Mar 06 2010

Réfractaire @ Francophonie Film Festival

Published by at 15:12 under Festival

The Francophonie Film Festival will take place in Beijing from March 4 to March 30, 2010.

The festival will present 30 films from various members: France, Senegal, Switzerland, Quebec, Serbia, Vietnam, Tunisia, Belgium etc…
A large selection of feature films and shorts films, recent or older and popular films will be shown to the Chinese audience to let them discover the eclectic worlds of la Francophonie.

Each film will be screened in Beijing, once in the French cultural center and once in the Canadian International School of Beijing (with more than 350 seats), in their original version with Chinese subtitles. Some of them will also have French or English subtitles.

A delegation of directors and artists will be travelling to Beijing to introduce their movies, conduct master classes and meet the press:
From Tunis, Férid Boughedir with ‘’A summer in la Goulette’’
From Belgium, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar with ‘’A town called panic” (special screening Cannes film festival 2009)
From Senegal, Mansour Sora wade with ”The price of forgiveness”

OIF is an organisation that gathers countries and regions around the French language and/or the same values (cultural diversity, peace, democratic governance, consolidation of the State under the rule of law, environmental protection). It includes more than 56 members and about 14 observer countries, 870 millions people in all 5 continents in total.

The name of the festival, 法话影展, was created to underline that French is the main or second language of the countries showcasing their films.

A competition is organised on http://ent.cri.cn during the whole festival. The audience can vote on line for the best film of the festival. The best film will be shown one more time on March 29, at the French Cultural center.
The film festival is financed by TV5 World Asia, Sinohydro, the French Embassy in China, the Canadian Embassy in China, the Québec Bureau in China, the Wallonia – Brussels Delegation in China, and supported by the International Organisation of la Francophonie, and the Francophone embassies in China.

Luxembourg: Réfractaire, by Nicolas Steil, drama, 100min

CINÉFRANCO 2010
Presents

JEUNE CINÉMA
Weekend of Cinema Celebrates the Courage and Heroism of Young People
Saturday, March 6 + Sunday, March 7 – AMC Dundas Square

After a dry spell of French films, Toronto gets a blast of the best – thanks to Cinefranco.
While this year’s Best Foreign Film nominee UN PROPHETE opens this Friday, a slew of other worthy films will be screened within the following weeks.

Cinéfranco, Toronto’s annual festival of international Francophone cinema is pleased to present a special program of films that celebrate the heroism and courage of young people.  Jeune Cinéma will showcase 8 films on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7 at the AMC Dundas Square.  Suitable for teenagers, Jeune Cinéma compliments Cinéfranco’s annual Schools Program, taking place this year from Monday, March 1 – Wednesday, March 10 at the Bloor Cinema.  The Schools Program, while open to the public is designed primarily for students and teachers who may book seating for their classes.  Hooray for Cinefranco’s directrice Marcelle Lean for undertaking this great initiative!

Having previewed 7 of the 8 films to be screened (capsule reviews are provided at the end of the article), this reviewer must say that he is more than impressed with the films chosen.  True to Ms. Lean’s goal, all the films depict the courage of youth.  Whether in unlivable conditions like in the juvenile detention in the somewhat violent LES HAUTS MERS, the desperate state of illegal living status in EDEN IS WEST or the disease bound war torn survival conditions in a mine in REFRACTAIRE, these films are inspirational, sad, even humorous in the portrayal of what youth will do to etch a better living for themselves.

Jeune Cinéma is a new initiative of Cinéfranco 2010 whose main program begins this year on Friday, March 26 and runs through to Friday, April 3, 2010 at AMC cinema at Yonge & Dundas.

For complete program details, showtimes, and ticket pricing check the cinefranco website at:
http://www.cinefranco.com

The films of Jeune Cinéma cover a range of themes and periods from the thirties “Les Hauts murs” (“Behind The Walls”) to the forties ”Réfractaire” (“Draft Dodgers”). “La Régate” (“Boat Race”), “Un Cargo pour l’Afrique” (“A Cargo to Africa”) and “Une Semaine sur deux…” (“Alternate Week”) explore family challenges faced by young people and “La Journée de la jupe” (“Skirt Day”) the trials of their own daily lives while Costa-Gavras’ “Eden à l’Ouest” (“Eden is West”) and “Welcome” show the difficulties of immigrant life.

