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"Palais Royal!" to Open Rendez-Vous with French Cinema

A scene from Valerie Lemercier's "Palais Royal!" which will open the 11th annual Rendez-vous with French Cinema. Photo courtesy of The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced the lineup for its 2006 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema film series. Fifteen films by 15 French directors will screen from March 10 through March 19.

"Palais Royal!", the opening night film, will be introduced by director-cowriter-actress Valerie Lemercier and actor Lambert Wilson. Lemercier plays a commoner who's to become queen in an imaginary European country. She and Catherine Deneuve, who also appears in the movie, are up for this year's Cesar Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

Among the other films in the series is Stephane Brize's "Je Ne Suis Pas La Pour Etre Aime" ("Not Here to Be Loved"), about a lonely divorced man who falls for a woman he meets in tango lessons. Brize's film received three Cesar nominations for its actors. Also earning three Cesar nominations in the acting category is "The Russian Dolls," one of France's big hits last year. Written and directed by Cedric Klapisch, "The Russian Dolls" follows characters introduced in his film "The Spanish Apartment" and explores the sense of malaise felt by a young man who graduated from college several years before.

Danis Tanovic, who won a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for "No Man's Land," is in Rendez-Vous with "L'Enfer" ("Hell"). The film is about three adult sisters who reunite to face a violent incident from their past. "Hell" is the second film in a trilogy written by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz.

The series will showcase a number of firsts. Antony Cordier's "Douches Froides" ("Cold Showers"), nominated for a Best First Feature Cesar, examines the relationship between a female and two male teenagers. In Isabelle Mergault's directorial feature film debut, "Je Vous Trouve Tres Beau" ("You Are So Handsome"), a farmer goes to Romania to find a bride.

According to the Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2005 marked French cinema's best year in the United States with ticket sales generating nearly $200 million. "The French film industry has always been characterized by a vast array of small producers, most responsible for one or two films a year," said Film Society program director Richard Pena in a statement released to the press. "While this has cost the industry perhaps a certain amount of economic muscle, it's also allowed for a remarkable, wide-ranging array of film styles to emerge over the years."

Films will screen at the Walter Reade Theater, with additional screenings at the IFC Center. The opening night film kicks off at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.

A complete lineup and schedule of films will be available soon on the Film Society's Web site.

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