MyFrenchFilmFestival

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domino harvey
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#1 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:55 pm

MyFrenchFilmFestival, an annual online film fest, is offering ten recent French features for 8 Euros, or individual titles for 2 Euros, to stream for the next month (plus ten shorts for free). Lineup goes live tomorrow; Brady Corbet, Ira Sachs, and Judith Davis are among the jury members

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#2 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:15 pm

Sounds awesome, I’ll probably sign up- thanks for the info! Any films you’ve got your eye on?

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senseabove
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#3 Post by senseabove » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:52 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:55 pm
MyFrenchFilmFestival, an annual online film fest, is offering ten recent French features for 8 Euros, or individual titles for 2 Euros, to stream for the next month (plus ten shorts for free). Lineup goes live tomorrow; Brady Corbet, Ira Sachs, and Judith Davis are among the jury members
therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:15 pm
Sounds awesome, I’ll probably sign up- thanks for the info! Any films you’ve got your eye on?

They've got Mothers' Instinct! I saw this at a film fest last April and just loved it—though I will caveat that it's entirely possible I've disproportionately inflated an unexpected festival delight in retrospect due to its seemingly total disappearance since then and my despair of ever seeing it again. Every few weeks, I've hunted for a way to get it, legal or otherwise, to no avail... It's a bundle of over-the-top Verhoevian melodrama wrapped in a Hitchcock box with a bow of Belgian Sirk and I giggle a little probably once a week over the visual gag that reminds the audience about the loose thread that unravels everything.

I'll be signing up for this just to see that one again. Thanks for mentioning it, domino!

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therewillbeblus
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MyFrenchFilmFestival

#4 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:06 pm

senseabove wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:52 pm
They've got Mothers' Instinct! ... It's a bundle of over-the-top Verhoevian melodrama wrapped in a Hitchcock box with a bow of Belgian Sirk
It's worth eight Euros just to find out what the hell this looks like! Thanks for the rec, senseabove!

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domino harvey
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#5 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:12 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:15 pm
Sounds awesome, I’ll probably sign up- thanks for the info! Any films you’ve got your eye on?
Les meteorites and L’Heure de la sortie both played at last year’s Lincoln Center fest but I missed them (though the latter popped up on back channels), so those. They all look good save the animated feature and the one about radical Islam, but who knows, maybe those will be great. I believe an earlier iteration of this fest is why we have a circulating HD copy of Mouret’s Caprice with subs, though I am realistic enough to not expect a discovery here of that level

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#6 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:18 pm

Awesome, I just bought the package which came to like 9 U.S. dollars, a steal for 30 days of 29 films (well, 10 you would pay for, but still). Looking forward to another side project post-Desplechin

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domino harvey
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#7 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:25 pm

Looking back through previous years' programs, I'm surprised no one ever mentioned this on the board, as every year there was a good mix of great movies, movies I've (still) never heard of, and movies I wish I could have seen!

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domino harvey
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#8 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:32 pm

Looks like it might be eight features for Americans-- TWBB, are you locked out of seeing Jessica Forever and Les Hirondelles de Kaboul too?

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senseabove
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#9 Post by senseabove » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:37 pm

Yep, those show "Unavailable"

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senseabove
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#10 Post by senseabove » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:38 pm

I also just started Mothers' Instinct to watch a few minutes and it's telling me I now have 3 days to watch the movie... So apparently there are "rental" time limits once you start something.

roujin
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#11 Post by roujin » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:46 pm

I believe Jessica Forever was recently available through Mubi (within the last two weeks) so it's probably floating around already.

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#12 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:54 pm

I'm seeing a copy without subs on back channels. Even if these two are excluded, you still do get ten features since they threw in that Melanie Thierry movie and Ma 6-T va crack-er out of competition

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#13 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:56 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:32 pm
Looks like it might be eight features for Americans-- TWBB, are you locked out of seeing Jessica Forever and Les Hirondelles de Kaboul too?
Yeah, apparently there are "rights" issues in streaming them overseas? I'm not gonna lose sleep over missing Jessica Forever, which doesn't seem too appealing, but I would have liked to see Les Hirondelles de Kaboul.
senseabove wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:38 pm
I also just started Mothers' Instinct to watch a few minutes and it's telling me I now have 3 days to watch the movie... So apparently there are "rental" time limits once you start something.
Yeah before signing up it said that one has 30 days to watch the films, but that once you start a movie, you have 72 hours to watch it as many times as you like. They assume you've seen it and give you a few days of re-watches, which is pretty generous considering how most festivals operate in one-offs (they're not online models, but still).

