the traveler's resource guide to festivals & films
a site
part of Insider Media llc.

Connect with us:


Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2023

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2023
Through March 12, 2023
Film at Lincoln Center, New York, NY
Of the 21 films in this year’s annual slate of new French films—I managed to catch a baker’s dozen—several were nominated for the Cesar Awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars), and at last weekend’s ceremony a couple features actually won some of the biggest prizes. Here are reviews of 10 Rendez-Vous selections.
Revoir Paris
Revoir Paris (Music Box Films; opens June 23), Alice Winocour’s latest psychological study of individuals under duress, alternates between perceptive and cursory as it follows Mia, a Russian translator who survives a horrific mass shooting in a  Parisian café and tries to deal with its disastrous emotional and physical aftermath. As Mia, Virginie Efira won the best actress Cesar for her devastating performance, which goes a long way toward making the film seem more penetrating than it is. 
Other People's Children
Efira performs a similar miracle in Other People’s Children (Music Box Films, opens April 21) as Rachel, a schoolteacher without her own children who loves her boyfriend Ali’s young daughter Leila as if she was her own—until his ex-wife initiates a reunion that might squeeze Rachel out of their lives altogether. Rebecca Zlotowski’s delicate writing and directing provide Efira with an another showcase for her emotionally shattering acting; ideally, she should have won the Cesar for both of her draining portrayals.
The Night of the 12th
The big Cesar winner, The Night of the 12th, Dominick Moll’s absorbing police procedural, captured six awards, including best film, director and screenplay. Beginning as an investigation into a young woman who is gruesomely burned to death after leaving a friend’s house one night, it soon morphs into something completely different—the case is never solved but Moll damningly shows how misogyny permeates every facet of French society; even the magistrate who takes over the case after several years (played the excellent and long-missed Anouk Grinberg) cannot force the issue to her eternal regret.
Brother and Sister
After his disappointing last feature, Deception—a wan Philip Roth adaptation wasting both Denis Podalydès and Léa Seydoux—director Arnaud Despleschin returns with a much more characteristic drama, Brother and Sister, with Melvil Poupaud and Juliette Binoche as siblings who fell out years ago and who must try to navigate the broken shards of their dead relationship after their parents are in a horrible car accident. Despleschin dives headlong into these characters’ careening emotions with his usual encompassing sympathy and occasional bemusement, complemented by the harrowingly real performances by Poupaud and Binoche.
Smoking Causes Coughing
Quentin Dupieux is a taste I’ve never acquired, but his latest, Smoking Causes Coughing (Magnolia Pictures, opens March 31), while as absurd as his other forays into weird horror and silly genre-bashing, wears its absurdism far more entertainingly than his earlier forays into goofy nastiness. A quintet of superheroes must attend a retreat to fix their bad group dynamic, which leads to a series of moronic campfire tales that Dupieux chronicles with off-kilter amusement. Of course, having a great cast—Adèle Exarchopoulos, Vincent Lacoste, Gilles Lellouche, and especially Anaïs Demoustier—doesn’t hurt.
Diary of a Fleeting Affair
Another director whose reputation is vastly overinflated is Emmanuel Mouret, whose Diary of a Fleeting Affair is a third-rate romantic comedy aspiring to be second-rate. Two people meet and decide to be friends with benefits: until she finds love with another woman and he—already married, with children—can’t handle it. It all comes off as rather regressive and tired, something that even Woody Allen (whom Mouret desperately wants to be) would leave in a bottom drawer. Vincent Macaigne and Sandrine Kiberlain, able actors both, have never been more irritating.
The Origin of Evil
In Sébastien Marnier’s The Origin of Evil, a working-class ex-con, Stéphane, introduces herself to Serge, a wealthy patriarch, as his long-lost daughter—they tentatively bond but his wife and grown children suspect her motives because they don’t want to give up the gravy train. Maurnier’s solid direction makes his film nastily enjoyable, but even Laure Calamy’s persuasive and sympathetic Stéphane is unable to keep it from being familiar and predictable.
The Green Perfume
Similarly, Nicolas Pariser’s The Green Perfume starts out slyly when actor Martin begins investigating the mysterious death of a colleague who collapses onstage during a performance. But as he gets into the weeds—helped by Claire, an implausibly energetic author who drops everything to join him—the film starts spinning its wheels for the rest of its running time. Vincent Lacoste and Sandrine Kiberlain keep our interest as long as they can, but even they eventually lose out.
Forever Young
Forever Young is Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s autobiographical drama about her memories of being in the class of the iconoclastic director and acting teacher Patrice Chéreau—who made a provocative Wagner Ring cycle and films like Queen Margot—in all its emotional exhaustion and ultimately artistic triumph. With a magnetic Nadia Tereszkiewicz as Tedeschi’s stand-in, who goes from wide-eyed naiveté to bruised but resourceful actress, Forever Young is as alternately brilliant and exasperating as the celebrated Chéreau, played smartly by Louis Garrel, was.
Winter Boy
Finally, Christoph Honoré’s messy Winter Boy, which was also based on his own experience, features a sensitive Paul Kircher as a teenager grasping at dealing with his father’s death that may not have been an accident. Although Honoré is unable to completely avoid sentimentality, the scenes between Kircher and an equally compelling Juliette Binoche are vividly authentic.

