SAUVER OU PÉRIR (2018)

A film by  Frédéric Tellier

Cast:  Pierre Niney, Anaïs Demoustier, Vincent Rottiers 

English title: Through the fire

Franck is a firefighter from Paris. He saves people. He lives in the barracks with his wife who is pregnant. He is happy. During an intervention on a fire, he sacrifices himself to save his men. When he wakes up in a burn treatment center, he realizes that his face has melted in the flames. He will have to relearn how to live, and accept to be saved in his turn. The question is will he accept. 

With l’affair SK1, Frédéric Tellier had plunged us with a realism striking in the daily life of an elite police. He plunges himself again into the realism but this time with the firefighter. This story based on a true story takes us with this nice looking man and his beautiful wife who has everything, Tellier here make sure that there will be two stories a love story and a man where is world is going to collapse and will struggle to get back on his feet. At the beginning you see the life of the fireman Franck Pasquier (Pierre Niney) who lives with his wife at the fire station in their own quarters the everyday life that Frank has to go through and the constant training in order to keep in shape. Frank here study to be a fireman and has to have his certificate in order to complete his training. Niney is is remarkable he trained with real firefighter (is a matter of fact the film was shot in the real firehouse) took on 19 pounds of muscles to play the part because the equipment that the firefighter has on them is about 50 pounds so you have to be in shape plus the pounds that he had to lose for the other half of the film. The film tells the story of Frank in stage for his recovery. The things he had to go through in order to get better. The emotional ride of what is going on inside himself and with his family. And finally the road to recovery. Franck is not a fireman like the others. Very demanding of himself and his colleagues, he is also ambitious and the bar is set as high as it can be for him. Training, discipline, he is a paramedics until he gets to the next level the one he is training for to become a firefighter. He knows the sacrifice he has to make even looking at his friend who can’t get there do to some health problem. But suddenly his world is going to crash. Did he believe to be invincible enough to brave the dangers to save his colleagues? Did he make the mistake of the beginner? Has he misjudged the risks? Frédéric Tellier brilliantly shows Franck’s double physical and psychological decent and the struggle to get back to the road of recovery. Which will bring us to the final act love that perishes or love that saves? Here is a story that is moving as well that will raise a lot of question beautifully told by Frédéric Tellier. 

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L’INTERVENTION (2019)

A film by  Fred Grivois

Cast: Alban Lenoir, Olga Kurylenko, Sébastien Lalanne

1976 in Djibouti, the last French colony. Terrorists kidnap a school bus and get stuck at a hundred meters from the border of Somalia. France sends on the spot to take care of the situation a sniper special unit of the Gendarmerie. This team, who is heterogeneous and undisciplined, will conduct a high-risk operation that will mark the birth of the GIGN.

The intention of the filmmaker is double sided. This is obviously to pay tribute to the men in the shadow of the birth of the GIGN, and then to portray a long sequence of pure suspense and action, rather than to dwell on the complex geopolitical reality of this part of Africa. where the presence of France in 1976 is questionable.

Here is a team of gendarmes that are snipers they called them the special unit team at the time, who are going to Africa to try to save the school bus full of children by the border of Somalia and the french side. Here is an elite team that is waiting the order from Paris to take assault and get back the children safe back home. But the problem of bureaucracy in France that can’t take a decision because they are scared to start a war. So this team of snipers will prove themselves to be effective. This piece of history is not know in my country until now. The film is a beautiful tribute to those snipers who are expendable but not killing machine just trying to save life in any condition and never underestimate the price of every lives they will take away from the enemy camp. Here the director has master the suspense with an interesting casting, plus some great action scenes. And that is how the GIGN ( (Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale)  is born. GIGN in english National Gendarmerie Intervention Group. GIGN has been involved in over 1,800 missions and rescued more than 600 hostages, making it one of the most experienced counter-terrorism units in the world.

L’INCROYABLE HISTOIRE DU FACTEUR CHEVAL (2019)

A film by  Nils Tavernier

Cast:  Jacques Gamblin, Laetitia Casta, Florence Thomassin 

English title: The ideal Palace

At the end of the 19th century, Joseph Ferdinand Cheval (Jacques Gamblin), is a simple postman who travels every day at least 32 kilometers a day from villages to villages. One day his wife dies of a sickness and Cheval is along until he meets the woman of his life who will give him a daughter that is going to love more then anything and then Cheval throws himself into a crazy idea : build her with his own hands, an incredible palace. This ordinary man will not give up and will devote 33 years to building an extraordinary work: “The Ideal Palace”.

I didn’t know this story at all as I am living in the country where this Palace was built. Here Nils Tavernier wishes today to draw from this story a lesson in life, and pay tribute to the man by filming the poetry of his gesture. Here is a beautiful love story out of the ordinary. Here is a man who is a postman and walks 32 kilometers a day when suddenly his wife past. His son goes living with some relative in Lyon. One day Cheval meets this woman that he falls in love with and marries her later on. Cheval was a loner spent most of his days along delivering the mail . When his daughter came to this world and old dream that he forgot about came up again and decided to build her with his own hands an ideal Palace. He created this architecture that resisted 2 world wars and even it still stands today. Million of tourists has seen it. The nature, the stones, the lime and Joseph’s knowledge of kneading bread, certainly helped him to realize and finalize his project. Jacques Gamblin who plays cheval is perfect for the role, he embodied the character with grace. Of course it was not easy for Cheval throughout his life.  Laetitia Casta who plays his Cheval’s wife who is devoted and supported him all through his project is also perfect for the role. A terrific film about this stubborn man who realized his dream.

