From today through February 1, we're partnering with the My French Film Festival to show you ten recently released French features (first and second films) and ten French shorts. Presented by Unifrance, the festival invites you to award points to the films you like at the main site — and these points count, as six prizes will be awarded (three for features, three for shorts): the Internet Users Prize, Social Networks Prize and International Press Prize.
Outside of both competitions, we've also got a few extra presentations. The online festival was a hit around the world last year and you won't want to miss this second edition.
A few quick notes on the films, starting with the features:
Rebecca Zlotowski's Belle épine (Dear Prudence), winner of the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc for Best First Film, is "closer to a sobering character study than a classical youth film," finds Chris Cabin in Slant.
Lionel Steketee's Case départ (Back to Square One) is "the surprise hit of the summer," notes Paul Julian Smith in the current issue of Film Quarterly. Starring Fabrice Éboué and Thomas N’Gjol, two black comedians who also take co-credits as first-time directors, its edgy premise is time travel with a twist: carefully contrasted half brothers from modern Paris (Joël, a radical wastrel from the banlieue, and Régis, an assimilated council worker with a nice home in the suburbs) are transported back in time to the eighteenth-century Antilles to be taught the (comic) truth about their ancestors’ enslavement."
Isabelle Czajka's D'amour et d'eau fraîche (Living on Love Alone). Tom Dawson for TotalFilm: "Propelled by music from The Kills, this scores as both a satire of today’s business world and a sensual portrait of reckless young love."
Mariana Otéro's Entre nos mains (Into Our Own Hands). "Nominated for a 2011 César Award for Best Documentary and presented at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival as part of the ACID selection (Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema), Into Our Own Hands is a rare insider’s look at the daily life of a small company in crisis." — MyFFF
Valérie Donzelli's La Reine des pommes (Queen of Hearts) is "a comedy that wears its love of screwball comedies, Godard, and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on its sleeve," writes Simon Abrams at the House Next Door.
Mikhaël Hers's Memory Lane focuses on seven friends in a Parisian suburb. "Buñuel might have poked fun at their discreet charms, or lack thereof," proposes Slant's Ed Gonzalez, "while Téchiné might have found poetry in the film's quotidian setting, then wrung a universal message from it, but Hers adopts a more laissez-faire stance toward his ciphers, observing their indolence and enlightened attitudes from a dispassionate distance."
Renaud Fely's Pauline et François. From Unifrance: "Families have habits that are difficult to dislodge. François’s family is no different. None of them could have imagined that there would one day be a woman in his life. Pauline and François throw themselves into a story as beautiful as it is unexpected and this happiness frees them."
Katell Quillevéré's Un Poison Violent (Love Like Poison) is "a beguiling coming-of-age drama about a 14 year-old girl, Anna (Clara Augarde), whose impending confirmation ceremony coincides with her parents’ separation, and an equally personal conflict between her Catholic faith and nascent sexuality," writes David Hughes for Empire.
And these are the shorts:
These are the films screening in competition, but you can also watch two more features — Claude Autant-Lara's La Traversée de Paris (Four Bags Full, 1956), winner of the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, and Marc Bisaillon's La Vérité — and one more short, Arnaud Brisebois and Francis Leclerc's Trotteur.