What to Watch in May
Each month, FrenchFlicks selects the best French films available on Canal+ International and Studiocanal through DIRECTV. May is an exciting month, as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Cannes Film Festival will be broadcast, along with several films with the French Riviera as a backdrop. Such films include the cult farce, La cité de la peur, and the Hollywood feel-good comedy, Quatre Etoiles.
FILMS (Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 PM EST)* :
SPECIAL PROGRAMMING DURING CANNES FESTIVAL FROM MAY 14TH TO MAY 25TH
LE PETIT POUCET (2001) on 05/03/2019
Somewhere in Europe at the end of the 16th century… Poucet, the last-born to a peasant family, is a scrawny, unloved child. A punching-bag for his brothers, his distress is often cause for mockery. Times are hard, war devastates the region. A marauding band of soldiers pillages the family farm.[
Famine drives Poucet’s parents to abandon their children.
Left to their own devices in an enormous forest, the children fight with wolves, and then with the soldiers, lead by the horrible Captain-Iron-Leg. But, most of all, they must confront the beast who haunts Poucet’s nightmares: the Ogre, child-eater. Held prisoner, the children escape from the monster’s den with the help of one his daughters.
Demonstrating heroic courage, Poucet steals the monster’s magic boots and puts an end to the war by becoming the king’s messenger. This journey of initiation, coupled with an exciting adventure, sees Poucet win the respect of his family by overcoming his fears.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - Although a family film, Le petit poucet is filled with complex themes, dark undertones, and criticisms of adults and the adult. And surprise, Catherine Deneuve makes an appearance as "La Reine".
EDY (2005) le 05/07/2019
Edy is one of the best insurance salesmen around – especially when it comes to helping some of his clients get their hands on the life insurance of their spouses. But, it’s been a while now that Edy has lost his desire to live. When he tries to put an end to it, fate plays a strange trick on him. Not only does he survive, but he finds himself with a corpse on his hands. Edy has only one solution – but yet again, fate makes fun of him.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - François Berléand, Philippe Noiret and Marion Cotillard form a great trio of talent at the heart of an extraordinarily written story that is quite reminiscent of the work of Michel Audiard.
DANSE AVEC LUI (2006) on 05/10/2019
Three years after a dramatic break-up that transformed her existence, Alexandra learns to live and love again thanks to an unsettling encounter with an older horseman and his stallion.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - Every girl goes through at least one horse obsessed phase throughout their young lives. Relive yours on a journey with Alexandra as she picks herself up, dusts herself off and after all she's been through, gets in the saddle once again.
LA CITE DE LA PEUR (1994) on 05/16/2019
This French comedy parodies horror movies and detective films. It is set at the Cannes Film Festival. There, Odile, a sincere publicist, tries to promote the horror movie "Red Is Dead." The movie tells of a killer in a welding mask who wields a hammer and sickle with deadly results. The trouble begins when a real killer with the same m.o. begins knocking off projectionists at market screenings. In true publicist form, Odile immediately brings the film's star to the festival. To protect him, Odile hires a handsome bodyguard. Odile finds herself romanced by a police commissioner. Meanwhile a stranger lurks in the distance.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - A 90's French version of Scary Movie with all the slapstick outlandish debauchery we could ask for? Yes, please and thank you.
QUATRE ETOILES (2004) on 05/17/2019
Franssou, a charming Parisian English teacher, who shares part of her life with a boring middle-aged lover, dreams of another life. So, when she unexpectedly inherits 50,000 euros, she grasps the opportunity and goes to the French Riviera in order to take it easy in luxury. In the four-star hotel where she rents a room she comes across Stéphane, a strange guy who is in the process of arranging Elton John's next coming to the place. Intrigued by the noisy ostentatious fellow, she follows him until she finally comes into contact with him. She knows Stéphane is at bay and decides to take advantage of it.
Why FrenchFlicks Likes It – A free and frolicsome romantic comedy starring a charmingly relatable Isabelle Carré, a diabolical José Garcia and an absolutely hysterical François Cluzet.