Capsule Reviews:
(provided for all the film except for the opening film UN CARGO POUR L’AFRIQUE).  The opening film will be introduced by its director Roger Cantin.

Bon Cinema!

EDEN A L’OUEST (EDEN IS WEST) (Fr/Greece/Italy 2008) **
Directed by Costa-Gavras
image
Greek Master director Costa-Gavras’ film of illegal immigrant Elias’ (Riccardo Scamarcio) odyssey from refugee boat to Paris is more a road trip adventure than anything else.  Swimming to shore after the boat is discovered, Elias hides in a beach resort called Eden.  Various adventures take Elias on a light affair with one elder German tourist, a ride with a bickering couple, yet another ride with a trucker and various chases with the cops.  The strangers Elias meet range from sympathetic, couldn’t careless and unbelievably helpful.  Though it is clear that Costa-Gavras intends Elias’ journey to be one of learning and a coming-of-age experience, his film misses on many points, resulting in a barely entertaining filled with over sentiment.

LES HAUTS MERS (THE HIGH WALLS) (France 2008) ****
Directed by Christian Faure
image
This shocking but necessarily violent autobiography of young 14-year old Yves Tréguier (Emile Berling) set in a brutal juvenile home begins unlikely enough with an optimistic morning opening scene by the beach.  Yves happily runs towards the beckoning sea only to be captured by the waiting authorities and brought back to the juvenile detention.  Faure’s film is lit dimly from then on only with a very few select scenes of light – when Yves stares out of the prison walls, yearning for freedom.  The first act of the film depicts the hard life in store for the young ‘offender’ while the rest of the film illustrates the courage, not only of Yves but for the others, especially for the older boy, Blondeau (Guillame Gouix), charged with looking after Yves.  Not all survive in the harsh environment.  When the sensitive ‘fil de fir’ hangs himself, a visit by his distraught mother (Carole Bouquet) causes Blondeau to ultimately lose it.  Faure has created an immensely moving tale of survival.  The film’s most moving moment is one young inmate outburst speech that ‘no child is born a thief!’ The kid is then hit violently on the head by the prison chief and put into solitary.  The film echoes the speech given by a dedicated teacher in the memorable classroom scene in Francois Truffaut’s L’ARGENT DE POCHE on the injustice done to children.  LES HAUTS MERS is an unforgettable film and the scary thing is that most of the living conditions depicted existed.

LA JOURNEE DE LA JUPE (SKIRT DAY) (France/Belgium 2008) ***1/2
Directed by Jean-Paul Lilienfeld
image
LA JOURNEE DE LA JUPE takes the teacher in a hostile classroom drama, last seen in ENTRE LES MURS one step further.  Angry and frustrated teacher Sonia Bergerac (Isabelle Adjani) holds her unruly class hostage and gives the kids a hard time for a change.  Brutal and violent, Lilienfeld’s film has quite a bit to say about the French educational system.  Those in the teaching profession would definitely have a field day watching this movie.  Sonia is a rebellious employee as well, insisting on wearing a skirt to school.  But the film ends up taking on far too many issues that it can handle from rape, racism, immigration, bullying.  Still, LA JOURNEE DE LA JUPE is a compelling film from start to finish, thanks primarily to the excellent performance of Adjani.  Nominated for Best film and actress Cesar 2010 awards!

REFRACTAIRE (ARTFUL DODGER) (Luxembourg/Switz 2009) ***1/2
Directed by Nicolas Steil
image
When Luxembourg was annexed by Germany, the people had a choice to collaborate by sending their children to fight with the German army in the front or to send their children into hiding in the underground mines.  21-year old François (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) is sent into hiding after his father, a collaborator is killed.  But those underground distrust him, giving him a hard time.  François has no alternative but prove his loyalty through courage and sheer determination.  Though the film stretches the story’s credibility at the start with too many events occurring, Steil’s film eventually settles down with a stronger narrative towards its second act.  The cinematography and sets are impressive with the atmosphere of impending danger effectively created throughout.  The violence and sex (yes, François gets his share) are kept to a minimum and done tastefully.

