At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
At Alliance Française on Friday, April 17: 7 ans / 7 Years (2006) by Jean-Pascal Hattu – 82 mins – France, Drama. English subtitles. Mixed or average reviews.
With Valérie Donzelli, Pablo De la Torre, Cyril Troley, Bruno Todeschini, Nadia Kaci.
Maïté faithfully visits her sexy, intense husband Vincent, when she's spotted by a pale, pointy-faced man who says he's there to visit his brother Jean. Having been advised by her nurse friend Djamila to take a lover, she consents to mechanical sex with Jean in a car. The relationship continues and intensifies. It's not till some time later that Maïté learns Jean is a guard at the prison...
– Alliance description
Variety: The devoted wife of a prisoner takes a lover in poised, well-crafted drama 7 Years. Although film features a few R-rated scenes of a sexual nature, astringent treatment by helmer Jean-Pascal Hattu, maker of several well-received shorts, drains most of the eroticism away to create a cool-toned study of a fraught emotional ménage a trois.
Like clockwork, Maite (elegantly-limbed beauty Valerie Donzelli) regularly visits the nearby prison to see her husband Vincent (brooding Bruno Todeschini) now a year into his seven-year sentence for a crime never specified here. The two are clearly crazy about each other, and exchange stolen kisses and sexy sentiments during their visits, but otherwise the closest Maite can get to Vincent is drinking in his smell off the dirty laundry she collects and washes for him each week.
When Jean (Cyril Troley), a ferrety young man who says he's visiting his brother, approaches Maite outside the prison, she gives him the brush off at first, but later accepts a lift from him. Encouraged to take a lover by her nurse friend Djamila (Nadia Kaci), Maite starts having loveless sex with Jean in his parked Renault on quiet country lanes.
Screenplay by director Hattu, Gilles Taurand and Guillaume Daporta neatly drops in its first twist at the half-hour mark, revealing that Jean is actually a guard at the prison whose protection of Vincent is making life easier for the inmate. Film settles into a bit of lull for a spell until yet another twist makes the whole set-up more interesting and considerably darker. . . .
Film Lounge, Neil Young: A decidedly unusual (yes, perhaps even bizarre) love-triangle develops between a prison-inmate serving some way into a seven-year sentence (Bruno Todeschini as Vincent), his guard (Cyril Troley as Jean) and his wife (Valérie Donzelli as Maïté) in this reasonably well-observed, strongly-acted, character-based drama . . . 7 Ans is undeniably well done, in a low-key, uninflected style (significant looks prove more eloquent than dialogue).
At Alliance Française on Friday, April 24: Les Amants réguliers / Regular Lovers (2005)by Philippe Garrel – 178 mins (a long bugger!) – France, Drama. B&W. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 76/67 out of 100.
With Louis Garrel, Clothilde Hesme, Julien Lucas.
In 1969 a group of young people get hooked on opium after living through the events of 1968 together. A crazy love affair begins between two twenty-year-olds in the group who spotted each other during those heady, hazy days of the student uprising...
– Alliance description
The New York Times, Manohla Dargis: This tender portrait of late-1960s French youth stars Louis Garrel as François, a 20-year-old Parisian struggling through the fires of revolutionary promise and its smoldering remains. Written and directed by his father, the celebrated auteur Philippe Garrel, the film begins with a handful of gangling young men sharing a pipe filled with hashish and talking of poetry. It is early 1968 in Paris, moments before the revolution or, rather, moments before that nearly forgotten flashpoint when cities across the world lighted up with radical promise and burning cars.
Soon after the film opens, François and his friends exit their narcotic haze and almost instantly take to the newly formed barricades, replacing one dream with another. Idealistic and naïve — one would-be Communard solemnly wonders if this can be “‘a revolution for the working class despite the working class” — these would-be insurgents fight with ideas and gestures that seem confused and at times haphazard, but their optimism has delivered them into a state of grace.
The older Mr. Garrel was himself all of 20 when Paris erupted that shocking May, and this achingly poignant film is a testament to that time as well as somewhat of a memento mori.
At Alliance Française on Friday, May 1: Holiday! Labor Day! No showing.
At Alliance Française on Friday, May 8: Holiday! National Ploughing Ceremony Day! No showing.