Big Hair, Big Waves, Big Lives at DOC NYC 2022

Casa Susanna

New York’s biggest documentary film festival, DOC NYC, returns once again. Held throughout the city, DOC NYC runs November 9th to the 27th and also screens films online. The festival showcases feature length and short documentaries from around the world and all walks of life with more than 200 films and events.

The festival opens with Theater of Thought, from the legendary director Werner Herzog. Interviewing various scientists and specialists, Herzog delves into the world neuroscience and its implications on technology, human rights law, philosophy and more. Herzog will also be receiving DOC NYC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Making its USA premiere is Maya and the Wave, from director Stephanie Johnes, which follows Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira as she navigates the perils of mother nature and a male dominated sport. The first screening will be followed by a Q&A with Stephanie Johnes and Maya Gabeira.

In Who Is Stan Smith?, director Danny Lee looks at the life of Tennis and sneaker icon, Stan Smith. With archival footage and interview, this documentary looks at the man, the humanitarian, and the fashion icon that is Stan Smith.

Casa Susanna from director Sébastien Lifshitz recounts how aLatino broadcaster and his wig-making wife created a cross-dresser’s haven in the Catskills during the 1950s and 60s.

To learn more, go to:

November  9 - 27, 2022

Multiple locations in NYC and Online


Art & Cinema in a Time of Turmoil: 1962 - 1964 at Jewish Museum, Film Forum, & Lincoln Center

Andy Warhol, Film still from Empire, 1964.16 mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent), 8 hrs. 5 min. at 16 fps. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.

The Jewish Museum
is partnering with Film at Lincoln Center and The Film Forum as part of its New York: 1962 - 1964 exhibition. The Jewish Museum (1109 5th Ave &, E 92nd St) will feature work from Andy Warhol, Diane Arbus, Lee Bontecou, Chryssa, Merce Cunningham, Jim Dine, Martha Edelheit, Melvin Edwards, Dan Flavin, Lee Friedlander, Nancy Grossman, and many more as part of it’s exhibition looking at a time when New York artists were reflecting on a pivotal moment in world history shaped by the Cold War, Civil Rights, and rapidly expanding consumerism. The exhibiton runs from July 22, 2022 to January 8, 2023.

At The Film Forum “1962…1963…1964” running July 22 to August 11 highlights 35 Hollywood classics,during a moment in movie history that saw the last gasps of the Hollywood studio system, including the best work of filmmakers Stanley Kubrick, David Lean, Federico Fellini and many others.

Featured films include: 

  • A Hard Day's Night
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Jules and Jim
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Cape Fear
  • Knife in the Water
  • Contempt
  • Cleopatra
  • Diary of a Chambermaid

And more!

Acting as the other side of the cinematic coin is New York, 1962–1964: Underground and Experimental Cinema at Film at Lincoln Center. Running July 29 to August 4, this series looks at the rise of alternative, challenging, and queer cinema from the likes of  Kenneth Anger, Shirley Clarke, the Kuchar Brothers, Marie Menken, Jonas Mekas, Carolee Schneemann, Jack Smith, Andy Warhol, and others. 

To learn more, go to:

New York: 1962 - 1964
July 22 - January 8, 2023

The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave &, E 92nd St
New York, 10128

July 22 - August 11, 2022

The Film Forum
209 W Houston Street
New York, NY 10014

New York, 1962–1964: Underground and Experimental Cinema
July 29 - August 4, 2022

Film at Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

Kim's Video Resurrected Within Manhattan Alamo Drafthouse


Before the corporate scourge of Blockbuster standardized video stores to be devoid of movies too subversive, queer, foreign, or just remotely interesting, independent video stores had their own curation and feel. And few video stores could hold a candle to Kim’s Video. Comprising several locations throughout the city (but mostly the East Village), Kim’s Video was one of the all time great video stores. It was the kind of place where Russ Meyer and Ingmar Bergman sat side by side, and you could strike up a conversation with the ne'er-do-wells that haunted the place about Kenneth Anger. The St. Mark's Place location, Mondo Kim's was down the block from where Joey Ramone lived. Despite having a collection of over 50,000 films, it wasn’t enough to keep the doors open and the original Kim’s Video closed in 2012 after 26 years in business, with the library of films being moved intact to the town of Salemi, Italy.

Now rising from the ashes, Kim’s Video is returning, complete with its gargantuan collection of films, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lower Manhattan (28 Liberty Street, Suite SC301). The new Kim’s Video will have an invite-only grand reopening on March 31st, with a rare public appearance by Youngman Kim himself. Now that the collection of films is acquired by Alamo Drafthouse, the films shall also be available for rental from the theater.

To learn more, go to:

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lower Manhattan
28 Liberty Street, Suite SC301
New York, NY 10005

Newsletter Sign Up

Upcoming Events

No Calendar Events Found or Calendar not set to Public.