The 18-film programme of the 11th Französische Filmwoche proves that France’s love affair with cinema burns as hotly as ever.
The fest opens with the German premiere of a Gallic box office favourite, Intouchables (Dec 1, 20:30, Cinema Paris, French with German subs). Depicting the culture clash between a white quadriplegic millionaire and his black caretaker from the Paris ghetto, the film transcends the familiar setup, particularly through the masterful, uproariously funny acting of the two leads. Intouchables will reach Berlin screens in January, but you’ll have to wait longer for many of the others.
Cannes fave The Artist (Dec 3, 20:30, Cinema Paris, with German subs) is a feel-good story of a silent-era actor who sees his career jeopardised by the birth of talkies.
Another critics’ darling and France’s official entry for the Oscars’ foreign film category, La guerre est déclarée (Dec 7, 21:00, Kino International, Declaration of War, French with German subs, photo) depicts the struggle of a couple in the face of their son’s cancer. The real-life mother (who even got her ex and kid’s father on board) wrote, directed and acted in the movie. The result is undeniably an original achievement, although too self-consciously so for its own good: here’s the cool, rock ‘n’ roll kid cancer indie flick, totally liberated from sappy Hollywood clichés. Moreover, we ultimately found it hard to really care about the daily woes of those Parisian über-bobos. The fact that La guerre is potentially up for an Oscar is perhaps a sign that the film fails to live up to its own non-conformist claim – but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Französische Filmwoche, Dec 1-7 | Info at www.franzoesische-filmwoche.de, All original, most with German subs. Starts December 1.