This year’s film festival at Film Society of Lincoln Center exemplifies the variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking. The films on display, by emerging talents and established masters, raise ideas both topical and eternal, and many take audiences to entirely unexpected places. And if your French is as rusty as mine, there will be English subtitles. Here’re the 10 premieres that you definitely shouldn’t miss.
1. The Trouble with You
After learning that her late husband’s golden reputation is totally fabricated, a police investigator (Adèle Haenel) makes unconventional amends in the latest comic whirlwind from Pierre Salvadori. Screens with the short Les Indes galantes.
2. Girls Of The Sun
An unshakable Golshifteh Farahani holds the center of Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sunas the commander of an all-female unit of resistance fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, whose resolve catches the attention of a French war journalist (Emmanuelle Bercot).
3. In Safe Hands
Jeanne Henry crafts a story stemming from a delicate two-and-a-half-month state of limbo for a newborn child, Théo, who becomes a ward of the state after his mother gives him up for adoption at birth.
Directed by Jeanne Henry
Showtimes: March 4 at 6:15 PM
With pathos and institutional nuance, Louis-Julien Petit’s third social-realist drama transforms its source nonfiction text by Claire Lajeunie into a spirited ensemble piece about a daytime shelter for homeless women.
5. Keep an Eye Out
The ever-unpredictable Quentin Dupieux sets this intimately scaled bottle narrative in the basement of a police station, where an endless interrogation session twists into something more off-kilter.
A war journalist (Roman Kolinka, Things to Come) copes with trauma by decamping to India, where he spent his childhood. As he strikes up a rapport with his godfather’s daughter (Aarshi Banerjee), Mia Hansen-Løve thoughtfully probes the private intricacies of rehabilitation.
7. Raising Colors
Actress Hélène Fillières’s second feature-film outing as a director, set at a training facility for the French Navy, captures a palpable electricity within one female trainee’s search for self.
8. Sophia Antipolis
Virgil Vernier’s richly textured sophomore feature takes stock of the state of the French socioeconomic order as embodied by the eponymous, dystopian business park and an eclectic ensemble of cult members, militiamen, and more.
9. The Summer House
Playing a filmmaker whose family is coping with loss during an annual summer vacation, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (A Castle in Italy) invites autobiographical readings in her new feature while also complicating the idea of art as personal exorcism.
10. When Margaux meets Margaux
This charming and lightly fantastical tale from Sophie Fillières (If You Don’t, I Will, Rendez-Vous 2014) stages a chance meeting between an impulsive but aimless twentysomething and a disenchanted fortysomething who just might be the same person.
Rendez-Vous with French Cinema
February 28—March 10 2019
Film Society at Lincoln Center
Walter Reade Theater, 70 Lincoln Center Pl. (View map)
Tickets $17 per screening
If you enjoy world cinema, as much as I do — consider subscribing to Culture Agenda, my weekly newsletter listing New York’s fascinating new culture events and happenings.