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]
After the death of her mother, 17-year-old Prudence finds herself living alone in her Paris apartment. Then she meets Maryline, a rebel of her own age, who introduces her to the thrills of motorcycle racing on the biker circuit at Rungis. Prudence’s newfound lease of freedom becomes complicated when she falls for a boy Franck who wastes no time in taking advantage of her naivety…
It’s February 11, 1858. Three girls from Lourdes, France, gather firewood in front of a grotto. Suddenly one of them, Bernadette Soubirous, 14, drops to her knees, gazes ecstatically at something beautiful only she can see, and starts to pray. Soon the town buzzes: Has Bernadette, poor, sickly, and always behind in school, really seen a Lady from Heaven? Then a spring bubbles up from nowhere and withered arms and sightless eyes are cured. At last, the Lady tells Bernadette her name: “I am The Immaculate Concepcion.” BERNADETTE, THE PRINCESS OF LOURDES, is the exciting true story of a visit by the Queen of Heaven that left the entire world a source of health for body and soul.
In the 4th installment of the Mission Impossible series, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks (Nyqvist), who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt to stop him ends in an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF to be implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to disavow them. No longer being aided by the government, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks around the globe, although they might still be too late to stop a disaster.
Over the last 20 years, Amos Gitaï has constructed a marvelous career making films that confront Israeli history, politics and memory. Be prepared for something entirely different with “Roses à crédit,” a film shot entirely in France, where evidence of contemporary society appears to be virtually absent (although there is indubitably a message for the present embedded in its tale). Israel is never mentioned; ditto the Holocaust. This is a brave, bold new step for Gitaï and the resulting film feels like the work of a master moving in a new artistic direction.
The film mercilessly but sensitively dissects the materialist, post-war world of the French lower middle-class. It starts with a radio broadcast from the Second World War, a piece of official Vichy propaganda, and soon moves to stirring Resistance speeches of patriotic exhortation. This is the backdrop for a wedding between Daniel and Marjoline, a relationship that we follow over the following years as it waxes and wanes, mirroring in many ways the fortunes of France itself at this time. Marjoline, an attractive but somewhat empty-headed girl, soon turns into a consumer par-excellence, eagerly devouring magazines and ads, looking for exciting new clothes or appliances for her house. Daniel, on the other hand, is more of a dreamer, in love with the roses that were a family business and which he has inherited along with his patrimony.
Gitaï proves extremely adept at following the emotional curves of this ill-fated marriage, as debt and credit begin to overwhelm the couple’s early romanticism. While everyday life plays out against a backdrop of post-war reconstruction and expansion, the ebb and flow of the relationship is beautifully circumscribed. Furthermore, the film is a paean to ’50s décor, clothes and design; as immense efforts have been painstakingly made to assure total faithfulness to the era. But underneath the immaculate surface lies a potent message. [Synopsis courtesy of Piers Handling/Toronto International Film Festival]
In what many assumed would be his last film (before surgery for liver cancer saved his life), Raoul Ruiz has directed a masterful adaptation of a famous 19th-century novel by Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco. “Mysteries of Lisbon” is an elegant, exquisitely produced jewel of a film that sees Ruiz finding a renewed confidence and voice. This is a large, sprawling and vigorous tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again.
Evoking the massive novels of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, the complex story centers on the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry. Joao, the initial narrator of the film, is a precocious 14year-old desperate to discover his parentage. Living under the care of a kindly priest, Joao is first introduced to his mother, a beautiful countess married to a cad of a man who controls her fate and fortune. Gradually, the tale of how he came to be born is told to the young Joao, who is surprised to discover that this is not his real name.
This is just the beginning of a finely wrought narrative where many characters turn out to be hiding secrets, including multiple identities. As these are slowly stripped away, a series of surprising revelations comes to the fore. While the narrative is expertly told by Ruiz and screenwriter Carlos Saboga, the film’s magnificence is buoyed by refined art direction and fluid camerawork. The cinematography is both strikingly formal and highly fluid; Ruiz’s camera prowls through the elegant drawing rooms and estates of Portugal’s aristocracy, while making side trips to Spain, France and Italy, as the fascinating characters weave in and out of each other’s lives. Ruiz has made one of the best films in his illustrious career and, thankfully, he has lived to make even more. [Synopsis courtesy of Piers Handling/Toronto International Film Festival]
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds, lead by Lt. Aldo Raine soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.