LA REGATE (BOAT RACE) (Belgium/France 2008) ****
Directed by Bernard Bellefroid
image
The coach (Sergi Lopez) tells 15-year old Alex (a remarkable performance from young Joffrey Verbruggen) it takes courage and willpower to win a boat race.  But that is the least of Alex’s worries.  He lives with an abusive father who if not beating him up is forcing him to work odd hours to miss training.  Alex rebels against everyone including his girlfriend and coach while taking his rowing over-seriously.  If all this sounds like a typical coming-of-age story, Bellefroid’s film rises way above its material.  Belleford’s characters are emotional, real and brutal.  Yet, he shows the human and weak side of each character, even the father who the audience sees, as one who desperately wants his son’s love but incapable of reciprocating it.  LE RAGATE is a marvellous and remarkable film that truly reflects the theme of the film’s series on the courage of youth.

UNE SEMAINE SUR DEUX (ET LA MOITIE DES VACANCES SCOLAIRES)
(France 2009) ****
Directed by Ivan Calberac
image
ALTERNATE WEEK, the short English title of this surprisingly effective comedy tells the demise of the 2 children from divorced parents. 12-year old Lea and her younger brother spend alternate weeks with their successful real-estate business mum (Mathilde Seigner) and their recently unemployed psychologist dad (Bernard Campan).  What is expected in a film with such a theme are all present – the parents’ resentment and guilt; the children’s dream of their folks coming back together; their disapproval of their parents’ new dates; the parents’ counselling and so on.  But this drama comedy is utterly charming and takes an unusual route.  What more charm, for example, can come from the scene when the gifted young brother plays a piano piece that he composed for his mother at Christmas?  Calberac adds his take on many issues such as dating.  Example: “A decent date is a concept…” but his belief that a family in two parts is still a family works wonders in this film’s message of hope for all the majority of children in the world with separated parents.

WELCOME (France 2009)
(review to be posted)

Comments

comments

The Francophonie Film Festival will take place in Beijing from March 4 to March 30, 2010.

The festival will present 30 films from various members: France, Senegal, Switzerland, Quebec, Serbia, Vietnam, Tunisia, Belgium etc…
A large selection of feature films and shorts films, recent or older and popular films will be shown to the Chinese audience to let them discover the eclectic worlds of la Francophonie.

Each film will be screened in Beijing, once in the French cultural center and once in the Canadian International School of Beijing (with more than 350 seats), in their original version with Chinese subtitles. Some of them will also have French or English subtitles.

A delegation of directors and artists will be travelling to Beijing to introduce their movies, conduct master classes and meet the press:
From Tunis, Férid Boughedir with ‘’A summer in la Goulette’’
From Belgium, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar with ‘’A town called panic” (special screening Cannes film festival 2009)
From Senegal, Mansour Sora wade with ”The price of forgiveness”

OIF is an organisation that gathers countries and regions around the French language and/or the same values (cultural diversity, peace, democratic governance, consolidation of the State under the rule of law, environmental protection). It includes more than 56 members and about 14 observer countries, 870 millions people in all 5 continents in total.

The name of the festival, 法话影展, was created to underline that French is the main or second language of the countries showcasing their films.

A competition is organised on http://ent.cri.cn during the whole festival. The audience can vote on line for the best film of the festival. The best film will be shown one more time on March 29, at the French Cultural center.
The film festival is financed by TV5 World Asia, Sinohydro, the French Embassy in China, the Canadian Embassy in China, the Québec Bureau in China, the Wallonia – Brussels Delegation in China, and supported by the International Organisation of la Francophonie, and the Francophone embassies in China.

Luxembourg: Réfractaire, by Nicolas Steil, drama, 100min

CINÉFRANCO 2010
Presents

JEUNE CINÉMA
Weekend of Cinema Celebrates the Courage and Heroism of Young People
Saturday, March 6 + Sunday, March 7 – AMC Dundas Square

After a dry spell of French films, Toronto gets a blast of the best – thanks to Cinefranco.
While this year’s Best Foreign Film nominee UN PROPHETE opens this Friday, a slew of other worthy films will be screened within the following weeks.

