May 6, 2007. France’s run-up to the presidential elections. As the French people are getting ready to go to the polls to elect their new president, Nicolas Sarkozy has shut himself away in his home. Even though he knows he has won the battle, he is gloomy and looks despondent in his dressing gown. All day long, he has been trying to get in touch with Cécilia – to no avail. The last five years unfurl before our eyes, recounting Sarkozy’s unstoppable ascent, riddled with backstage underhand trickery, fits of anger and confrontations. “The Conquest” is the story of a man gaining power and losing his wife. [Synopsis courtesy of Cannes Film Festival]
During the last days of Stalin’s reign, a doctor (Marina Hands) tries to go unnoticed in a society of mutual dread where a neighbour or colleague might “denounce” you to the authorities at any moment.But tales of her healing touch have spread and one night she is taken away, not to the infamous Lubyanka prison, but to the Kremlin to attend the ailing Comrade Stalin himself. Uncle Joe (André Dussollier), an old man racked with pain but still as watchful and deadly as a snake.
Noémie Lvovsky’s ebullient twist on the comedy of remarriage transposes Frances Ford Coppola’s Peggy Sue Got Married to present day France, which means that when the titular Camille—who’s in the throes of divorcing her husband of 25 years—passes out drunk, she wakes up as a high school senior in the mid-1980s (leg warmers, “Walking on Sunshine” on the turntable, and no cell phones in sight.)
The name of Alexander Ostrovsky may not be as well known in the west as Anton Chekhov’s, but he was far more prolific a playwright, and many of his works are the backbone of his country’s theatrical tradition. The Comédie Française incorporated The Forest, his 1871 comic drama (we would now call it Chekhovian, but Ostrovsky died when Chekhov was just getting started) about the familial intrigues between a scheming middle-aged woman, her marriageable niece, and an itinerant nephew who returns from self-imposed family exile, into its repertoire in 2003. Arnaud Desplechin’s version, created for Arte’s “Theatre” series, prunes the production down to a trim 82 minutes. The Forest is both a vibrantly spontaneous and brutally funny family drama, and a glorious tribute to acting and theater—in other words, an Arnaud Desplechin film. [Synopsis courtesy of Film Society of Lincoln Center]
After the death of her mother, Anne makes a shocking discovery: an old photograph casts doubt on her origins and leads her to discover a mysterious uncle who lived with her parents after the war. As she lifts the lid on a long forgotten family secret, the young woman learns that her mother once succumbed to an amorous passion that was as intense as it was short-lived…
Marc, in his 40s, is a professor of literature at the University of Lausanne. Still a bachelor — and still living with his sister Marianne in a huge, isolated chalet that they inherited when they were very young — he carries on one love affair after another with his students. Winter has almost ended when one of his most brilliant students, Barbara, suddenly disappears. Two days later, Marc meets Barbara’s mother, Anna, who wants to find out more about her vanished daughter.
A married couple is terrorized by a series of videotapes planted on their front porch.