Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2024: Preview

Lead Critic; Brooklyn, New York (@floatingartist)

Taking place from February 29 through March 10, this popular annual festival showcases the verve, creativity, and depth of contemporary French cinema in a variety of genres.

This year's opening night film is the critical and box office hit The Animal Kingdom, starring Romain Duris and Adèle Axarchopoulos. Others in the lineup include Little Girl Blue with Marion Cotillard; Book of Solutions, Michel Gondry's first new film in eight years; and loads of films by talented newcomers, such as Ama Gloria by Marie Amachoukeli, Banel & Adama by Ramata-Toulaye Sy and Nora El Hourch's Sisterhood (HLM Pussy).

With the recent critical success of Justine Triet's Anatomy of a Fall and Tran Anh Hung's The Taste of Things, French cinema is having a moment with American audiences. As always, Rendez-Vous provides the glimpse of what's hot in French cinema here and now.

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is sponsored by Villa Albertine, TV5 Monde, Maison Occitanie, FIAF, The Plaza, New York

Dustin Chang is a freelance writer. His musings and opinions on everything cinema and beyond can be found at

Little Girl Blue - Mona Achache

Filmmaker Mona Achache recreates her mother Carole through Marion Cotillard in understanding her suicide, in a fascinating docu-drama, Little Girl Blue. In the beginning of the film, Achache hands her mother's jeans, t-shirt, blue cardigan, glasses and a perfume to Cotillard, who accepts quietly and transforms into Carole, a writer and photographer who left a mountain of journals, photographs and audio recordings.

Achache uses a massive studio wall space to painstakingly catalog her mother's life, like a crime investigator. Carole, who herself had a tumultuous relationship with her prolific writer mother, Monique, hung out with other literary giants, such as Jean Genet, Maguerite Duras and William Faulkner in 50s Paris.

The film tells the abuse perpetuated by men (all coincidentally named Jean/Juan) and how it reverberates through generations. A little heavy on the use of stock footage to drive home the points, but Cotillard's committed performance on screen, as she fluffs the lines and retries under her breath, are all documented as the process. It's a fascinating, personal art therapy of a film.

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Michel GondryMona AchacheNicolas PhilibertRendez-Vous with French Cinema

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