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TIFF 2014: An outstanding French selection

August 20, 2014 | By francecanadaculture Film

The Toronto International Film Festival’s latest rollout of films for next month’s festival includes more than 50 French films and French co-productions, this is record-breaking for French cinema at TIFF!

The list includes some of the most talented French directors and actors such as François Ozon,Olivier Assayas, Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini, Michel Hazanavicius, Omar Sy, Jean Dujardin, Tahar Rahim, Bérénice Beko, Mia Hansen Love, Benoît Jacquot, Laurent Cantet, Jean-Luc Godard, Pascale Ferran, Céline Sciamma amongst others...

Here is the full list of French Films at TIFF 2014


GALAS

The New Girlfriend (Une nouvelle amie) by François Ozon, France, World Premiere

When her best friend Lea dies, Claire falls into a deep depression. However, after making a surprising discovery about her late friend’s husband, she’s given a new lease on life. Starring Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier and Raphaël Personnaz.

Samba by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, France, World Premiere 

Samba migrated to France 10 years ago from Senegal, and has since been plugging away at various lowly jobs. Alice is a senior executive who has recently undergone a burnout. Both struggle to get out of their dead-end lives — Samba’s willing to do whatever it takes to get working papers, while Alice tries to get her life back on track — until fate draws them together. Balancing light-hearted moments with heavier emotion, Samba is a story about two strangers on a new path to happiness. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Sy and Tahar Rahim.

The Connection by Cedric Jimenez, France/Belgique, World Premiere

Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars as French police magistrate Pierre Michel, who waged an obsessive six-year battle to bring down Marseilles' infamous "French Connection" drug ring.

Escobar: Paradise Lost by Andrea Di Stefano, France, World Premiere

An American surfer (Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games) meets the girl of his dreams — but gets a brutal (sur)reality check when he meets her uncle, Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro).

Voice Over by Christian Jimenez (Chile, France, Canada)

In this wise and witty comedy-drama from Chilean director Cristián Jiménez, a married woman — seeking to purify herself through a "disconnection vow" — leaves her husband and returns to her parents’ home, but finds a situation far from the peace and quiet she had imagined.


SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas, France/USA, North American Premiere

A veteran stage star (Juliette Binoche) turns to her assistant (Kristen Stewart) for solace as she jousts with an arrogant younger actress (Chloë Grace Moretz), in the brilliant new film from French auteur Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, Something in the Air).

Gemma Bovery by Anne Fontaine, France, World Premiere

Gemma Arterton glows as the title character — a passionate young Englishwoman whose dull married life in a provincial Norman town steers her towards adultery — in this updating of Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary from French director Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel).

Miss Julie by Liv Ullmann, Norway/United Kingdom/Ireland/France, World Premiere

Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton star in this stunning adaptation of the classic August Strindberg play directed by legendary actress and filmmaker Liv Ullmann.

The Search by Michel Hazanavicius, France

A nine-year-old Chechen orphan and a teenaged Russian soldier encounter the many terrible faces of war during the 1999 Russian invasion of the breakaway republic, in this searing drama from Academy Award-winning director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist).

Three Hearts by Benoît Jacquot, France, North American Premiere

A twist of fate leaves a hapless accountant (Benoît Poelvoorde) romantically torn between two sisters (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroianni), in the new film from Festival veteran Benoît Jacquot (The Counterfeiters).

Two Days one nights by Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, France/Belgium, Canadiam Premiere

A working-class mother (Marion Cotillard) fights to hold onto her job, in the new film from master filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

Xenia by Panos H. Koutras, Greece/France/Belgium, North American Premiere

Following the death of their mother, two brothers undertake an odyssey from Athens to Thessaloniki in search of the father they have never met, in this wry and affecting road movie from Greek director Panos Koutras.

Eden by Mia Hansen-Løve, France, World Premiere
In the ‘90s, French electronic music is developing at a fast pace. Entering this exciting Parisian nightlife, Paul and his best friend form a DJ duo called Cheers. But just as they rapidly find their audience, they are caught up in a euphoric and short-lived rise to fame. Eden retraces the steps of the “French touch” generation from 1992 to today — a generation that still enjoys outstanding international success thanks to DJs like Daft Punk, Dimitri from Paris and Cassius. Starring Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Greta Gerwig, Golshifteh Farahani, Laura Smet and Vincent Lacoste.

Far From Men (Loin des Hommes) by David Oelhoffen, France, North American Premiere 

Algeria, 1954. While the rebellion rumbles in the valley, two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil are forced to flee across the Atlas mountains. In the midst of an icy winter, Daru, a reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder. Pursued by horsemen seeking summary justice and vengeful settlers, the two men decide to confront the unknown. Together, they fight to gain their freedom. Starring Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb.

