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The Cure for Election Day? A Summer of French Cinema

May 6, 2012

It’s Election Day in France today. The frogs will choose to either usher in a new President, who promises an era of change but doesn’t inspire much confidence, or give a second chance to the current Chef d’Etat, who offered a more open, more economically nimble France in 2007, and has largely disappointed his populace.

Sound vaguely familiar? I was lucky enough to be in France in 2007 to witness the French rally around Sarkozy’s dynamism and fresh vision, and then back here to see Obama elected in 2008. Looking back, and forward to November, I know how they feel.

In either scenario, and the more dangerous one seems imminent as I write this, the outlook for the French economy appears bleak.  Frenchie is convinced that France – as it presumably becomes an even less welcome place for ambitious, entrepreneurial, globally-minded young professionals – isn’t the ideal destination for the career-driven. Although I may disagree, that’s a battle I won’t win for now.

So without the prospect of a return to  Paris in the foreseeable future, and as France heads down whatever path it chooses, I’ll have to content myself with reminders of what made la Republique so alluring in the first place – rich culture, an appreciation for life, and culinary excellence, among other things. One of my favorite ways to do that will always be getting lost in a French film, where images of Paris streets and lilting French dialogue transport me back to la vie francaise for a few hours.

Julie Delpy and Chris Rock in “2 Days in New York”

Keeping a pulse on what French films are the topic du jour and when they’ll finally cross the Atlantic is far too tedious. So in the NYT summer movie review section, I was thrilled to see a number of French or French-influenced films arriving this summer. Below are the ones that piqued my interest (click on links to check out the trailers!):

May 11: Nobody Else but You – A thriller about a crime-fiction writer in rural France investigating the death of a local TV star who believed she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. (In French)

June 1: A Cat in Paris – In this whimsical animated film, a little girl discovers that her cat has a secret life as a burglar. (In French)

June 8: Bel Ami – This star-studded film (Uma Thurman, Robert Pattinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci) is an American adaptation of the Guy de Maupassant novel (which I may need to read now) about a journalist and his web of romantic relationships in 18th century Paris (In English).

July 13: Farewell My Queen – Featuring Lea Deydouz, Diane Kruger and Virginie Ledoyen, this film chronicles the court of Marie Antoinette during the final days of the French Revolution. (In French)

July 20: The Well Digger’s Daughter – A remake of a 1940’s film and featuring Daniel Auteil, a father, in pre-World War I France, is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.  (In French)

July 27: Nuit #1 – A study of a one-night stand, after two souls meet at a rave, and share an erotic and sensual night together. (In French)

Aug 10: 2 Days in New York – This sequel to the comedic hit “2 Days in Paris” features Julie Delpy reprising the role of Marion who now lives in New York with their child and a new American boyfriend (Chris Rock), and must navigate a visit from her family and plenty of cultural differences. (In English and French)

Feeling the urge to watch a French flick right now? One of my favorite French expat bloggers, Laetitia at FrenchTwistDC, has a super handy list of her Top 15 French Films on Netflix (instant too!) to suit your cinematic mood.

Do you have a favorite French film? Will you be checking out any of these new films this summer?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2012 4:25 pm

    Farewell My Queen is a must-see!
    And haha, it really sounds like Frenchie got himself an excuse not to go back to France for another 5 years!

    • May 9, 2012 11:27 pm

      Thanks for the reco Ed, and yes, this uphill battle just got steeper! But who knows, anything could be in the cards..and we’ll see how hard Hollande pushes the PS line once he’s in office, and where the economy falls ;).

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