Preview: Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2022

Lead Critic; Brooklyn, New York (@floatingartist)

The 27th edition of celebrating the best of contemporary French cinema offers a star-studded 23 film lineup. And after going all virtual last year due to the pandemic, this year's Rendez-Vous is back at the beloved Walter Reade Theater, Film at Lincoln Center, NY. The festival runs March 3-13.

The opening night film is a highly anticipated Berlinale winner, Claire Denis's drama, Fire, starring Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon. Other notables include Mathieu Amalric's Hold Me Tight with Vicky Krieps as a grieving French housewife, Jacques Audiard's contemporary romance Paris, 13th District, Christophe Honoré's stage adaptation of Proust going awry during Covid-19 in Guermantes, and Arnaud Desplechin's adaptation of Philip Roth's Deception, starring Léa Seydoux.

For showtimes and tickets, please visit FLC website.

Here are some notable films I was able to sample:

Deception - Arnaud Desplechin

Tackling on Philip Roth's autofiction, Arnaud Desplechin's Deception showcases Léa Seydoux's talent and charisma once again. They collaborated in his last effort, Oh, Mercy, in which she played a poor working class girl mired in crime.

Here Seydoux plays a sophisticated Londonite whose unhappy marriage drives her into the arms of Philip Roth (Denis Podalydès), a London-based American writer, also stuck in loveless marriage. In his London flat, they talk and make love. He jots down his thoughts about her in his trusty notebook for keepsake.

They break up many times yet have a strong hold on each other and can't let it go completely. His wife suspects and accuses him of having an affair and he defends himself by saying that Seydoux's character is just that, a character, a manifestation of a writer's imagination run amok.

As usual for a Desplechin film, Deception is wordy and performance driven. And despite the setting and the characters' nationalities, with the usual neurosis and everything, Deception is decidedly and predictably Desplechin and very French.

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