Turist by Ruben Östlund, Sweden/Norway/Denmark/France, North American Premiere 

A Swedish family’s ski trip in the French Alps is cut short by news of an oncoming avalanche, during which an impulsive decision by the father Tomas drives a wedge between him and his wife, Ebba — he has run for his life, while she has stayed to protect her children. When the anticipated disaster fails to occur, reality and embarrassed relief returns to the mountainside resort, but the family’s world has been shaken to its core. Force Majeure is an observational comedy about the role of the male in modern family life. Starring Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju and Fanni Metelius.

The Gate by Régis Wargnier, France, World Premiere 

Two decades after forging an unlikely alliance in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, a French ethnologist and a former Khmer Rouge official meet again after the latter is arrested for crimes against humanity, in this drama from top French director Régis Wargnier.

Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, Canada/France/Lebanon/Qatar/USA, World Premiere

Roger Allers, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Joan C. Gratz,Mohammed Saeed Harib, Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar and Michal Socha Inspired by the beloved classic, Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet is a richly-animated story and celebration of Gibran’s book, created by artists, animators and musicians from around the world. Starring Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek-Pinault, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina, John Rhys-Davies and Quvenzhané Wallis.

Pasolini by Abel Ferrara, France/Italy/Belgium, North American Premiere

Rome: on the night of November 2, 1975, the great Italian poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is murdered. Pasolini is the symbol of an art that’s fighting against the power. His writings are scandalous, and his films are persecuted by the censors; many people love him and many hate him. The day of his death, Pasolini spends his last hours with his beloved mother and later with his dearest friends, until he finally goes out into the night in his Alfa Romeo in search of adventure in the eternal city. At dawn Pasolini is found dead on a beach in Ostia on the outskirts of the city. In a film dreamlike and visionary, blending reality and imagination, it reconstructs the last day in the life of this great poet. Starring Willem Dafoe.

Return to Ithaca by Laurent Cantet, France, North American Premiere

A terrace overlooking Havana. Five friends gather to celebrate the return of Amadeo after 16 years of exile. From dusk to dawn, they reminisce about their youth, the group they used to form, the faith they had in the future — also their disillusionment.


MASTERS The latest from the world's most influential art-house filmmakers

Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako, France/Mauritania/Mali, North American Premiere

Following the recent jihadist takeover of northern Mali, a proud cattle herder comes into fateful conflict with the fundamentalist rulers of the provincial capital, in this luminous, lyrical and poetic drama from the great African filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako.

1001 Grams by Bent Hamer, Norway/Germany/France, World Premiere

A recently divorced, work-obsessed lab technician finds herself encountering a whole new world of experience when she attends an important scientific conference in Paris, in this charmingly offbeat comedy from Norwegian master Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories, O’ Horten).

Goodbye to langage 3D by Jean-Luc Godard, France, North American Premiere

Winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the new film by Jean-Luc Godard is a visually sumptuous and richly complex meditation on history and eternity, being and nothingness, desire and death.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence by Roy Andersson, Sweden/Norway/France/Germany, North American Premiere

Swedish master Roy Andersson (Songs from the Second Floor) returns with this absurdist, surrealistic and shocking pitch-black comedy, which moves freely from nightmare to fantasy to hilariously deadpan humour as it muses on man’s perpetual inhumanity to man.


CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

Bird People by Pascale Ferran, France, North American Premiere

Director Pascale Ferran’s (Lady Chatterley) whimsical fable about the magically crossing paths of a disgruntled American businessman and a daydreaming French hotel maid was a smash hit at this year’s Cannes.

Breathe by Mélanie Laurent, France, North American Premiere

Acclaimed actress Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Enemy) takes the director’s chair for this high-school tale of two teenage girls who develop an intense — and potentially dangerous — friendship.

Don’t Breathe by Nino Kirtadzé, France, World Premiere

This subtly comic blend of fact and fiction follows a middle-aged married couple in Tblisi, Georgia, as they deal with the fallout from an unclear, potentially fatal prognosis.

Girlhood by Céline Sciamma, France, North-American Premiere

Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) returns to the Festival with this raw, raucous but tender look at a group of black high school students living in the tough banlieues of Paris.

Heaven knows what by Benny Safdie, Joshua Safdie, France/USA, North American Premiere

The latest from acclaimed sibling directors Josh and Benny Safdie (Daddy Longlegs) blends fiction, formalism and raw documentary as it follows a young heroin addict who finds mad love in the streets of New York.

