DOXA is very proud to offer the fourth edition of FRENCH FRENCH with five new extraordinary films, and a special program dedicated to the work of Alain Cavalier. Cavalier, awarded Maître du Réel (Master of the Real) at Visions du Réel Film Festival last year, and a renowned member of the Nouvelle Vague, authored a new style of film portrait more than thirty years ago. These beautifully observed capsules (13-minutes each) are encounters of the rarest kind—intimate, elegant and filled with a profound sense of humility. FRENCH FRENCH will include six of these original portraits, paired with Cavalier’s latest Six Portraits XL, created from material he filmed of six different friends over the course of many years.

Although all of the work presented in FRENCH FRENCH is informed by the idea of portraiture, each individual film deals very differently with this approach. Whether it is a vérité profile, like Marie Dumora’s Belinda, or the illustrated memories of 102-year-old man in Michèle Smolkin’s If You’re Hungry, Sing. If You Ache, Laugh (Si tu as faim, chante. Si tu as mal, ris)—the intent is to fully illuminate the reality of human experience in all of its complexity, pain and joy. The films in FRENCH FRENCH include:

Belinda

Marie Dumora | France | 2017 | 107 minutes

As a film portrait, Belinda is a remarkable achievement. Foregoing a sentimental approach, it is a warts-and-all look at prejudice, intolerance, and marginalization in French society through the experience of one young woman.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 – 2:15pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Thursday, May 10, 2018 – 8:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Dernières Nouvelles du Cosmos (Latest News from the Cosmos)

Julie Bertuccelli | France | 2016 | 84 minutes

At almost age 30, Hélène Nicolas can’t speak or hold a pen, and she never learned to read or write. It wasn’t until she was 20 years old that her mother Véronique discovered Hélène was able to communicate by arranging laminated letters on a board. Taking the pen name Babouillec Sp, this severely autistic young woman began producing poetry and novels, and is now collaborating with a theatre director to adapt her work for the stage.

Friday, May 4, 2018 – 8:30pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Thursday, May 10, 2018 – 6:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Les enfants du 209 rue Saint-Maur, Paris Xe (The Neighbours)

Ruth Zylberman | France | 2017 | 103 minutes

Through detailed drawings, architectural maquettes, photos, and tiny replicas of furniture, Zylberman reconstructs the histories of the people who called the apartment block located on 209 rue Saint-Maur home.

Sunday, May 6, 2018 – 6:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Monday, May 7, 2018 – 8:45pm, Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.)

Maternité secrète (Secret Nest)

Sophie Bredier | France | 2017 | 82 minutes

An anonymous woman remembers her first glimpse of the Château Bénouville in Normandy, a home for unwed mothers, who came to wait out their pregnancies, and give birth in secret. As one of the nurses who worked at the Château recalls, young women were often convinced to abandon their newborn babies and hide their pregnancies for fear of bringing shame on their families.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 – 4:30pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Monday, May 7, 2018 – 6:30pm, Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.)

Si tu as faim, chante. Si tu as mal, ris (If You’re Hungry, Sing. If You Ache, Laugh)

Michèle Smolkin | France | 2017 | 60 minutes

Director Michèle Smolkin illustrates her uncle’s anecdotes through charming animation, archival footage, and a buoyant score. But the real star of the film is the timeless art of storytelling. As Sam remembers his childhood and teenage years, his experience as an army gunner during the war, and working with the French Resistance, the film becomes more than just a portrait of one man’s life and times.

Sunday, May 6, 2018 – 2:15pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Rétrospective Alain Cavalier

Portraits: La Fleuriste

France | 1987 | 13 minutes

“Flowers are my life, flowers are my way,” explains Violette, who runs a little shop in a Parisian street for many years and has no time to care for a husband.

Friday, May 11, 2018 – 8:30pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Portraits: La Dame-lavabo

France | 1987 | 13 minutes

For 20 years in the basement of the Grand Café Royal Printemps in Paris, Amelia recognizes the sound of a 20-cent or 50-cent tip that customers leave for her after a visit to the lavatory.

Friday, May 11, 2018 – 8:30pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Portraits: L’Orangère

France | 1987 | 13 minutes

Emilienne has braided crowns of orange blossoms, symbol of the pure virginal maiden, for 40 years. But she is sometimes dark and gloomy.

Friday, May 11, 2018 – 8:30pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Portraits: La Fileuse

France | 1987 | 13 minutes

From madder roots, Anna prepares the famous red dye bath for the wool she spins by hand, as part of a project to reproduce 11th Century Bayeux tapestry.

Friday, May 4, 2018 – 6:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Portraits: La Trempeuse

France | 1987 | 13 minutes

One by one, Mauricette cuts, dyes, paints, embosses, creases, rolls, and pieces together the various petals of artificial roses.

Friday, May 4, 2018 – 6:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Portraits: La Matelassière

France | 1987 | 13 minutes

Aline’s hands have been deformed by the large needle she uses to make wool mattresses. In addition to her life’s work, she has raised her five kids by herself.

Friday, May 4, 2018 – 6:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Six Portraits XL – No. 1 Jacquotte

France | 2017 | 50 minutes

In the untouched bourgeois house invaded by swallows and dust, Jacquotte wanders through her childhood. Toys, paintings, stuffed animals, clothes and old umbrellas—how could she ever throw away all this memorabilia? Year after year, she takes inventory and saves her past until it is “saved for eternity.”

Friday, May 4, 2018 – 6:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

 

Six Portraits XL – No. 2 Daniel and No. 3 Guillaume

France | 2017 | 104 minutes

In his small apartment, an old bachelor talks frankly with an uncomplaining humour about the difficulties in his life, his erratic romances with street girls, and his hope to repeat the 20,000 Euros he once won. “Unhappy in love, happy in games,” he says. As the years go by, he hides nothing from Cavalier’s camera including his invasive OCD rituals of cleanliness and security. Sometimes he feels he is on the verge of losing it, but somehow he copes.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 – 12:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Six Portraits XL – No. 4 Philippe and No. 5 Bernard

France | 2017 | 104 minutes

“In the morning, Philippe Labro, with his team around a table, prepares his four interviews for that afternoon. An actor, a writer, a theatre actor, and a boxer. Each is filmed in the studio in a single 28-minute take with tracking shots and mirror effects. No room for mistakes. This is high level sport.” -ALAIN CAVALIER

Sunday, May 6, 2018 – 12:00pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Six Portraits XL – No. 6 Léon

France | 2017 | 52 minutes

In his tiny shop, Léon strips, cuts, glues, nails, polishes, and sometimes grabs a quick nap. More than a cobbler, he is the secret soul of the place.

Friday, May 11, 2018 – 8:30pm, Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

For further information, please visit DOXA’s website.