Rendez-Vous with French Cinema

French Week in Bellingham: March 27 – 31

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the celebrated annual showcase of the newest and best in contemporary French film, comes to Bellingham once again this Spring. The 2015 slate attests to the sheer variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking. Join us at the Limelight Cinema this year and indulge in some vibrant French culture in your own backyard.


Friday, March 27 – 6:10pm, Limelight Cinema
Pierre Salvadori, France, 2014, 97m | Starring Catherine Denevue | French with English subtitles | North American Premiere!

National treasure Catherine Deneuve sinks her teeth into the role of Mathilde, a former social worker inhabiting an upscale apartment with her husband Serge (Féodor Atkine). When slovenly musician Antoine (Gustave Kervern) applies by chance for a caretaker job in their building, Mathilde insists Serge hire him, despite his rough manners and lack of qualifications. An unlikely friendship develops between the depressed custodian and the elegant retiree, whose dependence on Antoine increases as her grasp on reality begins to slip.


Friday, March 27 – 8:30pm, Limelight Cinema
Armel Hostiou, France, 2015, 85m | French and English with English subtitles | North American Premiere

Artist Barbara (Kate Moran) tires of her (very) brief relationship with Vincent (Vincent Macaigne) and leaves him behind in Paris. But the resolute Vincent follows her to America, determined to win back her affections. Shot in New York in wintertime and featuring daytime soap veteran and star of HBO’s Looking, Murray Bartlett as Barbara’s new love interest, Stubborn, like its hero, is unabashedly romantic, utterly captivating, and often uncomfortably hilarious.

IT’S HARD BEING LOVED BY JERKS (C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons)

Saturday, March 28 – 6:10pm, Limelight Cinema
Directed by Daniel Leconte | Starring Elisabeth Badinter, François Bayrou, Christophe Bigot | French with English subtitles – NR – 110 minutes

When twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were published by Denmark’s largest newspaper in 2005, European muslim groups denounced the cartoons as insulting and sacrilegious. To everyone’s surprise, the protests against the Muhammad drawings took a worldwide scale, even leading to violent demonstrations in several Muslim countries. In France, the satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo joined the conversation and reprinted the controversial cartoons, causing an uproar among the country’s growing Muslim population. Months later, the Great Mosque of Paris, the World Muslim League and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France took Charlie Hebdo’s editor Philippe Val to court for defamation and incitement of hatred.

It’s Hard Being Loved by Jerks offers a real-time account of the ensuing trial, arguably one most divisive and heated legal proceedings in recent French history. The film features lawyers, witnesses, journalists, editorial conferences, demonstrations of support, as well as the reactions of the prosecutors and Muslim leaders around the world. Given new relevance after the January 7, 2015, attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices, which left 12 dead and 11 wounded, It’s Hard Being Loved by Jerks also features candid interviews (and rarely seen behind-the-scenes moments) with acclaimed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, such as Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski, who were killed on January 7. As such, the film offers a unique perspective into the current debate around France’s founding ideals and its current realities.

Eat Your Bones (Mange tes morts)

Saturday, March 28 – 8:30pm, Limelight Cinema
Jean-Charles Hue, France, 2014, 94m | French with English subtitles | US Premiere

Eighteen-year-old Jason (Jason François), on the verge of baptism, finds his values tested when half-brother Fred (Frédéric Dorkel) returns from a 15-year prison stint anything but rehabilitated. The two, along with a third brother and a cousin, team up to steal a truckload of copper, but they prove to be inept criminals and unstable partners. Received the 2014 Prix Jean Vigo, awarded annually to one director by the Cinema of France “for their spirit of independence and extraordinary style.”

Hippocrates (Hippocrate)

Sunday, March 29 – 4:00pm, Limelight Cinema
Thomas Lilti, France, 2014, 102m | French with English subtitles | North American Premiere

Novice doctor Benjamin (Vincent Lacoste), interning in his father’s ward, makes a rookie mistake that costs a patient his life. The administration quickly covers up his wrongdoing, but the dead man’s wife begins asking questions and Benjamin’s overworked colleagues resent his nepotism. Lilti’s biting dramedy posits that “Hippocratic” and “hypocrite” share more than linguistic affinities. Nominated for seven César Awards including Best Film.

Love at First Fight (Les Combattants)

Monday, March 30 – 6:10pm, Limelight Cinema
Thomas Cailley, 2014, France, 98m | French with English subtitles

A triple winner at last year’s Cannes, where it played in the Directors’ Fortnight, Love at First Fight offers a warm and refreshing coming-of-age story. Easygoing and naïve Arnaud (Kévin Azaïs) plans to spend the summer helping his brother in the family carpentry business. But when he meets Madeleine (Adèle Haenel), a steely young woman determined on the harshest military service and preoccupied with visions of the apocalypse, he adoringly follows her to boot camp. Thomas Cailley’s first feature may feel unmistakably familiar, yet it offers two alluring and empathetic protagonists (portrayed by equally likable actors), well-wrought humor, and gorgeous cinematography by David Cailley (the director’s brother). Nominated for nine César Awards including Best Film.

Gaby Baby Doll

Tuesday, March 31 – 6:30pm, Limelight Cinema
Sophie Letourneur, France, 2014, 88m | French with English subtitles | North American Premiere

As the awkward, insecure bubbly Gaby, Lolita Chammah suggests a Gallic Greta Gerwig in one of her not-quite-formed-adult roles. Upon arriving in the country, she’s promptly discarded by her boyfriend, and as solitude is not an option, the companionship-starved Gaby seeks out a replacement. She finds it in Nicolas (Benjamin Biolay), a seemingly hirsute vagabond whose shack she invites herself to share.

Wine Selection