ESTHER KAHN (2000) on 05/21/2019
London at the end of the 19th century.
Esther Kahn lives in the East End, child of Jewish immigrants.
They all work in the family’s tailor shop. Esther is slow and closed in on herself, she voices no opinions about anything, no feelings for anyone; Esther is stone.
It’s when she goes to the theater that Esther “awakens” and comes to life, for she doesn’t look at plays in the same way that others do, she lives them.
She decides to become an actress.
Thus begins her apprenticeship in the theater and the world which culminates one night, on stage, when she suddenly feels the effects of twenty years of repressed existence surge from within her.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - As film and theater buffs, we love a good ode to acting. This particular protagonist is a fascinating study of just how far a true actor will go for their craft.
TROP BELLE POUR TOI (1989) on 05/23/2019
A car dealer, well-to-do and with a beautiful wife, finds himself attracted to his rather plain new temporary secretary. Despite her own commitments she feels the same and the two soon embark on an affair. Though it seems it has happened before, his wife finds this particular entanglement of her husband's very difficult to accept.
Why FrenchFlicks Likes It – This isn't your average melodramatic tale of secret affairs. You laugh at inappropriate times and are on the cusp of feeling deeply moved throughout. All the while, Bertrand Blier moves back and forth through dream-like and reality based filming styles, adding an extra dimension to this one of a kind classic.
BRIGADE ANTIGANGS (1966)
Genre : Crime/thriller
Director : Bernard Borderie
French tale about cat and mouse "game" between cops of the Homicide Squad and a gang of professional robbers, where wild goose chases follow after wild goose chases. And, one day, the cops succeed in catching the leader of the gang after a payroll truck robbery. The leader, Sartet (Raymond Pellegrin) and one of his men are under arrest and brought to the police headquarters. But his daughter tells the story to his boyfriend, himself the leader of a petty hoods gang. And the thugs decide to attack the police headquarters - the mighty Quai des Orfèvres - to escape the father of their leaders's fiancée. But the attempt fails, and the young gangsters decide to kidnap the police superintendent's brother, a soccer star, in exchange of the discharge of the big shot.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - When are we not in the mood for a heist film? Everyone knows
The Great Bank Robbery, Take the Money and Run and Ocean's 11, but this month, try something a little off the beaten cops and robbers path.
LE FAUVE EST LACHÉ (1959)
Genre : Film noir
Director : Maurice Labro
Paul Lamiani, an ex-gangster who has become a hero of the Resistance, has now settled down (so he thinks) for a quiet life with his family in the restaurant business. But the French secret service need him for one more mission, and when he refuses, they frame him and set up his escape from the police. It turns out his assignment is to spy on an old wartime buddy who may be trading in secret documents, and Lamiani is soon caught between his loyalty to a friend, the secret service who expect him to complete his mission, and the ruthless gang who want the documents at all costs. Add to the mix a two-timing blonde (Estella Blain) and you're in business...
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - This spy drama features Lino Ventura in a role he was born to play. A popular crime thriller of the 50's and 60's.
LES SPECIALISTES (1985)
Genre : Adventure, action
Director: Patrice Leconte
During a routine transfer of prisoners from one jail to another, an accused cop killer, Paul Brandon, is temporarily chained to a con with only a year left to serve, Stéphane Carella. Paul bolts pulling the reluctant Stéphane with him. They escape to a farmhouse whose lovely owner Laura lost her husband to a cop's bullet; so she agrees to assist them. Once out of their chains, Paul proposes the burglary of a casino owned by the Mafia. Stéphane and Laura agree, but Stéphane soon learns that Paul is an undercover cop whose burglary plot is a ruse to start a war between rival gangs. Can they avoid detection? And what about the heist?
Why FrenchFlicks Likes It – Breaking away from his usual comedies (Les Bronzés, Viens chez moi, j'habite chez une copine), Patrice Leconte achieves new success with this rhythmic action movie that was a huge box office hit, with more than 5 million tickets sold.
*All films are in French without subtitles.