The Dancer

Nothing in her background destined Loïe Fuller from the American Midwest to become a Belle Epoque icon, even less a dancer at the Paris Opera. Even at the risk of destroying her back and burning her eyes with the stage lights, she will never falter in the quest to perfect her dance. But her encounter with Isadora Duncan, a prodigious young dancer hungry for fame and glory, will precipitate the fall of this icon at the beginning of the twentieth century.

It’s Only the End of the World

After 12 years of absence, a writer goes back to his hometown, planning on annoucing his upcoming death to his family. As resentment soon rewrites the course of the afternoon, fits and feuds unfold, fuelled by loneliness and doubt, while all attempts of empathy are sabotaged by people’s incapacity to listen and love. [Synopsis courtesy of Cannes Film Festival]

La Princesse de Montpensier

1562, la France est sous le règne de Charles IX, les guerres de religion font rage… Depuis son plus jeune âge, Marie de Mézières aime Henri, Duc de Guise. Elle est contrainte par son père d’épouser le Prince de Montpensier. Son mari, appelé par Charles IX à rejoindre les princes dans leur guerre contre les protestants, la laisse en compagnie de son précepteur, le Comte de Chabannes, loin du monde, au château de Champigny. Elle tente en vain d’y oublier sa passion pour Guise, mais devient malgré elle l’enjeu de passions rivales et violentes auxquelles vient aussi se mêler le Duc d’Anjou, futur Henri III.

The Vintner’s Luck

The nineteenth century has barely dawned in France when we meet Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier, best known for his work with Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne). Sobran is a young peasant who hungers for two things in life: to win the hand of the beautiful Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and to create wine in his own vineyard. While marriage to the fiery Celeste soon follows, his wine-making ambition is considered above his station, and the patron he serves fails to put his innate skills to use. One night, however, he encounters the angel Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), who sees Sobran’s passions as evidence of his profound humanity. Xas proposes that Sobran plant some vines the angel carries, and further, that they meet each year at the same time and place.

Unsettled and yet self-interested, Sobran agrees without being able to answer his own questions about who or what Xas actually is. The vines, however, are very real, and they grow and thrive. Soon Sobran encounters the next influence in his life, the proud, educated and vulnerable Baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga). Before long, he is as deeply entangled in Aurora’s emotional complexities as he is in her vineyard, leading to both spiritual and corporeal crises for everyone. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

The Princess of Montpensier

Bertrand Tavernier (“’Round Midnight”) directs this lush, unsentimental take on the historical romance, which takes a clear-eyed look at the intersection of passion and power in 16th-century France. Young, beautiful aristocrat Marie favors war hero Henri, but she’s married off to the Prince of Montpensier for political reasons. Once at court, she inspires love, violence, and thirst for power in the men around her as civil war tears the country apart. [Synopsis courtesy of Chicago Film Festival]

Saint Laurent

As one of History’s greatest fashion designers entered a decade of freedom, neither came out of it in one piece.