France

Film Review: A Fashionable Man is Captured in ‘Yves Saint Laurent’

CHICAGO – Fashion is art, and the canvas is provided by the wearer of that fashion. The designer biography depicted in “Yves Saint Laurent” is one of tortured genius, as Saint Laurent influenced and commodified the world of clothing and accessory creation for over 50 years.

Film Review: Pieces Fit Together in Sublime ‘Chinese Puzzle’

Chinese Puzzle

CHICAGO – Life is chaos. We in the human race can all agree on that. The new film “Chinese Puzzle” allows that chaos to happen, and the results are funny, affecting and warm. Writer/director Cédric Klapisch completes his “Spanish apartment trilogy,” bringing back the characters from “L’Auberge Espagnole” and “Russian Dolls,” to place them squarely in middle age.

Film Review: Nature’s Instincts on Display in Unique ‘Augustine’

Augustine

CHICAGO – How the human species was able to survive, given its dismissal and treatment of women during certain points in history is somewhat miraculous. This film from France, “Augustine,” chronicles the relationship between a 19th century neurologist and his prized female patient, as she tries to work through a condition called nature.

Film Review: More is Preferred in ‘Love is All You Need’

Love Is All You Need

CHICAGO – Creating the lofty name for this film, “Love is All You Need” – from a translation of its original title, “Den skaldede friser” – is intently ambitious considering its source is a lyric from one of The Beatles most famous songs. The film has its moments, but cannot sustain itself in a stew of high drama and mixed emotions.

Film Review: Connection Overcomes Handicaps in ‘The Intouchables’

The Intouchables

CHICAGO – One of the big movie hits in French cinema last year, “The Intouchables,” comes to our shores with a powerful and unusual redemption tale. The true story of a wealthy but quadriplegic man, and his poor but proud caregiver is the subject of a very compelling relationship.

Interview: Director Olivier Nakache on Truth in ‘The Intouchables’

CHICAGO – One of the great international films from France, which had nine nominations at The 2012 Cesars – the French equivalent of the Oscars – is the intimate relationship film “The Intouchables.” Focusing on a handicapped man and his caregiver, it was created by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache.

Film Review: ‘Sarah’s Key’ Unlocks the Ever-Present Past

Sarah's Key

CHICAGO – The old saying, “those who cannot remember the past is doomed to repeat it” applies succinctly in “Sarah’s Key,” a Holocaust film with a French twist. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American journalist who uncovers the facts in a less-remembered incident that reverberates to now.

Interview: Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner Opens the Door With ‘Sarah’s Key’

Sarah's Key

CHICAGO – For every instance of “monumental” history, there are a series of events surrounding it that gets swept under the rug, but have the same bearing as the bigger occurrence. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner tells one of those background stories in “Sarah’s Key,” a sorrowful piece of French history during World War II.

Film Review: Beguiling, Hypnotic ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

CHICAGO – Where are the vital connections between our ancient ancestors and our creative, technological selves? Prehistoric cave drawings, the oldest ever discovered, are showcased in Werner Herzog’s new documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” The link between who they are and who are we becomes the theme of this remarkable exposition.

‘The Girl on the Train’ Favors Character Study Over Social Commentary

Girl on the Train, The

CHICAGO – Here’s a film that pulls off the tricky feat of moving quickly while taking its time. Like its rollerblading protagonist, “The Girl on the Train” is constantly on the move, hurtling headfirst into a series of interlocking relationships. Yet the director, André Téchiné, is less interested in his story’s destination than he is with the journey his characters take, and the various circumstances that lead them to make life-altering, often inexplicable choices.

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