What to Watch in April
Each month, FrenchFlicks selects the best French films available on Canal+ International and Studiocanal through DIRECTV. In April, we experience everything from movie musicals, to thrillers to one of the most popular comedies of the year 2000, Podium. As a cherry on top, La cuisine au beurre, a special post war 60's classic featuring Bourvil and Fernandel, is served up on the menu.
FILMS (Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 PM EST)* :
JEANNE ET LE GARÇON FORMIDABLE (1998) on 04/02/2019
Jeanne has an appetite for love that can never be satisfied. Lovers at every corner of her life she is still in search of that "one". When an impromptu tryst on the subway with Olivier gives her butterflies like never before she finally finds herself in love, truly in love. Yet she continues her affairs but now with a realization that they are not what she wants, she wants Olivier. Olivier reluctant to continue the romance with Jeanne for fear of hurting her or worse yet her seeing him at his worst. Olivier reveals to Jeanne he has AIDS from a bad needle during his heroine use. This however does not scare Jeanne off and her love for him turns her into a new person who wants to care for him, but that is not what he wants.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - A heartfelt tale of complicated love, Jeanne is the alluring and uplifting type of heroine you root for. Carrying an emotionally heavy load, the script adds whimsy with a lively dose of humor.
UN AMI PARFAIT (2006) on 04/05/2019
Julien Rossi wakes up in a hospital bed and finds he has no memory of the events that left him in a coma in the early hours of New Year's Day. Was he attacked? Or was his head injury caused in an accident? This is only the first of many mysteries Julien has to resolve.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - A thriller that spices things up with ambiguous and disturbing characters, all supported within an icy atmosphere that makes use of the dreary Swiss winter landscapes.
C'EST LA VIE (2001) on 04/16/2019
A festive outdoor wedding replete with a raucous medical-oriented fashion show (picture chic nurses waving giant syringes and doctors stylishly flaunting their white lab coats) is just one of the joyous events arranged by the wonderful, charismatic group living at a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients. Dimitri is the newest arrival, a man in his late forties who looks far too young to die. With his hair coiffed into a shaggy rock-star look, and his gleaming azure eyes sparkling, it is hard to believe that Dimitri is counting down his last days of life. When he meets Suzanne a gorgeous blond volunteer nurse, he feels one last pang for life and love, and with careful understanding she reciprocates.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - Featuring a merry band of lively and hilarious cast members, C'est la vie is a real crowd pleaser. The moving undertones of Max's (Jean Pierre) story juxtaposed with unpredictable kooky characters keeps you emotionally invested from scene to scene.
JE SUIS UN ASSASSIN (2004) on 04/19/2019
A thriller writer having difficulty getting published accepts to murder the ex-wife of a famous author in exchange for a considerable amount of money. He hopes that this foray into crime will be just a momentary digression. But blood is a journey of no return.
Why FrenchFlicks Likes It – Some Hitchcock references (i.e. the opening scene where the writers first meet on a train from Paris nodding to Strangers on a Train), a slow build up of events and skilled editing make this a worthwhile thriller.
MONSIEUR N (2003) on 04/23/2019
How can Napoleon, the man of war and pioneering military strategist, meekly accept being locked up on a storm-lashed rock in the middle of the Atlantic ocean? What system of defence, and thus of attack, can he dream up to loosen his jailers' grip? On Saint Helena, the far-flung island chosen by his enemies, Napoleon fights a mysterious battle, his last and most important, and one that History has kept secret all these years?
Why FrenchFlicks Likes It – Get out your fanciest goblets of wine and enjoy a history lesson on Napoleon Bonaparte like no other. Focusing on his final years of imprisonment in the island of St. Helena, the stakes are high and intrigue, mystery, and eye popping shots of the rocky coast of South Africa is all a part of the package.
GANGSTERDAM (2017) on 04/26/2019
Ruben, Durex and Nora are three students in their last year of college. Ruben has already failed his exams once due to hislack of self-confidence. He's been as useless with Nora, to whom he dares not confess his feelings. And his childhood friend Durex, the most embarrassing guy in the world, is no help at all. When Ruben discovers that Nora is a dealer and that she's going to Amsterdam to bring back a new kind of drug, Ruben bucks up the courage to accompany her. This trip to Amsterdam is an ideal situation in which to at last seduce Nora. But his bad luck: Durex comes along for the ride. While the trio discover Europe's craziest capital, their lives really get complicated when they realize that the drug they've just picked up belongs to one of Amsterdam's most dangerous gangsters. Very quickly, Ruben, Durex and Nora will understand that to get their old lives back, they must stop being nerds in order to become true heroes.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - Who's not in the mood to see Kev Adams smuggle drugs in Amsterdam, and get swept up in Dutch mafia crimes all to impress a girl? There's no limit to the ludicrosity in this story of drug mules, prostitutes and pot.
PODIUM (2004) on 04/30/2019
Name: Frédéric Bernard. Profession: Claude François, the cult French singer of the seventies. Yes, his job is to take the place of Claude François, the best of his generation. He’s François’s singing, dancing look-alike, with a choir of four backup singers. His ambition, to the great displeasure of his wife Véro, is to win the Look-alike Night competition, broadcast at prime time on a major network. Caught between his desire for glory and the true love he feels for his wife, torn between his singing idol and Véro, he must make a choice. A burlesque film about look-alikes, a fable about the seventies, a nostalgic stroll through a wax museum of idols of popular culture, “Podium” tells a tale of desperation in a funny way: how the desire to become famous has become the religion of modern times.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - Disco is not dead! And we're okay with that. Benoit Poelvoorde does an admirable job of playing the applause hungry underdog with hilarious cringe-worthy moments throughout.
LA CUISINE AU BEURRE (1963)
Genre : Comédie
Director : Gilles Grangier
After thirteen years in Germany, Fernand is coming back to his wife and his restaurant. But since his disparition, his wife as made her life with a norman chef, sympathetic but a specialist of butter's cooking when Fernand cook only with oil!
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - One of the rare opportunities we have to see Bourvil and Fernandel, two acting powerhouses of the post-war period in France, on the same screen. This Provencal farce is a sure win, thanks to the clever and jovial banter between the two loveable characters.
L'HORLOGER DE SAINT-PAUL (1974)
Genre : Drama, thriller
Director : Bertrand Tvernier
Michel Descombes is a watchmaker in the district of Saint-Paul, Lyons. He lives quietly, alone with his almost grown-up son, Bernard. One day, the police come and say Bernard murdered a factory owner. Superintendent Guiboud asks Michel for help. But Michel realizes how little he knows about his son. He also starts to feel he is unable to blame his son.
Why FrenchFlicks likes it - Bertrand Tavernier returns to his hometown of Lyon and delivers a luminous drama on the unique ties that unite father and son. Philippe Noiret is extraordinary in the lead role.
Genre : Comédie, action
Director: Philippe de Broca
Victor Vautier is incorrigible: he's in constant motion, working several cons at once, using different names and changing disguises. He's charming and outrageous, incapable of uttering a sentence that isn't embellished or an outright lie. His life goal is to make enough money to build a sea wall to protect Mont-Saint-Michel. Charlotte, a parole officer, shows up: she's young and seems taken in by Victor. He discovers she lives above the Senlus Museum, where her parents are the curators. With two pals he decides to steal a priceless El Greco triptych and then ransom it back to the cultural ministry. What will Charlotte do when she realizes he's used her to make a fortune?
Why FrenchFlicks Likes It – We love a charming villain. Imagine a funny French James Bond with ridiculous subtext and a larger than life persona.
*All films are in French without subtitles.