The Conquest

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]

Sleeping Sickness (Schlafkrankheit)

Ebbo and Vera Velten have spent the better part of the past twenty years living in different African countries. Ebbo is the manager of a sleeping sickness programme. His work is fulfilling. Vera, however, feels increasingly lost in Yaounde’s ex-pat community. She can’t bear the separation from her 14-year-old daughter, Helen, who is attending boarding school in Germany. Ebbo must give up his life in Africa or he risks losing the woman he loves. But his fear of returning to a land now remote to him increases with each passing day. Years later. Alex Nzila, a young French doctor of Congolese origin, travels to Cameroon to evaluate a development project. It’s been a long time since he set foot on this continent, but, instead of finding new prospects, he encounters a destructive, lost man. Like a phantom, Ebbo slips away from his evaluator.

To Life (À la vie)

Helen, Lili and Rose met in Auschwitz, where the three twenty-year-old Jewish girls were deported. Thanks to German-speaking Dutch Lili, who was working in the camp kitchen, the two French girls survived. However, after the liberation of the camp, they lost touch. Lili went back to the Netherlands. Rose married a former deportee and settled down in Canada. Helen returned alone to France where she met an old childhood sweetheart and married him, aware of his impotency caused by sinister doctors carrying out experiments on him in the concentration camp. Determined to find her old companions, Helen puts an ad in a deportees’ newspaper. Against all odds the ad is answered and the women are reunited. The reunion takes place in Berck Plage in the north of France. The women rediscover each other, as well as help each other to overcome their Auschwitz demons.

The Girl King

A portrait of the brilliant, extravagant Kristina of Sweden, queen from age six, who fights the conservative forces that are against her ideas to modernize Sweden and who have no tolerance for her awakening sexuality.

Bird People

In the Paris airport zone, two strangers are trying to make sense out of their lives: an American engineer under professional and emotional pressure who decides to radically change the course of his life, and a young hotel chambermaid who faces a life-altering supernatural experience. [Synopsis courtesy of Cannes Film Festival]

Life of Riley

In the midst of rehearsals for a new play, amateur dramatics proponents Colin and Kathryn receive the shattering news that their friend George is fatally ill and only has a few months to live. Life begins to come apart at the seams – not just for Kathryn, who was once George’s partner, but also for her friends Tamara and Monica. The full force of the emotional turmoil they experienced in their youth and their long-buried dreams are rekindled. (Synopsis courtesy of the Berlin International Film Festival)

The Flight of the Red Balloon

The first part in a new series of films produced by Musée d’Orsay, ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’ tells the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film was shot in August and September 2006 on location in Paris. This is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first Western film. It is based on the classic French short The Red Balloon directed by Albert Lamorisse.

A Christmas Tale

The Vuillard’s shared history of physical and mental illness, estrangement, self harm, and loss doesn’t lead itself to the idea of a cheerful holiday season. But can a Christmas time reunion, a scheme concocted by three of the youngest family members, finally bring peace their clan?

Kings & Queen

Nora Cotterelle, a woman in her 30s is caring for her ill father, Louis Jenssens. While Nora tries to present a facade that all is well with her life, she is twice divorced and has a son, Elias, whose father is dead. Nora’s present relationship is not going well, and she is soon to marry a businessman, while Elias is becoming increasingly withdrawn. A parallel storyline follows her former lover and second husband, Ismaël Vuillard, a musician, with whom she had lived for seven years. He is given to strange behaviour, and as a result he has been committed to a mental hospital, from which he is planning to escape. Nora learns that her father’s digestive problems are actually cancer, and facing her father’s death, Nora desperately seeks out Ismaël to ask that he reconnect with Elias, but he has mixed feelings about adopting her son. Moreover, he has met Arielle, another patient.

Haute Cuisine

The story of Danièle Delpeuch and how she was appointed as the private chef for François Mitterrand.