Cinéfranco, Toronto’s annual festival of international Francophone cinema is pleased to present a special program of films that celebrate the heroism and courage of young people.  Jeune Cinéma will showcase 8 films on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7 at the AMC Dundas Square.  Suitable for teenagers, Jeune Cinéma compliments Cinéfranco’s annual Schools Program, taking place this year from Monday, March 1 – Wednesday, March 10 at the Bloor Cinema.  The Schools Program, while open to the public is designed primarily for students and teachers who may book seating for their classes.  Hooray for Cinefranco’s directrice Marcelle Lean for undertaking this great initiative!

Having previewed 7 of the 8 films to be screened (capsule reviews are provided at the end of the article), this reviewer must say that he is more than impressed with the films chosen.  True to Ms. Lean’s goal, all the films depict the courage of youth.  Whether in unlivable conditions like in the juvenile detention in the somewhat violent LES HAUTS MERS, the desperate state of illegal living status in EDEN IS WEST or the disease bound war torn survival conditions in a mine in REFRACTAIRE, these films are inspirational, sad, even humorous in the portrayal of what youth will do to etch a better living for themselves.

Jeune Cinéma is a new initiative of Cinéfranco 2010 whose main program begins this year on Friday, March 26 and runs through to Friday, April 3, 2010 at AMC cinema at Yonge & Dundas.

For complete program details, showtimes, and ticket pricing check the cinefranco website at:
http://www.cinefranco.com

The films of Jeune Cinéma cover a range of themes and periods from the thirties “Les Hauts murs” (“Behind The Walls”) to the forties ”Réfractaire” (“Draft Dodgers”). “La Régate” (“Boat Race”), “Un Cargo pour l’Afrique” (“A Cargo to Africa”) and “Une Semaine sur deux…” (“Alternate Week”) explore family challenges faced by young people and “La Journée de la jupe” (“Skirt Day”) the trials of their own daily lives while Costa-Gavras’ “Eden à l’Ouest” (“Eden is West”) and “Welcome” show the difficulties of immigrant life.

Capsule Reviews:
(provided for all the film except for the opening film UN CARGO POUR L’AFRIQUE).  The opening film will be introduced by its director Roger Cantin.

Bon Cinema!

EDEN A L’OUEST (EDEN IS WEST) (Fr/Greece/Italy 2008) **
Directed by Costa-Gavras
image
Greek Master director Costa-Gavras’ film of illegal immigrant Elias’ (Riccardo Scamarcio) odyssey from refugee boat to Paris is more a road trip adventure than anything else.  Swimming to shore after the boat is discovered, Elias hides in a beach resort called Eden.  Various adventures take Elias on a light affair with one elder German tourist, a ride with a bickering couple, yet another ride with a trucker and various chases with the cops.  The strangers Elias meet range from sympathetic, couldn’t careless and unbelievably helpful.  Though it is clear that Costa-Gavras intends Elias’ journey to be one of learning and a coming-of-age experience, his film misses on many points, resulting in a barely entertaining filled with over sentiment.

LES HAUTS MERS (THE HIGH WALLS) (France 2008) ****
Directed by Christian Faure
image
This shocking but necessarily violent autobiography of young 14-year old Yves Tréguier (Emile Berling) set in a brutal juvenile home begins unlikely enough with an optimistic morning opening scene by the beach.  Yves happily runs towards the beckoning sea only to be captured by the waiting authorities and brought back to the juvenile detention.  Faure’s film is lit dimly from then on only with a very few select scenes of light – when Yves stares out of the prison walls, yearning for freedom.  The first act of the film depicts the hard life in store for the young ‘offender’ while the rest of the film illustrates the courage, not only of Yves but for the others, especially for the older boy, Blondeau (Guillame Gouix), charged with looking after Yves.  Not all survive in the harsh environment.  When the sensitive ‘fil de fir’ hangs himself, a visit by his distraught mother (Carole Bouquet) causes Blondeau to ultimately lose it.  Faure has created an immensely moving tale of survival.  The film’s most moving moment is one young inmate outburst speech that ‘no child is born a thief!’ The kid is then hit violently on the head by the prison chief and put into solitary.  The film echoes the speech given by a dedicated teacher in the memorable classroom scene in Francois Truffaut’s L’ARGENT DE POCHE on the injustice done to children.  LES HAUTS MERS is an unforgettable film and the scary thing is that most of the living conditions depicted existed.

