Whether you are a French speaker or simply a fan of French films, check out these seven French films screening during the final week of VIFF.
Based on real events, this tense policier captures what some consider a pivotal moment in a new wave of anti-Semitic sentiment and violence sweeping 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. The movie tells an important story with unsettling implications. TICKETS.
When a dead cow stuffed with human remains is found in an abandoned WWII bunker, Captain van der Weyden is on the case. A Clouseau-like bumbler afflicted with a strange (and mesmerizingly funny) series of tics and twitches, van der Weyden, along with his assistant Carpentier, whose driving skills leave a lot to be desired, take two steps forward and three steps back as they hunt for the murderer. And all the while the dynamic duo must contend with recalcitrant villagers and mischievous interference courtesy of a pack of juvenile scoundrels led by the impish Quinquin… TICKETS.
History of Fear:
“In an anonymous fast-food restaurant, a disturbed young man contorts his body and paralyzes onlookers as if they were hostages held at gunpoint. At a tollbooth, a naked stranger steps in front of a car and its occupants react like he is a suicide bomber. A fence surrounding an affluent Buenos Aires suburb is breached and the residents are certain that some threat will slip through the gap. In fact, paranoia grips every member of the ensemble in Benjamín Naishtat’s thriller, instilling a disorienting sense of dread and enticing the viewer to join in the characters’ hysteria.”-San Francisco International Film Festival TICKETS.
Kidnapping of Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq:
Acclaimed and controversial French author Michel Houellebecq is the centre of this unreasonably entertaining mélange of real life and fiction. The writer (playing himself) is the target of a kidnapping plot. An amateur trio snag the harmless and frail Houellebecq and cart him off to a quaint home on the outskirts of suburban Paris. There, they offer him wine, cigarettes and more unmentionable pleasures while they await an answer to their ransom demands. What ensues is a series of naturalistic discussions between these rather buff goons and our smart-assed intellectual hero. TICKETS.
The GRA or Grande Raccordo Anulare is the far-flung ring road highway that encircles our most significant ancient capital, Rome, where millennia-old imperial ruins are scattered throughout a city not that much more populous than Vancouver, but which goes deep in history, and deep in meaning. In this documentary, director Gianfranco Rosi roams around in a mini van for two years, filming the life around the GRA. TICKETS.
In the Name of My Daughter:
Inspired by the true case of Agnes Le Roux, a young, glamorous heiress, the film tells the story of her disappearance in the late 1970’s after becoming embroiled in a Mafia-backed plot to force her mother Renée to sell the family casino on the French Riviera. TICKETS.
Life of Riley:
Revolving around three couples dealing with the news that their mutual friend George Riley is terminally ill, the film unfolds as his ensuing absence from their lives reshapes the dynamics in their relationships. But Riley—in Godot-like fashion—never appears and we’re left to enjoy the hysterical interactions between the others, who each find themselves at a mid-life crossroads, pondering their next directions in life and love. TICKETS.