The Five French Films to Watch on TV5Monde in May

In May, TV5MONDE celebrates the upcoming 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival by showcasing a special selection of past winners and lauded features of the last 15 years. Some highlights include Phillipe Faucon's Amin, which follows the difficult life of a Senegalese immigrant who must work in France to support his family, Jeune femme making a splash just two years ago with Laetitia Dosch's eclectic and relatable lead performance, and Exils, a complex love story shot in Tony Gatlif's home nation of Algeria.

Amin (2018)

May 12 at 8.30PM ET/5:30PM PT, with English subtitles
Director's Fortnight | Cannes Film Festival 2018

A beautifully shot, elegantly written story, bubbling to the brim with intensity, held together by the solid performances of Moustapha Mbengue, Emmanuelle Devos and Mareme N'Diaye. 

Amin came from Senegal nine years ago to work in France, leaving behind his wife Aïsha and their three children. His work is his life, his friends the men who live with him in the social home. Aïsha sees her husband only once or twice a year, for a week or two, sometimes a month. She accepts this situation as a necessity: the money that Amin sends to Senegal provides for several people. One day, Amin meets Gabrielle and a relationship starts between them. At first, Amin is reserved. There is the language barrier, his modesty. So far, separated from his wife, he has led a life devoted to duty and knew he had to remain vigilant. 
"Continuing his ongoing portrayal of the realities of life for immigrants in France, through fiction films which never fail to astound in their integrity, Philippe Faucon hits the bullseye yet again with Amin." - Cineuropa 

Director: Philippe Faucon (France 2018)
Cast: Moustapha Mbengue (Amin Sow), Emmanuelle Devos (Gabrielle), Mareme N'Diaye (Aïcha) Noureddine Benallouche (Adelaiz), Moustapha Naham (Ousmane)
Genre: Drama
Run time: 1hr 31 m

Jeune femme (2017)

May 19 at 8.30PM ET/5:30PM PT, with English subtitles
Un Certain Regard, Winner Caméra d'Or | Cannes Film Festival 2017

Paula (Laetitia Dosch) is an explosion of every imperfect, and cringeworthy but lovable, haphazard type of heroine you can't help but feel for and root for.

Locked doors, empty pockets and a cat under her arm. As Paula returns to Paris after breaking-up with her long-term lover we follow her from one encounter to the next. Brimming with irrepressible but naïve energy, the young woman seems clearly determined to make a new start!

“Two mesmerising portraits for the price of one.” - Times (UK)

Director: Léonor Serraille 
Cast: Laetitia Dosch (Paula Simonian), Souleymane Seye Ndiaye (Ousmane), Grégoire Monsaingeon (Joachim Deloche)
Genre: Drama
Run time: 1h 38m

La famille Wolberg (2009)

May 16 at 8.30PM ET/5:30PM PT, with English subtitles
Director's Fortnight | Cannes Film Festival 2009

This wholesome drama is an opportunity for all the families out there to sit down and enjoy a tale of a small time Jewish mayor of northern France, maneuvering all of the ecclectic family members and townsfolk that make up his never-a-dull-moment world.

Simon Wolberg, the mayor of a small provincial town, madly in love with his wife, an overbearing father and provocative son, is obsessed with family. This obsession drives him to test his family ties, to check their strengths and weaknesses…

"Simon is testy and angular and authentic, so much so that he must have been borrowed from Ropert's real life." - Hollywood Reporter

Director: Axelle Ropert (France 2009)
Cast: François Damiens (Simon), Valérie Benguigui (Marianne), Valentin Vigourt (Benjamin), Léopoldine Serre (Delphine), Serge Bozon (Alexandre) 
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1h 35m

Travaux, on sait quand ça commence (2005)

May 23 at 8:30PM ET/5:30PM PT, with English subtitles
Director's Fortnight | Cannes Film Festival 2005

Chantal Letellier is the perfect strong and ironic comedic lead, guiding the viewer through laugh after laugh, as she brings to life a fantastical, almost musical, situational side splitter.

As a lawyer, Chantal is highly committed and always ready to defend the destitute. In romance, however, she is ice cold. One day she responds a client’s advances, but soon finds him extremely intrusive. To get rid of him, she decides to make her apartment uninhabitable with renovation work… 

"A lively comedy" - Cineuropa

Director: Brigitte Roüan 
Cast: Carole Bouquet (Chantal Letellier), Jean-Pierre Castaldi (Frankie), Didier Flamand (Thierry), Françoise Brion (Mamika), Marie Mouté (Julie)
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 1h 35m

Exils (2004)

May 14 at 8:30PM ET/5:30PM PT, with English subtitles
Palme d'Or Nominee, Winner Best Director | Cannes Film Festival

There's no place like home. Not only is this a poetic love letter to the rich and ecclectic land of Algeria, full of lush imagery and complicated romantic plot twists, but it's also an actual homecoming for director Tony Gatlif himself, as he filmed on location, returning to his home country for the first time since leaving it 43 years prior.

One day Zano suggest a crazy idea to his companion Naïma: travel across France and Spain down to Algeria, where they might ultimately come to know the land their parents once had to flee. Almost as a challenge, with music as their only baggage, these two children of the diaspora hit the road. Enamored with their freedom, they let the time slip by, intoxicated by the Andalusia's sensuality, before they finally decide to cross the Mediterranean. From one meeting to another, a techno beat to a Flamenco rhythm, Zano and Naïma reconstruct in reverse the path of the exile. Ending their travels with the promise of recapturing themselves.

“Through facial expression, gesture and deed, Gatlif manages to coax such a deep humanity out of his characters' situations that dialogue becomes superfluous."– Toronto Star

Director: Tony Gatlif (France 2004)
Cast: Romain Duris (Zano), Lubna Azabal (Naima), Zouhir Gacem (Said), Lila Makhlouf (Leila), Habib Cheik (Habib)
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1h 45m

In true festival spiritTV5MONDE will include special behind-the-scenes programming, and documentaries about the biggest names in French cinema. Explore the atmosphere on the famous Croisette and discover the stories, scandals, and controversies from past years with the Stupéfiant Cannes Special, airing May 20.  There's also a special episode of Un jour, un destin, which offers an in-depth portrait of Catherine Deneuve, an enigmatic actress who routinely pushes the boundaries of social conventions, airing May 27. 

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