LA JOURNEE DE LA JUPE (SKIRT DAY) (France/Belgium 2008) ***1/2
Directed by Jean-Paul Lilienfeld
image
LA JOURNEE DE LA JUPE takes the teacher in a hostile classroom drama, last seen in ENTRE LES MURS one step further.  Angry and frustrated teacher Sonia Bergerac (Isabelle Adjani) holds her unruly class hostage and gives the kids a hard time for a change.  Brutal and violent, Lilienfeld’s film has quite a bit to say about the French educational system.  Those in the teaching profession would definitely have a field day watching this movie.  Sonia is a rebellious employee as well, insisting on wearing a skirt to school.  But the film ends up taking on far too many issues that it can handle from rape, racism, immigration, bullying.  Still, LA JOURNEE DE LA JUPE is a compelling film from start to finish, thanks primarily to the excellent performance of Adjani.  Nominated for Best film and actress Cesar 2010 awards!

REFRACTAIRE (ARTFUL DODGER) (Luxembourg/Switz 2009) ***1/2
Directed by Nicolas Steil
image
When Luxembourg was annexed by Germany, the people had a choice to collaborate by sending their children to fight with the German army in the front or to send their children into hiding in the underground mines.  21-year old François (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) is sent into hiding after his father, a collaborator is killed.  But those underground distrust him, giving him a hard time.  François has no alternative but prove his loyalty through courage and sheer determination.  Though the film stretches the story’s credibility at the start with too many events occurring, Steil’s film eventually settles down with a stronger narrative towards its second act.  The cinematography and sets are impressive with the atmosphere of impending danger effectively created throughout.  The violence and sex (yes, François gets his share) are kept to a minimum and done tastefully.

LA REGATE (BOAT RACE) (Belgium/France 2008) ****
Directed by Bernard Bellefroid
image
The coach (Sergi Lopez) tells 15-year old Alex (a remarkable performance from young Joffrey Verbruggen) it takes courage and willpower to win a boat race.  But that is the least of Alex’s worries.  He lives with an abusive father who if not beating him up is forcing him to work odd hours to miss training.  Alex rebels against everyone including his girlfriend and coach while taking his rowing over-seriously.  If all this sounds like a typical coming-of-age story, Bellefroid’s film rises way above its material.  Belleford’s characters are emotional, real and brutal.  Yet, he shows the human and weak side of each character, even the father who the audience sees, as one who desperately wants his son’s love but incapable of reciprocating it.  LE RAGATE is a marvellous and remarkable film that truly reflects the theme of the film’s series on the courage of youth.

UNE SEMAINE SUR DEUX (ET LA MOITIE DES VACANCES SCOLAIRES)
(France 2009) ****
Directed by Ivan Calberac
image
ALTERNATE WEEK, the short English title of this surprisingly effective comedy tells the demise of the 2 children from divorced parents. 12-year old Lea and her younger brother spend alternate weeks with their successful real-estate business mum (Mathilde Seigner) and their recently unemployed psychologist dad (Bernard Campan).  What is expected in a film with such a theme are all present – the parents’ resentment and guilt; the children’s dream of their folks coming back together; their disapproval of their parents’ new dates; the parents’ counselling and so on.  But this drama comedy is utterly charming and takes an unusual route.  What more charm, for example, can come from the scene when the gifted young brother plays a piano piece that he composed for his mother at Christmas?  Calberac adds his take on many issues such as dating.  Example: “A decent date is a concept…” but his belief that a family in two parts is still a family works wonders in this film’s message of hope for all the majority of children in the world with separated parents.

WELCOME (France 2009)
(review to be posted)

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