Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

French Institute Alliance Francaise Presents 'Burning Bright: New French Filmmakers'

French Institute Alliance Francaise Presents 'Burning Bright: New French Filmmakers'

This spring through summer the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) presents Burning Bright: New French Filmmakers as part of its popular CinéSalon series. In what has become an annual highlight of the FIAF calendar, the 2019 edition of Burning Bright showcases recent noteworthy films by nine exciting young filmmakers. The screenings include seven US and NY premieres with introductions by figures from the film industry, as well as appearances from directors. It is organized by FIAF film curator Delphine Selles-Alvarez with Dana Kurylyk and runs every Tuesday from May 7 to June 25.

This year's selection of films reveals the creativity and innovation of French cinema today with poignant coming of age tales told through vibrant new voices, fascinating fusions of genres such as documentary and musical theater, and many instances that blur reality and fiction in urgent ways.

The series opens on May 7 with the US premiere of Love Blooms, which transposes the themes that preoccupied the French New Wave into the 21st century, followed by a discussion with director Michaël Dacheux. Meanwhile, actor/director Judith Davis tries to reconcile France's political past and present in her uproarious Whatever Happened to My Revolution (June 18).

Coming of age tales set amidst complex family, work, and societal dynamics are at the forefront of Gaspard at the Wedding (May 14), three-time César Award-winning Shéhérazade (May 21), Father and Sons (June 4), and Raising Colors (June 11). Straddling fact and fiction, Anne Alix's Something Is Happening, shines a light on France's blue-collar workers and migrants (May 28). And The Grand Hotel Ballet breaks out of the traditional documentary mold with vivid musical theater numbers performed by its hotel school student subjects. The series ends on June 25 with Blonde Animals, an absurd and morbidly funny caper film.

A chronological listing of events follows.

US PREMIERE: Love Blooms (L'Amour Debout)
Tuesday, May 7 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Q&A with Director Michaël Dacheux following 7:30pm screening
Dir. Michaël Dacheux, 2018, 83min, DCP
With Paul Delbreil, Adèle Csech, Samuel Fasse
In French with English subtitles

With this sensitive debut feature, Michaël Dacheux films the lives and loves of young people on the streets of Paris, updating the stylistic and thematic tropes of the French New Wave to include queer desire. The film follows 25-year-old Martin, who arrives from the provinces to Paris with the hope of reuniting with his first love Léa. However, Léa is not prepared to rekindle their romance, and the two go their separate ways, facing the difficulties of realizing their dreams on their own: Léa blossoms as an artist, while Martin falls in love with a man. Nods to the filmmaker Jean Eustache with a visit to his Paris street; the warm, witty presence of actress Françoise Lebrun playing herself; and the influence of the great Eric Rohmer suffuse Dacheux's work and place it firmly within the context of the French cinema.

Presented as part of Young French Cinema, a program made possible with the support of UniFrance films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

NY PREMIERE: Gaspard at the Wedding (Gaspard va au Marriage)
Tuesday, May 14 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Dir. Antony Cordier, 2018, 105 min, DCP
With Christa Theret, Félix Moati, Laetitia Dosch, Marina Foïs, Guillaume Gouix
In French with English subtitles

Shortly after a chance meeting, Gaspard asks Laura if she will pose as his girlfriend at his father's second wedding at THE FAMILY home, a working zoo. With tigers, monkeys, and two-headed caribou on the property, THE FAMILY doesn't always draw distinctions between animal instinct and human behavior. Gaspard's beautiful younger sister even believes that she is part bear. Director Antony Cordier never allows the film to slip into romantic comedy or slapstick tropes, but rather finds authentic emotion through this eccentric tale, weaving together an unexpectedly poignant romance.

Presented as part of Young French Cinema, a program made possible with the support of UniFrance films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

US PREMIERE: Shéhérazade
Tuesday, May 21 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Dir. Jean-Bernard Marlin, 2018, 108min, DCP
With Dylan Robert, Kenza Fortas, Idir Azougli
In French with English subtitles

Recently released from juvenile detention and with few prospects, 17-year-old Zachary (Dylan Robert) returns to the slums of Marseille where he meets teen prostitute Shéhérazade (Kenza Fortas) and falls desperately and dangerously in love with her. Set in director Jean-Bernard Marlin's hometown, this astonishing feature debut, which won the 2018 César Award for Best First Feature Film and Césars for its two promising young lead actors, is based on true events. Marlin crafts a timeless love story among the urban decay and neon lights of this nocturnal city crawling with gang members, drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes.

NY PREMIERE: Something Is Happening (Il se Passe Quelque Chose)
Tuesday, May 28 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Dir. Anne Alix, 2018, 103min, DCP
With Lola Dueñas, Bojena Horackova, Serge Geairain, Mohammed Tora San Be, Dora Manticello, Alexandre Violet
In French with French subtitles

Having lost her husband and job, Irma attempts suicide by jumping into a river in Avignon only to be rescued by Dolores, a free-spirited Spaniard doing research for a gay-friendly travel guide in the south of France. Irma and Dolores, portrayed by actresses Bojena Horackova and Lola Dueñas, strike up an unlikely friendship and head off in Dolores's convertible. As they explore Provence's lesser-known landscapes, the two offer glimpses into the little-seen France of factory workers, hunters, and fishermen, all of whom portray themselves and their actual livelihoods on screen. Gradually, the focus shifts from sun-drenched hinterlands to the influx of migrants on nearby Mediterranean shores. The film takes on A HAUNTING urgency as fiction and reality collide.