L’ORDRE DES MÉDECINS (2019)

A film by David Roux

Cast: Jérémie Renier, Marthe Keller, Zita Hanrot

English Title: The order of the doctors. 

Simon, 37, is a doctor. The hospital is his life. He works around diseases and see death every day in his department of pneumology and has learned to protect himself. But when his mother is hospitalised , Simon is going to find out that there is a fine line between the intimate and the professionalism, as his universe is going to be turned upside down. 

Davis Roux comes from a long  line of doctors in his family. He went to the Fémis the best cinema school in France. His brother who works in the hospital found out that his mother was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. However before that David followed his brother for 4 days to get the fell of what it is to be a doctor and what is his job consist of. Later Davis wrote the screenplay in a workshop at the Fémis. It was Nadine Lamari, his supervisor, and her classmates who pushed him to admit what was really the subject of the film. it became evident it was about the death of his mother. 

The film is in 3 parts you see Simon as a doctor doing his daily routine. The second part in civilian clothes where he takes care of his mother. the third part Simon comes back as a doctor and does what he does best get in his daily routine. 

The film is about the mother an the son’s relation between two human being and a lot of question is going to surface. What if a father believes that his son, a doctor and is powerless against death, can he save the wife and mother? What if the brothers and sisters do not see a favorable outcome and the fear of losing her. Why she does not want to do a scanner to see what is going on in depth? Why does she want to give up? How to handle this in a Jewish family, The film here makes you think about your mortality even question your religion. I have lost two cousins to cancer. It is a story that I can relate to. It is the story of his mother who didn’t want to fight anymore. Here is David Roux first feature film, overwhelming with humanity with a great actor like Jérémie Renier.

L’HEURE DE LA SORTIE (2019)

A film by  Sébastien Marnier

Cast:  Laurent Lafitte, Emmanuelle Bercot, Luàna Bajrami 

English title: School’s out

when Pierre Hoffman joined the prestigious college of Saint Joseph he discovered, that the 9th grade has some hostility and a dull violence. Is it because their French teacher has just thrown himself out the window? Because they are a class of gifted children? Because they seem terrified by What the future holds ? From curiosity to obsession, Pierre will try to decode their secret …

We all know that David Lynch has inspired many directors with no exception with Sébastien Marnier who in turn tries to do a film like Lynch. The theme here is simple it has an French quandary with an apocalyptic feel.

The story starts with a substitute teacher, 40 something Pierre Hoffman (Laurent Lafitte), who is put in charge of a class of gifted adolescent students after their teacher suddenly and inexplicably commits suicide by leaping out of a classroom window. Here is a group of student who are behaving strangely and is giving a hard time to their substitute teacher. Pierre starts investigate and things are going to get weird. It is not an easy film to make, it is a psychological thriller with dream sequences and unusual music attached to it. Here are some teanager who has lost faith in the adult and carry the weight on their shoulder. To them it is too late. As Pierre is trying to investigate in depth it is obvious they are up to something but what? The film maintains its tension from beginning to end and yes it is a slow cooker thriller with a bang.

EDMOND (2019)

A film by Alexis Michalik

Cast:  Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner 

December 1897, Paris. Edmond Rostand is in late 20’s but already has two children and a lot on his plate. He has not written anything plays in two years. He then suddenly he proposes to the great Constant Coquelin a new play, a heroic comedy, but has not written it yet. But as he goes along nobody believe in the play. The title: “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

Man what a cool film, it moves fast and you are not going to be bored. Here is a young writer who has writer’s block when suddenly it comes to him through his friend who cannot speak to women and little by little he started to write this play that has to be finish by the end of the year. As the play gets written the actors started to see that they had this beautiful yet successful play. Michalik here adapted this play into the screen beautifully well. It is a joy to see this comedy taking off right from the start. The casting is absolutely unbelievable and fun to watch. It is a story based on a true story on how the play came about. You see Edmond (Thomas Solivérès) who just saw the brothers Lumiére’s first film Edmond though there will be no more play. But he decide to write an other play another masterpiece. Once he got everybody excited he needed some kind of funding and yes you will not believe who produced that play. It all comes together but with many obstacles. The director manages to capture the contagious energy of the actors. Also Michalik does not like to slow the film down. It is an homage to the author and the famous play, it is a declaration of love to the theater, the actors and the magic that shines on the screen. The play Cyrano de Bergerac has been played 20,000 times and the most successful play in France. Do not miss this one.

UN BEAU VOYOU (2018)

A film by  Lucas Bernard

Cast:  Charles Berling, Swann Arlaud, Jennifer Decker

English: A handsome Thief

Commissioner Beffrois waits for retirement with mixed enthusiasm when a bunch of stolen paintings catches his attention. Is it the elegance of the process, the different painting that are stolen, the audacity of the crime or the cat and mouse game that is going to take place. Is the Commissioner going to catch this thief before he retire?

A investigation jubilant in the world of art. It is a surprise for the first film of the year the tone, the dialogue, the story, the chemistry with the actors shot in Paris what more do you want? It looks like a bit from the film to catch a thief from Alfred Hitchcock, rewriting in today’s context. Here is the commissioner who is going to retire soon but is fascinated by the thief who is stealing work of art in the apartments in Paris. He has some issues about his sons who are leaving the apartment and the fact that he is going to retire which he won’t be able to work with his colleague, it looks like he is going to miss that. Charles Berling gives his character a facetious tone, with shining eyes and a quirky humor. Swann Arlaud brings the touch of mystery, discretion and sympathy to his character. You even kind of like him. There are a nice chase on the top of the roof of the apartments in Paris. A nice film by the first time director Lucas Bernard.