Thursday, March 25, 2010


There is a strong sense of melancholia in the COLCOA 2010 film selection this year, which should satisfy cinephiles and Francophiles alike.

Probably more than any year before – at least the 8 editions I attended – the festival seems like a homage to some of the greatest French cultural icons, with a succession of classics and documentaries featuring names like Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Eric Rohmer, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Arielle Dombasle, Serge Gainsbourg while the DGA theaters were renamed Renoir, Truffaut and Melville.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, this will allow a younger festival crowd to learn its classics but on the other hand, the older audience probably already know these classics, especially as the Criterion collection released most of them. But more importantly, this once again restricts the global vision of French to the French new wave and film noir, emphasizing a cliché that will only satisfy the elitist readers of Cahiers du Cinéma.

While COLCOA has, throughout the years, done a good job representing mainstream French cinema with dozens of gallic comedies, romances and dramas, it still lacks this year what the French are also known for, those subversive, rough and provocative works that both repulse you and challenge you intelligence.

That said, when it comes to the current cinema, there are quite a lot of films I am eager to see, from a biopic about French music legend Serge Gainsbourg to the spy thriller Farewell featuring Guillaume Canet and Emir Kusturica and Lucas Belvaux’ psychological Rapt. The gala entry Heartbreaker featuring Romain Duris & Vanessa Paradis as well as The Concert are worthwhile entries as well and guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

Those who like “movies about feeling” – I’m using that Beavis and Butthead quote because there is also The French Kissers, a film featuring a couple French Beavis and Butthead clones – shouldn’t worry as Catherine Deneuve, Marion Cotillard, Chiara Mastroianni, Vincent Lindon & Sandrine Kiberlain are also present in the selection.

When it comes to film noir, Sphinx and Immaculate seem pretty intriguing and might worth being seen. And if you want more blood, there are even killers and zombies this year, with In their Sleep and The Horde.

Now let’s back to classics. Three documentaries, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno, Two in the Wave (about Jean-Luc Godard & François Truffaut) and Irene should give us an interesting look at a few emblematic French filmmakers, while Pierrot le Fou, Pauline at the Beach and, to some extent, La Petite voleuse will give you the opportunity to catch up.