High Society by Julie Lopes Curval, France

Class barriers threaten the budding romance of two young lovers striving to realize their artistic ambitions.

Men who save the world by Liew Seng Tat, Malaysia/Netherlands/Germany/France, North American Premiere

The superstitious inhabitants of a small Malaysian village go to ever sillier extremes to exorcize the "ghost" they believe is haunting a dilapidated house, in this boisterous and richly observed rural comedy.

Not my type by Lucas Belvaux, Belgium/France, Canadian Premiere

A Parisian philosophy professor transferred to a dull provincial town (Loïc Corbery) learns to cut loose and live a little after he meets a brassy blonde coiffeuse (Emilie Dequenne), in this charming romance from director Lucas Belvaux (The Trilogy).

Li’l Quinquin by Bruno Dumont, France, North American premiere

A clueless police inspector stumbles his way through a provincial murder investigation, in this shocking — and shockingly funny — change of pace from premier French auteur Bruno Dumont (L’humanité, Hadewijch).

Red Rose by Sepideh Farsi, France/Greece/Ireland, World Premiere

A politically complacent middle-aged man and a young pro-democracy activist debate about the future of their country while hiding from the police, in this fascinating drama that blends scripted scenes with on-the-ground footage from Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution.

Tokyo Fiancée by Stefan Liberski, Belgium/Canada/France, World Premiere

A Japanophile young Belgian woman in Tokyo falls into a whirlwind romance with a Francophile Japanese student, in this charming and tender tale of young love and cultural discovery.

Still the Water by Naomi Kawase, Japan/France/Spain

Facing both family tragedy and the unpredictable rhythms of nature, two teenagers on a subtropical Japanese island find solace in each other, in this gorgeous and poetic cinematic vision from director Naomi Kawase (Shara, The Mourning Forest).

The Valley by Ghassan Salhab, France/Germany/Lebanon/Qatar, World premiere

After surviving a car crash in the middle of Lebanon’s isolated Beqaa Valley, an amnesiac man finds himself held hostage on a local farm that doubles as an illegal drug-production facility.


TIFF DOCS

National Diploma by Dieudo Hamadi, France/Congo, North American Premiere

Director Dieudo Hamadi follows a group of teenagers in his hometown of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose struggles to pass the state exam that is the key to their future are further complicated by their country's endemic culture of corruption.

National Gallery by Frederick Wiseman, France/USA, North American Premiere

Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman (La Danse, Crazy Horse, At Berkeley) takes us inside the inner workings of London’s National Gallery.

Natural Resistance by Jonathan Nossiter, Italy/France, North American Premiere

Jonathan Nossiter follows up his hit 2004 docuementary Mondovino with this profile of four radical vineyard propietors in Italy, who are striving to produce all-natural wines in the face of market and governmental pressure.

Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait by  Ossama Mohammed, Wiam Simav Bedirxan , Syria/France, North American Premiere

The astonishing collaboration between exiled Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed and young Kurdish activist Wiam Simav Bedirxan distills footage from thousands of clandestine videos to create a shattering, on-the-ground documentary chronicle of the ordeal being undergone by ordinary Syrians in the ongoing civil war.

This is my land by Tamara Erde, France, World Premiere

Israeli-born director Tamara Erde visits six independently-run Israeli and Palestinian schools to investigate how history is taught in this contested region.

Gett, the trial of Viviane Amsalem by Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz, France/Germany/Israel, North American Premiere

An Israeli woman seeking to finalize her divorce from her cruel and manipulative husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religiously-based marriage laws, in this riveting drama from sibling directors Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz.

The Wanted 18 by Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan, Canada/Palestine/France, World Premiere

Through stop-motion animation, drawings and interviews, directors Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan recreate an astonishing true story from the First Palestinian Intifada: the Israeli army’s pursuit of eighteen cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel."


VANGUARD  Provocative, sexy… possibly dangerous. This is what's next.

Alleluia by Fabrice Du Welz, France/Belgique, North American Premiere

French fear jockey Fabrice Du Welz (Calvaire, Vinyan) returns with this tale of star-crossed romance and straight-up carnage, based on the true story of 1960s "Lonely Hearts Killers" Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez.


DISCOVERY

Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere by Hoang Diep Nguyen, France/Vietnam, North American Premiere

Hanoi, Vietnam. A teenage girl has to grow up fast when she finds out about her pregnancy. She urgently needs money for an abortion. Ironically, the only man willing to give it to her has a fetish for pregnant women.