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senseabove
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#14 Post by senseabove » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:30 pm

Guess I got so eager I didn't read what was on the tin...

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BenoitRouilly
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#15 Post by BenoitRouilly » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:35 pm

All the feature films are unavailable from France... only the short films are available.
Here is the press kit PDF (French/English) with all the films. (See the map at the beginning of the PDF where this festival is FREE or not)
And the line up (on one page for easy browsing) at UniFrance (English).

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#16 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:45 pm

Some countries also have free access to the features as well (presumably based on your IP):
This year, films will be free of charge in the following countries and regions: Latin America, Russia, Poland, Romania, Africa, and India.

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senseabove
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#17 Post by senseabove » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:55 pm

Le sigh. I looked on Kanopy, since their logo is on the festival page and didn't see anything, but after looking at that map and checking, it turns out Mothers' Instinct is up and included on Amazon Prime now: https://www.amazon.com/Mothers-instinct ... 083Q5GSQX/

A few others I checked are also on Prime... Not sure if they're only up during this festival, but I didn't see any festival branding for them there, and Mothers' Instinct has purchase options. Oh well.

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#18 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:01 pm

Somewhere on either their page or UniFrance's page, they say they've partnered with Amazon Prime and Kanopy to make the films available for the span of the festival, so I think they're limited to the same time frame. Didn't realize they'd be free though!

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#19 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:13 pm

All available features (eight in competition and two out of competition) do appear to be on Amazon Prime for free for the next month (search for the English title in 'Prime Video'). Luckily the pass purchase via the website was still so cheap that it's hard to get too worked up about it, but if you have Amazon Prime, there's no need to purchase anything. People should feel free to use this thread to chime in on the films they watch from the selection, especially since now almost all of them are free for many users

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#20 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:56 am

Mother’s Instinct is definitely channeling Hitchcock and Sirk hard here and knows it well. I liked this thriller, especially the focus on the relationship between the two women that shuts out men almost completely, breathing some new life into that social suspense that’s unknown undercurrents affect the individual’s psychology. Olivier Masset-Depasse sells this with force and attention to craft as well as a strong palette for mise en scene, but it’s the dynamic lead actresses that emote the actions and reactions to relational aggression, acute consciousness, and attentive empathy in emotional intelligence that make an argument for this as an auteurist picture of female actresses even outweighing the loud directorial flourishes. For all the impressive details and original spin, I can’t say that this rose above to any markedly higher level as a genre entry, and ultimately plays things rather safe. It’s the raw subtext of female isolation though that got under my skin and made this stand out as something more than the moody slide of fandom it has fun wearing the shoes of for a while.

The film also benefits from the audience not taking it too seriously and when I navigated away to a more objective space of contextualizing it within the wheelhouse of its influences, the self-conscious camp welded into the drama to create a saucy nudge that understands the anxieties these genres expose are themselves a product of ridiculousness. This called to mind the common self-help acronym for fear: false evidence appearing real, but flips that idea on its head by realising all these terrors within the contrived narrative of this designed-to-be-provocative genre. It’s no coincidence this is set in an era when women were experiencing the same dysregulation over identity from ideological systemic oppression in the melodrama as veterans reintegrating into society would be afforded in film noir, and its obviousness in tackling the surface of these themes is amusing even if it doesn’t dig into them enough to become something greater.
senseabove wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:52 pm
I giggle a little probably once a week over the visual gag that reminds the audience about the loose thread that unravels everything.
Which gag is that?

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senseabove
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#21 Post by senseabove » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:56 am

I (re)watched it tonight as well and it didn't work quite as well as I'd remembered/hoped it still would, but you get at what I do still love about it, particularly re: "the anxieties these genres expose are themselves a product of ridiculousness," which is why I think Verhoven felt like a reference as well as Sirk.
SpoilerShow
Alice's "hysterical" paranoia isn't an unusual suspense trope, but we normally either know it's justified, as in something like My Name is Julia Ross, or wind up finding out it isn't, like—well, on the off chance anyone reading this hasn't seen it I guess I won't spoil which mid-tier Hitchcock that would be, but it should be pretty obvious if you have. Here we're given a traumatic set-up that would justify the grief-driven hysteria at the start, and at the end we find out that the seemingly outlandish hysteria is justified, so the emotional and stylistic excesses feel concomitant, both earnest and self-conscious. Sirk at the start, Verhoeven at the end.

