Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2014 at Lincoln Center

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The 29th edition of “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema”, a co-presentation of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Unifrance Films, begins early next month. 24 films —all of them released in France the past year— will be shown, most of them with the director on hand at selected screenings. The genre of choice this year is definitely domestic drama–12 of them can be tagged as such. The remaining films include five political dramas, two romantic comedies, two thrillers, two comedies and one documentary. And in contrast to most world cinemas these days, almost half of the films are directed by women! Here’s my pick of ten must-sees. The festival begins March 6 and ends March 16. Tickets are available at filmlinc.com.

onmywayThe great Catherine Deneuve plays Bettie, an aging former beauty queen spurned by her lover for a younger woman in Emmanuelle Bercot’s “On My Way.” This and other things prompt her to take a spontaneous road trip. Her adventures are interrupted by her estranged daughter (played by French pop musician Camille) who asks her to drive Bettie’s grandson to a family reunion. Bettie is forced to revisit her past, with mixed results. Deneuve was nominated for a 2014 Best Actress César Award for her performance.

Veteran director Bertrand Tavernier’s “The French Minister” is adapted from co-screenwriter Antonin Baudry’s graphic novels about working in the Foreign Ministry. A young man learns the ropes of diplomacy when he is hired as the new speechwriter for the Minister of Foreign Affairs (played by Tavernier regular Theirry Lhermitte). Julie Gayet, who plays a policy advisor, has recently been paired with French president François Hollande in the tabloids. Research? Read more