The Great Fall of French Cinema

Cet article a été publié dans FR2DAY en 2011 (this article was published in FR2DAY in 2011)


It has been a great fall for French cinema. Of course everybody is talking about ‘The Artist’ which is being released in the US this month right on time for the Oscar race but three other films inspired by real-life stories have also created quite a buzz in recent months. It all started in September with the release of Valérie Donzelli’s ‘La guerre est declarée’ (Declaration of war), a moving story about a couple’s battle against their baby’s brain tumour.

The subject may sound heavy but the movie is never melodramatic and even provides a lot of funny moments. It follows the couple as they set up an organization and mobilize the troops to fight the enemy. From the beginning we know they will succeed and because it is based on the own real-life experiences of the two stars, Donzelli and ex-boyfriend Jérémie Elkaïm, the movie has an intensity that we usually do not find in a fictional story. The film will be France’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the84th Academy Awards 2012.

The next movie, Polisse‘, is about the daily life of a police brigade dealing with the protection of young children. Shot in a documentary style, the winner of the Jury’s prize at this yearCannes Festival offers a realistic look at the terrible crimes a group of officers has to deal with and the impact they have ontheir personal lives.

Between fathers molesting their children and a motherdropping her baby on the pavement, there is no shortage of tragic scenes. Yet, somehow, director Maïwenn Le Besco, manages to make a film that is touching and emotional but also very entertaining and even hilarious at times. Not a small feat by any means!

Finally, the last movie, ‘Intouchables‘ is the surprise French box office hit of the year. Based on a true story, this caustic comedy centers on the relationship between a quadriplegic aristocrat and the young black man from Paris’ poor ghettoes he hires to take care of him. Avoiding all the clichés you might expect from this type of film, ‘Intouchables’ is a real feel good movie that is being hailed by many critics as the new ‘Amélie‘ or ‘Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis‘.



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