And the first half's willingness to go back and forth with Alice and Celine's interplay of grief and comfort and resentment was enveloping the first time, but the second time, when you already know Celine really is a murderous nutjob, the rug fet pulled out from under my empathy for their mutual distrust and the emotional hell they both have to go through. Anne Coesens playing Celine doesn't tip her hand to the camera at all, even subtly, so what felt genuinely interesting about their emotional progression the first time felt flat the second, as I kept hoping that, this time, I would see a moment when you see Celine realize that she wants Theo, and then that she could get Theo, and then that she is going to get him, if she just keeps driving Alice crazy, because nobody else is paying attention... But even the "Aren't I family?" comment to the grandmother, whom she presumably knows she's about to kill, gets played perfectly coolly...
therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:56 am
Which gag is that?
SpoilerShow
Second time around, I'll concede I could very well be reading too much into this, but it struck me the first time, and there's just enough there there for me to at least want to try hang something on it: during the final set-piece, after Alice puts Theo to bed, when she sits down on the couch with Simon, there's a two-shot of them kinda staring off in opposite directions, with the big, empty rectangle of the fireplace looming between them, over their shoulders, as if to remind them and us that the pillbox problem—its disappearance and its contents—is the only "clue" for which Alice never got a plausible explanation. Everything else could legitimately be explained as her paranoia, but at this point we have confirmation that Celine is sociopathic, so presumably did find the pillbox in the nightstand and (as we soon see her do with the liquor decanter) did fiddle with the contents and put it back in the car. When Alice wakes up and realizes Simon's been drugged, she stands up and the camera cuts to follow her rise, positioning that big empty pillbox shape of the fireplace just above the drugged Simon as she begins to realize she was right all along, and the camera pans to move it from frame right, behind one shoulder, to frame left, behind the other shoulder, then cuts to Alice looking quickly up, over that shoulder, in the direction of Celine's room. We hadn't seen an angle that included the empty fireplace at all until right after they get back from the hospital from Theo's anaphylactic shock, when Alice pours herself a drink from the decanter that will soon poison Simon while the fireplace is framed just behind her, again between her and Simon. So its visual entry into the film at that point and its position in the frame at those two points in the story felt like a visual symbol for the possibility that Alice would realize she's rightly suspicious.

And *phew* I'm getting better at remembering to check that I'm still logged in after I write a long post so I don't lose it when I hit Submit and have to log back in!

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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#22 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:44 pm

senseabove wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:56 am
SpoilerShow
And the first half's willingness to go back and forth with Alice and Celine's interplay of grief and comfort and resentment was enveloping the first time, but the second time, when you already know Celine really is a murderous nutjob, the rug fet pulled out from under my empathy for their mutual distrust and the emotional hell they both have to go through. Anne Coesens playing Celine doesn't tip her hand to the camera at all, even subtly, so what felt genuinely interesting about their emotional progression the first time felt flat the second, as I kept hoping that, this time, I would see a moment when you see Celine realize that she wants Theo, and then that she could get Theo, and then that she is going to get him, if she just keeps driving Alice crazy, because nobody else is paying attention... But even the "Aren't I family?" comment to the grandmother, whom she presumably knows she's about to kill, gets played perfectly coolly...
SpoilerShow
See, I thought Coesens was wonderfully ambiguous, but also felt that Veerle Baetens stole the movie until a late scene where the subjective narrative breaks from Baetens and we see Coesens imbuing this raw pathos with her husband in their home that really drove home that "subtext of female isolation" that won me over. Of course this is then flipped again on us when she's revealed to actually be the manipulative killer all along, but that moment with her remained authentic to me as the driving force behind it all, rather than coming off like a manipulative trick as it would in most films that provide this type of twist, and saved the neat and genre-stepping finale we get by staying true to another dimension of character and even femininity in general that I may wish was explored more but the generous hints were appreciated all the same.

