The following French films are included in the lineup of 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival:
A FAITHFUL MAN (L’HOMME FIDELE), directed by Louis Garrel, screening on April 12 (6:30pm, Roxie Theater) and April 17 (6pm, YBCA Screening Room)
Louis Garrel stars in his own buoyant romantic farce as Abel, sweetly passive and buffeted by others’ whims. His lover, Marianne (Laetitia Casta), dumps him for his friend Paul, only to come back into the picture years later, while Paul’s winsome younger sister Eve (Lily-Rose Depp) acts out on a years-in-the-making obsessive crush. Garrel wrote the screenplay with the legendary Jean-Claude Carrière (Belle de Jour, 1967), one that takes advantage of the actor’s considerable charisma. Garrel’s diffident, boy-man charm is at full wattage as the triangle plays itself out with gentle hilarity.
PAPER FLAGS (LES DRAPEAUX DE PAPIER), directed by Nathan Ambrosioni, screening on April 20 (9:15pm, Roxie Theater) and April 21 (7pm, Creativity Theater)
Displaying a mature style and sensibility despite his age, Paper Flags director Ambrosioni (at 19, one of cinema’s youngest directors of a full-length feature ever) offers a complex and compelling story of sibling tensions. Vincent (shape-shifting character actor Guillaume Gouix), recently released from prison, immediately heads to his sister Charlie’s (Noémie Merlant) modest home. The film carefully tracks Charlie’s sense of unease around her brother’s return—she pretends he’s just an acquaintance when she’s out with friends —until a visit from their father causes their simmering resentments to boil over.
CLOSE ENEMIES (FRERES ENNEMIS), directed by David Oelhoffen, screening on April 21 (4:30pm, Victoria Theatre) and April 22 (6pm, Victoria Theatre)
International superstars Matthias Schoenaerts (SFFILM-supported The Mustang, 2019) and Reda Kateb (The White Knights, Festival 2016) headline this gritty crime drama from David Oelhoffen (Far From Men, Festival 2015). Though Manuel (Schoenaerts) and Driss (Kateb) grew up in the same working-class Paris suburb, the present day will find them on opposite sides of the law after a brutal shooting of one of Driss’s informants. In addition to its tense cat-and-mouse scenario, Close Enemies pays careful attention to its characters and their interpersonal relationships, especially the quandary of being a police officer investigating one’s own community.
CLAIRE DENIS: TRIBUTE + “HIGH LIFE”: April 11 (8pm, Victoria Theatre)
Join us for a very special onstage tribute and conversation with acclaimed filmmaker Claire Denis, in which she will go in-depth on her inspirations and views on cinema. The conversation will be followed by a screening of Denis’ new film High Life starring Robert Pattinson, André Benjamin, and Juliette Binoche.
SAM’S DREAM (LE REVE DE SAM) by Nölwenn Roberts, in SHORT 6: FAMILY FILMS, screening on April 13 (10am, Castro Theatre)
Sometimes the key to growing up is staying young at heart. These inventive and touching stories imagine unsuspecting friendships and clever innovations, while capturing the joy and sadness universal to all. Travel with the whole family to Brazil, the moon, and even your own backyard in this lively and heartwarming collection of stories. Works range from new student work to Academy Award and Emmy-nominated shorts, represented by noted studios like Cartoon Saloon and Google Spotlight Stories.