickets now

Tuesday, July 29th – Monday, August 4th, 2014

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Me, Myself and Mum (Les Garcons et Guillaume, a table)

A film by Guillaume Gallienne


Opening Night Presentation!

“A delightfully self-deprecating crowdpleaser adapted from Guillaume Gallienne’s well-received one-man show, Me, Myself and Mum offers a playful twist on the typical coming-out narrative, in which an effeminate young man is the last to realize what everyone around him has already decided. Gallienne, who belongs to the country’s prestigious Comedie-Francaise acting troupe, milks his awkward upbringing for big laughs, playing the roles of both his younger self and his elegant if somewhat imperious mother (in drag, of course).” —Variety



A film by Christian Duguay


A sporting adventure based on the powerful, true story of Pierre Durand and his prize-winning steed, Jappeloup is a sort of Rocky set in the equestrian world.

Visually gorgeous, it contains great challenges, wonderful characters, a dash of humor and a lot of emotion. Written by and starring Guillaume Canet (Tell No One), with Daniel Auteuil and Marina Hands, “Jappeloup takes an essentially self-contained, relatively decorous sport — show jumping — and turns it into a suspenseful, nail-biting series of death-defying equine leaps… quintessential family fare.” —Variety



A film by Jerome Enrico


The late Bernadette Lafont, a key figure in the French New Wave, stars as a grouchy widow with an overly tart tongue. While struggling to make ends meet, she discovers she has a talent for selling hashish. Set in the projects on the edge of Paris, this politically incorrect, comic take on aging and loneliness might recall Tatie Danièle. With Carmen Maura.

“As the bad-grandma title character, Bernadette Lafont is all in, never playing for sympathy or sugarcoating the nastiness.” —The Hollywood Reporter


Orizzonti Prize, Venice Film Festival
Venice Film Festival


Eastern Boys

A film by Robin Campillo


The director of Les Revenants (the basis for the hit French television series The Returned) subverts conventions and expectations with the provocative Eastern Boys. It begins as middle-aged businessman Daniel solicits young Marek at a Paris train station. When Daniel invites Marek to meet him at his home the next day, what follows moves from home invasion to tender romance to suspenseful race against time.

This erotically-charged nail-bitter is also a cautionary tale revolving around desire, impulse and responsibility.


Youth Jury Award, Seattle Film Festival
Seattle Film Festival


Belle and Sebastien (Belle et Sébastien)

A film by Nicolas Vanier


Adapted from the beloved novel by author Cécile Aubry and set during WWII in the snowy Alps of occupied France, we meet resourceful young Sebastien and the giant mountain sheepdog he tames and calls Belle.

When Nazi soldiers march into town looking for members of the French Resistance who are guiding Jewish refugees to neighboring Switzerland, Belle and Sebastien’s loyalty — to each other and to the village that’s embraced them both — is put to the test.


Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival



A film by Martin Provost starring Emmanuelle Devos, Sandrine Kiberlain, Olivier Gourmet


““A deeply satisfying film. . . Handsome, intelligently absorbing and stirring. ”
New York Times

Emmanuelle Devos (Kings & Queen) stars in this gorgeously rendered biopic of the acclaimed French novelist Violette Leduc, whose intense and fraught relationship with Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kimberlain) fueled her fearless, nakedly confessional writing. In a brilliantly conceived, finely honed and fiercely etched portrait of Leduc, director Martin Provost leads us through chapters depicting her tumultuous life.

Not a biopic in the traditional sense, but a stirring and profound, deep and sympathetic look at an artist whose sexuality provided the core of her writing, and who was fearless in confronting the pain and reality of being a woman.


Playing Dead (Je fais le mort)

A film by Jean-Paul Salomé


Both comedy and thriller, Playing Dead centers on Jean (François Damiens), a floundering, 40-year-old, out-of-work actor who has hit rock bottom. At the unemployment office, his counselor offers a rather odd proposal: he can help the police reconstruct crime scenes by standing in for the dead victim. As he takes a leading role in a sensitive murder investigation at a Megève ski resort, Jean’s obsession with detail both impresses and annoys the investigators. “A clever murder mystery backed by the hilarious François Damiens.” —The Hollywood Reporter


School of Babel (La cour de Babel)

A film by Julie Bertuccelli


Extraordinarily touching, this documentary details a year in the life of a Parisian class of immigrant youth from countries around the globe. They are boys and girls ages 11 to 15 who have just arrived in France. They are placed in a “reception class,” where they receive intensified training in learning and speaking French, so that they can eventually assimilate and join their peers. Their inspiring teacher demonstrates amazing patience, skill, tenderness and insight in counseling and teaching the students, and in interactions with their parents and guardians.


Tenderness (La Tendresse)

A film by Marion Hansel


This delicate, richly-nuanced road movie brings together a long-divorced Belgian couple as they put their differences aside to help their only child, who is hospitalized in France following a skiing accident. True to its title, Tenderness is a compassionate, warm-hearted and often funny depiction of love and affection. “Believable characters caring for one another, beautifully communicated onscreen… this is that rare movie acknowledging a past where bitterness has been set aside and the memory of why love developed at the start isn’t forgotten.” —Variety


Jealousy (La Jalouisie)

A film by Philippe Garrel


An absorbing treatise on the fragility of happiness and the corrosive effects of distrust and secrecy on relationships.

Actor Louis (played by the director’s son, Louis Garrel) has separated from his wife, and only sees his eight-year-old daughter on weekends. But he has found a new, passionate love with his mistress, a volatile actress named Claudia (Anna Mouglalis).

Divided into two chapters, the film starts with the relatively comfortable domestic rapport of Louis and Claudia. But in the second half, the seeds of jealousy, planted earlier, begin to sprout.


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