Cinephilia Française: The Lower Depths (1936)

Early on in his filmmaking career, Jean Renoir struggled to find critical success and financial stability. Whether forced to sell the paintings passed down to him from his father, Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir, to cover his debts or subjected to mixed audience reactions and considerable cuts made to his films, he had to face many uncertain years...

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Cinephilia Française: Children of Paradise (1945)

Within the immense gallery of great French films, Children of Paradise stands out like a grand mural painted with many colors, bold brush strokes, and precise attention to detail. Directed by the great Marcel Carné and written by his regular collaborator Jacques Prévert, it is an ambitious feat of cinema; a period piece set in Paris in the 1820s and ‘30s that...

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TIFF 2012 / Cinephilia Française: Something in the Air (2012)

“Nothing tells memories from ordinary moments. Only afterwards do they claim remembrance on account of their scars.” – from Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962) By 1971, the year in which Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air (titled Après Mai in French) kicks off, the film containing this wise bit of narration was already nine years old, and the French New...

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Cinephilia Française: Zero for Conduct (1933)

Arriving after the avant-garde city tour À propos de Nice (1930) and short profile piece Taris (1931) featuring French swimming champion Jean Taris, Jean Vigo’s Zero for Conduct marked the filmmaker’s first proper foray into fiction, though it is anything but a conventional storytelling exercise. Sadly, this forty-four minute-long film and the remarkable 1934...

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Introducing Cinephilia Française

Recently, while considering films I wanted to write about to get me back into the review game, I realized that a great many of them either hailed from France or were international productions from French filmmakers. That, plus my long-standing fondness for certain French filmmakers like Truffaut, Tati, Varda, Melville, and many others, got me thinking about an...

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Review: 35 Shots of Rum (2008)

35 Shots of Rum is one of the more recent efforts from the remarkable Claire Denis, made just one year before 2009’s White Material and nine after 1999’s haunting, poetic Beau Travail. It features many of her regular collaborators, including actor Grégoire Colin, cinematographer Agnès Godard, co-writer Jean-Pol Fargeau and the band Tindersticks. Set in a...

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Review: The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962)

[Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox program The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson is currently underway, and will be continuing through Sunday, March 18th. Film blogger Corey Atad has provided a summary of the program over at Dork Shelf.] For many cinephiles, the absolute pinnacle of cinematic interpretations of the Joan of Arc story is Carl Theodor...

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Review: Lancelot du Lac (1974)

[Throughout February and March, Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox will be presenting a retrospective of French master Robert Bresson's films entitled The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson. Film blogger Corey Atad has provided a summary of the program over at Dork Shelf. Lancelot du Lac will be screening once more on Tuesday, March 6th.] Lancelot du...

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Review: A Man Escaped or: The Wind Bloweth Where it Listeth (1956)

  [Throughout February and March, Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox will be presenting a retrospective of French master Robert Bresson's films entitled The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson. Film blogger Corey Atad has provided a summary of the program over at Dork Shelf.] With his 1956 film A Man Escaped, Robert Bresson may very well have made the...

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Review: Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)

[Starting Thursday, February 9th, Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox will be presenting a retrospective of French master Robert Bresson's films entitled The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson. To celebrate the event, here is a review of Bresson's second film, which will be playing at the Lightbox on February 23rd and March 5th.] Here, in Les Dames du...

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