Presented as part of Young French Cinema, a program made possible with the support of UniFrance films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

US PREMIERE: Father and Sons (Deux Fils)
Tuesday, June 4 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Dir. Félix Moati, 2019, 90min, DCP
With Vincent Lacoste, Benoît Poelvoorde, Mathieu Capella, Anaïs Demoustier
In French with English subtitles

Once a tight-knit family, the Zuccarelli household is starting to fray: single father Joseph has given up his medical practice to pursue an unlikely dream of becoming a writer; his grown son Joachim moons over his ex to the detriment of his master's in psychiatry; and 13-year-old Ivan is undergoing a mystical conversion. Though father and sons have grown apart they continue to look out for each other, but their good intentions result in misguided romantic set ups and inappropriate meddling. Writer/director Félix Moati finds comedy among the constantly shifting ground of family life and the abiding drive to connect.

Raising Colors (Volontaire)
Tuesday, June 11 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Dir. Hélène Fillières, 2018, 101 min, DCP
With Lambert Wilson, Diane Rouxel, Corentin Fila, Alex Descas
In French with English subtitles

Having been educated at the Sorbonne, well-bred Laure Baer (Diane Rouxel) stuns her family by joining the Navy where she works under the stern eye of Commander Rivière (Lambert Wilson). As she enters a training course with the hope of becoming the first woman to join a special ops force, Laure faces the additional challenges of sexism within the Naval Academy, as well as proving herself to her steely commanding officer. This second feature from director Hélène Fillières is a masterful tale of a woman coming into her own in a male-dominated environment.

Whatever Happened to My Revolution
(Tout ce qui me Reste de la Revolution)
Tuesday, June 18 at 4pm & 7:30pm
Dir. Judith Davis, 2018, 88 min, DCP
With Judith Davis, Malik Zidi, Claire Dumas
In French with English subtitles

In this hilarious, whip-smart comedy, first-time director Judith Davis also stars in this film examining the frustrations of a generation that came of age after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Angèle, a young urban planner based in Paris, must move in with her die-hard communist father after she loses her job. An idealist as well, Angèle refuses to give up the dream of revolution that her parents nearly realized in the protests of May 1968. But her activism comes at a high cost to her personal relationships: she has never forgiven her mother for giving up her political struggle; criticizes her sister for her bourgeois lifestyle; and has difficulty surrendering to her own romantic impulses fearing they would distract from changing the world. In presenting contemporary France through the eyes of this angry young woman, Davis satirizes the culture of capitalism and bureaucracy. While the resulting image of a society short on hope and rich in disappointment is chilling, Angèle's uproarious, heartwarming trajectory suggests possibilities in less dogmatic approaches.

Presented as part of Young French Cinema, a program made possible with the support of UniFrance films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

US PREMIERE: The Grand Hotel Ballet
(Les Petits Maitres du Grand Hotel)
Tuesday, June 25 at 4pm
Dir. Jacques Deschamps, 2018, 90 min, DCP
In French with English subtitles

At the Lesdiguières hotel school in Grenoble, students learn how to greet guests, fold tablecloths, and chop vegetables without looking. However, director Jacques Deschamps goes beyond the typical documentary treatment of filming fly-on-the-wall scenes about the challenges of the hospitality industry. His subjects also break into musical numbers in which the Lesdiguières students sing and dance about their dreams as they go about their duties in the hotel's kitchen, dining room, guest quarters, and restrooms. The result is an utterly original and totally beguiling mix of documentary film and musical comedy.

US PREMIERE: Blonde Animals (Bêtes Blondes)
Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30pm
Dir. Maxime Matray and Alexia Walther, 2018, 111 min, DCP
With Thomas Scimeca, Basile Meilleurat, Agathe Bonitzer, Youssef Hajdi, Paul Barge, Anne Rotger
In French with English subtitles

Somewhere in the woods between Paris and Tours, a former sitcom star suffering from amnesia and a wicked craving for salmon runs into a heartbroken soldier trying to sneak in to his late lover's funeral. The unlikely pair wind up on the run together after stealing a car-and a body part. The first feature from directors Maxime Matray and Alexia Walther, Blonde Animals blends psychedelic absurdity and a typically French brand of delirious black humor to a surprisingly earnest effect, turning their shaggy dog story into a meditation on lost love and the pull of the past.

About CinéSalon
In the spirit of the French ciné-clubs and literary salons, CinéSalon pairs engaging French films with social post-screening receptions. Screenings are held on Tuesdays at 4 pm and 7:30 pm in Florence Gould Hall for all of the films. Complementary wine and beer are served following each screening.

About FIAF
The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York's premiere French cultural and language center. FIAF's mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.

Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More
Branded Broadway Merch

Related Articles View More TV Stories

From This Author TV News Desk