The Great Man by Sarah Leonor, France, World Premiere

Recuperating in Paris after being wounded in Afghanistan, a French Foreign Legion soldier (Jérémie Renier) is reunited with the man who saved his life - and unexpectedly finds himself able to repay his debt when he compelled to take care of the man's young son

Los Hongos by Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia/Argentina/France/Germany, North American premiere

The second feature from Colombian director Oscar Ruiz Navia (Crab Trap) follows two young street artists as they explore the vibrant and exciting milieu of the director’s hometown of Cali.

May Allah Bless France by Abd Al Malik, France, World Premiere

French rapper, author, and spoken word artist Abd Al Malik makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of his 2004 autobiography, chronicling his upbringing in the crime- and drug-ridden streets of Strasbourg and his life-changing encounters with hip hop and religion.

The Narrow Frame of Midnight by Tala Hadid, Morocco/UK/France, World Premiere

The intersecting destinies of three people — a Moroccan-Iraqi writer searching for his brother, the lover whom he left behind, and a young orphan on the run — create an incisive and unsettling portrait of a land riven by violence and fundamentalism.

Run by Philippe Lacôte, France/Ivory Coast, North-american premiere

In his first fiction feature, director Philippe Lacôte refracts the fraught and blood-drenched history of the Ivory Coast through the story of a young man’s twenty-year journey from country boy to political militant to assassin.

Sway by Rooth Tang, USA/France/ Thailand, World Premiere

 Three parallel love stories set in three different cities are set against some of the major international events of the last five years, in this ambitious, globe-spanning feature debut from director Rooth Tang.


SHORT CUTS INTERNATIONAL

8 bullets by Frank Ternier, France, North American Premiere

This feverish, suspenseful mixed-media animation follows a grief-stricken French expat in Taipei who obsessively tracks down the man he believes is responsible for killing his family.

Aïssa by Clément Trehin-Lalanne, France, Canadian Premiere

Aïssa, a young Congolese woman living illegally in France, must lie about her age in order to stay in French territory. Through the coldly scrutinizing lens of a medical examination, director Trehin-Lalanne probes the deeply personal implications of territorial boundaries that dictate the legality of an individual.

A single body by Sotiris Dounoukos, Australia/France, International Premiere

This beautiful, tightly constructed portrait of male friendship is set against the raucous and grisly backdrop of an abattoir, where best friends and skilled workers David and Wani diligently ply their trade as they dream of opening their own butchery.

Here is the concatenation by Claire Denis, France, World Premiere

With two actors and no sets, master filmmaker Claire Denis traces the arc of a strained relationship, with a focus on race and language. In this fraught arena, words omitted can be as potentially devastating as words used, and what is not seen can have greater
political consequences than what is.


WAVELENGHTS

Deep sleep by Basma Alsharif, Malta/Greece/France/Palestine, Toronto Premiere

A transfixing performance film in which artist Basma Alsharif shoots footage in Athens, Malta and the "post-civilization" of the Gaza Strip while under self-hypnosis.

Jauja by Lisandro Alonso, Denmark/USA/Argentina/Mexico/Netherlands/Germany/France, North American premiere

In the dazzlingly ambitious new film from Argentinian auteur Lisandro Alonso (Los Muertos, Liverpool), a 19th-century Danish general (Viggo Mortensen) undertakes a gruelling physical and metaphysical journey when he pursues his runaway daughter into the rugged wilderness of Patagonia.

La Sapienza by Eugène Green, France/Italy, North American Premiere

In the long-awaited new film from French auteur Eugène Green, a brilliant architect seeks spiritual and artistic renewal during a life-changing voyage in Italy to study the work of the great 17th-century architect Francesco Borromini.

Journey to the West by Tsai Ming-liang, France/Taiwan, Canadian Premiere

Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang returns with this entrancing latest entry in his Walker series, in which his slowly locomoting, carmine-robed monk acquires an unexpected acolyte in the form of Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) as he makes his way through the streets of a sun-dappled Marseille.

Letters to Max by Eric Baudelaire, France, International Premiere

A record of the epistolary encounter between French artist and filmmaker Eric Baudelaire and Maxim Gvinjia, former Foreign Minister of the breakaway Caucasian state of Abkhazia, Letters to Max is both a chronicle of a developing friendship and an ingenious, unusual essay film about the inherently speculative nature of nationhood.

Orizzonti Orizzonti by Anna Marziano, France/Italy/Germany, Toronto Premiere

Documenting encounters with Apulians as they confide intimate experiences, Anna Marziano's film oscillates between black-and-white documentary neorealism and placid, Sugimoto-like seascapes.

Under a changing sky by Jean-Claude Rousseau, France, International Premiere

Jean-Claude Rousseau uses his signature black frames to create Durasian elisions between painterly, Corot-conjuring tableaux.

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