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senseabove
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Re: Festival Circuit 2020

#23 Post by senseabove » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:52 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:44 pm
SpoilerShow
See, I thought Coesens was wonderfully ambiguous, but also felt that Veerle Baetens stole the movie until a late scene where the subjective narrative breaks from Baetens and we see Coesens imbuing this raw pathos with her husband in their home that really drove home that "subtext of female isolation" that won me over. Of course this is then flipped again on us when she's revealed to actually be the manipulative killer all along, but that moment with her remained authentic to me as the driving force behind it all, rather than coming off like a manipulative trick as it would in most films that provide this type of twist, and saved the neat and genre-stepping finale we get by staying true to another dimension of character and even femininity in general that I may wish was explored more but the generous hints were appreciated all the same.
SpoilerShow
Yes! And that's why I loved it the first time, because the film lets them have their desperation for connection and lets them both dance around being wary of each other and wanting to return to their old intimacy and they both do that brilliantly. But the second time around, you know what Celine must have been working on at least before Theo's birthday party, because the grandmother makes an argument that Celine should back off from Theo and the family and then immediately dies. So yes, on the first go, that "raw pathos" scene with the husband has such power because of how straight Coesens has played it, but the second time around, you know that rawness of that pathos should have been at least marginally evident muuuuuuch earlier than that. The performance needed to thread that needle, and it didn't... Maybe a third watch will return me to appreciating her performance more, though, now that I'm not hoping/looking for those tells.

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#24 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:49 am

I went through a good portion of the live-action shorts, and while very few really wowed me (some were downright awful: I turned off Le Discours d'acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin pretty quickly despite its amusing concept. Perhaps I'll return to it if others here who give it a chance recommend it), and I couldn't think of anything to write on at least half, but here's a rundown of a select few.

La Traction des pôles has a great visual joke in the centerpiece, and otherwise it doesn't amount to the potential in its strange and uneven conceptualization and settles for drab exhibition. Plein Ouest is well-shot with some decent child acting and teeters on an authentic mood, but the action and thematic content is too forced to admire this too much as its potential falls apart every time the father enters the picture. It has a good ending though. Diversion stages a battle between absurdist nightmare and nonsensical torture porn dystopian horror. There are some entertaining pieces but I can't say this was a success in any way. The self-reflexivity fails especially when it makes itself so obvious without really saying anything or attempting to forge connective tissue with any effort, even along surrealistic lines.

Not all was lost though. I can recommend Une sœur without reservation, a gripping thriller that could barely stand to be a minute longer than the already seemingly brisk 15 it is. Worthy of its Oscar nom, this tows a skillful balance between two very different intensely subjective perspectives, one flooded with fear of safety and another removed by distance but invested with acute responsibility and empathy, yet both grasping for clues or assistance to contest their powerlessness.

The best is the only animated short I watched, La Nuit des sacs plastiques, which serves as a projection of the lonely solipsistic agenda expanded onto the milieu of the entire world like narcissism exfoliated, poisoning others - and plastic bags coming out of nowhere to sideline unsuspecting innocents to boot, unveiling the facade of safety and numbed complacency as life as we know it is swallowed up by this neurosis, in an inspired, funny, and playful exercise in horror.

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#25 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:55 am

Putting my Captain Poo-poo hat on again re Duelle/ Mothers's Instinct which I found to be rather lower league Netflix fare and for all it's candy coloured affectation and bogus plot twists remained for me a pale palimpsest of a Hitchcock-Sirk affair. The foregrounding of the female characters had an intended intensity which I don't think clicked strongly enough other than to advance the narrative - I hesitate to use the word drive- which may have to rely on a Lacanian influenced interpretation à la TWBB to gain some traction but didn't grab me enough to invest that level of involvement. I wonder if the diminished male roles worked against this to some degree particularly in regard to Alice's sense of guilt and the audience's evaluation of her stability . I can't attest to the Verhoven factor as I'm not at all qualified enough to comment. Is this particularly aimed at 'Elle' which left me also rather tepid ?
Re Netflix conformity I was rather amused at the Australian trailer for Desplechin's Oh Mercy which paints it as a rather run of the mill policier which could pass through Netflix's portals without blushing but more on that another time another place.

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