Le Nom des gens

Bahia Benmahmoud, a free-spirited young woman, has a particular way of seeing political engagement, as she doesn’t hesitate to sleep with those who don’t agree with her to convert them to her cause – which is a lot of people, as all right-leaning people are concerned. Generally, it works pretty well. Until the day she meets Arthur Martin, a discreet forty-something who doesn’t like taking risks. She imagines that with a name like that, he’s got to be slightly fascist. But names are deceitful and appearances deceiving..

The First Man

An adaptation of Albert Camus’ autobiographical last novel. Part childhood memoir, part epic narrative of Camus’ beloved Algeria and its struggle for independence from France, The First Man was left unfinished by the Nobel Prize-winner who died at age 46. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

Home (2009)

With aerial footage from 54 countries, Home is a depiction of how the Earth’s problems are all interlinked.

The Names of Love

Bahia Benmahmoud, a free-spirited young woman, has a particular way of seeing political engagement, as she doesn’t hesitate to sleep with those who don’t agree with her to convert them to her cause – which is a lot of people, as all right-leaning people are concerned. Generally, it works pretty well. Until the day she meets Arthur Martin, a discreet forty-something who doesn’t like taking risks. She imagines that with a name like that, he’s got to be slightly fascist. But names are deceitful and appearances deceiving..

Inspector Bellamy

As every year, chief inspector Paul Bellamy spends a few days with his wife Françoise in the family house in Nîmes. Jacques, Paul’s stepbrother, turns up unawares, which is bad news since the fellow is an alcoholic good for nothing. Also annoying is this stranger at bay who asks Bellamy for protection. Farewell peaceful holiday! [Synopses courtesy of IMDb]

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno

This documentary about Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished 1964 psycho-thriller L’Enfer is as tantalizing as it is frustrating. Despite remaining one of the most masterful of French directors, Cluozot inexplicably seems to have lost control on the big-budget production of L’Enfer. The long-lost raw footage is intriguing and dazzling, infused with swirling lights and blue-lipped, cigarette-puffing fantasy temptresses. Although directors Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Mederea have managed to speak to numerous members of the original crew, this behind-the-scenes investigation has so little to say about the reasons behind Clouzot’s failure to complete the film. In spite of this, the undiminished power of Clouzot’s extraordinary images makes the documentary a fascinating watch.

24 Days (24 Jours)

This tense policier based on true events captures what some consider a pivotal moment in a wave of anti-Semitic sentiment and violence that swept France. The 1986 kidnapping of 24-year-old Ilan Halimi by a suburban Parisian gang of thugs became a cause célèbre because of the anti-Semitic nature of the crime. Director Arcady based his film on a book by the abducted man’s mother, Ruth Halimi, in order to refocus attention on the Halimi family. He notes, “I noticed a tendency in France to focus on the perpetrators instead of the victims. Making this film was my way of setting things straight.” The production was allowed to shoot inside Paris police headquarters and other authentic locations where crucial events transpired. The police team regarded the nearly 700 ransom calls made to Ilan’s father as their main clue to the perpetrators’ psychology. But Ruth finds other information more significant, something that the authorities are regretfully too slow to recognize. [Synopsis courtesy of Palm Springs International Film Festival]

Paris Countdown

Unable to repay their debts, Milan and Victor, best friends and co-owners of a Paris nightclub, are lured into a drug deal that goes bad. Tortured by police, they negotiate their freedom against an overwhelming testimony that condemns their psychotic liaison to prison. Six years later, the men’s nightmare begins again when the pyschopath is granted his freedom. Now, not having talked for years, the old friends are united again in order to survive.

The Finishers

Julien, 17, is wheelchair-bound due to cerebral palsy. Despite their love for him, his family is gradually falling apart under the strain of dealing with his disability. In a bid to bond with his father, Julien challenges him to participate with him in the Ironman race in Nice (French Riviera), a triathlon in which his father has previously competed.