Sibyl

Woman as Volcano

June 5, 2019 | Drama | By Heidi Ellison

No wonder there is so much mistrust of psychiatrists when the French keep making films like Sibyl, directed by Justine Triet. Sibyl (Virginie Efira) is a novelist turned shrink who wants to write another novel, so she dumps most of … Read More

#Female Pleasure

Sex Crimes Uncovered

May 29, 2019 | Documentary | By Heidi Ellison

The documentary #Female Pleasure doesn’t have much to do with France per se (except that a few scenes were shot in Paris), but its themes are universal, and I was dismayed to learn that this well-made documentary of compelling interest has had only … Read More

Lourdes

Believe It or Not

May 22, 2019 | Documentary | By Heidi Ellison

Ever wonder what really goes on at Lourdes, aside from a roaring trade in bottled holy water, statuettes of the Virgin Mary, rosaries and a multitude of kitschy souvenirs? The new documentary Lourdes, by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai (both … Read More

J’Veux du Soleil

Just People

May 8, 2019 | Documentary | By Heidi Ellison

I went to see the documentary J’Veux du Soleil! (I Want Some Sun!) hoping to find an answer to the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind in France these days: what do the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) want? Directors … Read More

Celle que Vous Croyez

Woman on the Edge

March 5, 2019 | Drama | By Heidi Ellison

The latest vehicle for French actress Juliette Binoche is Celle que Vous Croyez (Who You Think I Am), directed by Safy Nebbou and based on the novel of the same name (reviewed here) by Camille Laurens. Binoche plays Claire, a 50-year-old literature professor … Read More

Pau

In Search of the Lost Father

February 27, 2019 | Drama | By Heidi Ellison

How do you make grief visible onscreen? Showing a character crying or looking sad for the length of a feature-length film is, of course, out of the question. A very young French-American filmmaker, Alexandre Leter, who was only 17 when … Read More

L’Ordre des Médecins

Operating without a Scalpel

February 6, 2019 | Drama | By Heidi Ellison

L’Ordre des Médecins (Breath of Life), the first feature film directed by David Roux, takes place almost entirely in the closed world of a French hospital. Simon, played by the handsome and always convincing Jérémie Renier, is a self-assured 37-year-old pulmonologist … Read More

Une Jeunesse Dorée

The Palace Years

January 23, 2019 | Drama | By Heidi Ellison

The Paris nightclub Le Palace, which had its heyday in the 1980s, has taken on mythic status in the French imagination in the way that Studio 54 did in the United States. Now we have an autobiographical film, Une Jeunesse Dorée (Golden … Read More

Le Grand Bain

A Plunge into Implausibility

January 9, 2019 | Comedy | By Nick Hammond

Isn’t it just typical? You wait so long for a film about a middle-aged male synchronized swimming team, then two come along at once. In Britain, Swimming with Men, starring comedian Rob Bryden, has received middling reviews (“likably daft,” said … Read More