Preview: Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at FSLC

Lead Critic; Brooklyn, New York (@floatingartist)

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Uni France again team up for the 24th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, this year from February 28 through March 10.

The series puts an empasis on showcasing new and up and coming voices across French cinema and includes Romain Laguna (Meteorites), Sébastien Marnier (School's Out), Virgil Vernier (Sophia Antipolis), Gaël Lépingle (Time of the Pirates) and Judith Davis (Whatever Happened to My Revolution). Also represented here are seasoned Rendez-Vous alums, such as Bruno Dumont (Coin Coin and Extra Humans), Mia Hansen-Løve (Maya) and Gilles Lelouche (Sink or Swim).

The series also highlights a number of French comedies this year, opening with the multiple César Award-nominated The Trouble with You, starring comedian Pio Mamaï and two of the top leading actresses in French cinema, Adele Haenel and Audrey Tatou, directed by Pierre Salvadori.

It might be a less star-studded year without the presence of Deneuve, Huppert or Binoche for the first time in a long while, but there are plenty of little gems to be found as usual, if you know where to look.

So here's my guide to this year's Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. Enjoy!

TROUBLE WITH YOU - Pierre Salvadori *Opening Night Film

After police Lieutenant Yvonne (Adele Haenel) finds out that Santi, her decorated dead cop husband was a bent cop, that everything she owns is from dirty money, she actively tries to make things right. She especially feels bad for Antoine (Pio Marmai), a young man who was wrongly accused and went to jail for eight years because of Santi's fake bust at a jeweler, which was a insurance scam. After Antoine is released, she obsessively stalks him. Antoine, traumatized by the incarceration, can't stop acting out his bad impulses and commit violent crimes. Ever so guilt stricken, Yvonne helps him in his endeavors and tells him that she understands what he is going through while hiding the secret of who she is.

Thinking Yvonne is a salvation to all his anger and resentment, a person who finally frees him from being 'innocent', Antoine decides to leave his long suffering girlfriend (Audrey Tautou) and get freaky with Yvonne in a S&M den (a vacated crime scene where she took him after he burned down a restaurant) and keep committing crimes.

Trouble with You is a mad cap comedy. It has its moments but the jokes are stale and gags can be seen too easy and regressive, i.e. high heels = a prostitute, S&M body suit and sex toys oh-so-funny, etc. But affecting performances by Haenel, Mamaï, Tautou and Damien Bonnard make up for it.

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