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.

La France

During the First World War, Camille (Sylvie Testud), a young woman whose husband is away fighting at the front, receives a short letter of break-up from him. Distraught, she decides to go to join him, but is driven back by the rule of the time which forbids women to move around alone. She has no other recourse than to dress herself up as a man so as to be able to take to the road on foot. As she lives near the Western Fromt she hooks up with a passing group of French soldiers without too much trouble. But there’s something a bit odd about these stragglers, and it’s not just their habit of bursting into song at every opportunity.

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]

For A Woman

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…

My Name is Hmmm… (Je m’Apelle Hmmm…)

Céline is eleven years old and has run away from an incestuous father. In her wanderings she meets Peter, 45 years old, a man deeply hurt by the loss of his wife and daughter. He will give himself completely to Céline, restoring the girl’s will to live and her carefree childhood. Agnes B. is a French fashion designer, artist and director. In 2012 she was one of the producers of Spring Breakers in competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival. Her debut film was the short film Une sorte de journal video. In Venice this year she is presenting her first feature-length film.

The Captive

An adaptation of Proust’s “La Prisoniere” (book five of “Remembrance of Things Past”). Set in Paris, France, it is a serious tale of a tragic and dysfunctional love.