EXFILTRÉS (2019)

A film by  Emmanuel Hamon

Cast:  Swann Arlaud, Finnegan Oldfield, Jisca Kalvanda 

English: Exfiltrate

A true story, Rakka, Syria, spring 2015. Faustine opens her eyes to the hell she has thrown herself into with her 5 year old son. In Paris Sylvain the husband of Faustine is disturb by the news of his friend’s wife who is now sent a distress message to her husband. Two activists will attempt to extract Faustine and her son which is going to be a high risk operation.

Exfiltrated, inspired by an incredible true story, shows the resourcefulness of a group of young people to exfiltrate the woman that fell into a pitfall. Rakka Syria a hostile environment and trying to exfiltrate a young woman and her son not only it is going to be delicate but also very dangerous. A French woman and her young kid who made this mistake to be with the dangerous Daesh. We learn early on in the story that this young woman who is social worker in the ghetto converted to Islam a few month back. She naively believed in the promise by Daesh to make Syria a new world. There is a difference with Faustine here she is already married, most women who comes is promessed an husband. Most men who convert to Islam and see that is not what they sign up for seems to escape without a hitch. But no women can escape once there are in. It has not been done. They are killed or if they want to stay alive they do what they are told. Also it is costly to get them out. Sylvain and his two activists with the help of his boss are going to try the impossible because the state does not want to do a thing, well it is too risky for them. Seriously? Hamon has shot this film like a documentary and it works here. An ensemble cast to does their job well here. The director does its job here for a subject that is delicate but is not going to be solved any time soon.

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GRACE À DIEU (2019)

A film by François Ozon

Cast:  Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud 

English title: By the grace of god

Alexandre lives in Lyon with his wife and children. One day, he discovered by pure luck that the priest who abused him at the boys scouts, and has sexually abused children. He then embarks on a fight, quickly joined by François and Emmanuel, also victims of the priest, to tell their stories to the media But the repercussions and consequences of these confessions will leave no one unscathed.

Here is a director who can jump from genre to genre making movies. He always surprises audiences with the subject matter and always writes his films. Grâce à Dieu is based on the real case of Father Bernard Preynat who in 2016 was charged with sexually assaulting around 70 boys in Lyon. Two things here the pain of the three man that the priest inflicted on those victims and the second he film criticises the church’s silence on paedophilia. Great cast in this one Melvil Poupaud is Alexandre a wealthy Lyonnais banker who has found success with his wife Marie (Petit) and five kids. Dénis Menochet is less cautious about his confessions, bringing an explosive emotional part for this actor. Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud) who claims his whole life has been traumatised by what happened, making it difficult for him to deal parent’s divorce and destroying his ability to connect emotionally with women, plus had difficulties to learn at school. Other will join the cause as the film goes along. Ozon does a great job of tipping the balance with the graphic scene plus there are some flashback not too much that will speak for themselves. of course every countries all over the world has a least an incident like that and yet the church kept it quiet and moved the priest to some other parishes. Ozon who does not seems to disappoint as usual has done a great job telling the story.

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.

PETIT PAYSAN (2017)

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A film by Hubert Charuel

Cast: Swann Arlaud, Sara Giraudeau, Isabelle Candelier

English title: Bloody milk 

Pierre, in his thirties, is a breeder of dairy cows. His life is organized around his farm, his veterinary sister and his parents, whose exploitation he has taken over. While the first cases of an epidemic are reported in France, Pierre discovers that one of his animals is infected. He can not bring himself to lose his cows. He has nothing else and will go all the way to save them.

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It is certainly an autobiographical film : Hubert Charuel, graduate of the Fémis, and this is the first feature film, was inspired by the experiences of his parents, farmers, now retired, and the farm is located in Droyes, between Reims and Nancy. The filming took place at his parent”s farm , the casting mixing professional actors and close friends of the filmmaker. If the parent company has never experienced the drama that unfolds on the screen, the anguish of such an eventuality has long marked the childhood and adolescence of the director, whose scenario and mise en scène here a place of true catharsis. You will see the rituel around 5 am what Pierre does it is more than a full-time job. The actors had to do some serious training in order to look like a farmer but be a farmer. How to treat the cow there is certain things technique. The scenario approaches with a real concern for authenticity with different problems, economic, .environmental and sociological problems related to the primary sector: mechanization is not only productivist, the robotic farm of the neighbor being supposed to optimize the welfare of the animals. also there is a little love story that seems to be developing with the baker. She delivers herself his bread every morning.

Pierre on the other hand is on his job all the time worrying if one of his cows is going to get the haemorrhagic fever from Belgium. The sister who is a veterinarian played by the wonderful Sara Giraudeau thinks he is paranoid. But one day all hell break loose and Pierre will do the unthinkable to correct the problem. Here is a farmer who loves his cows and takes care of them very well. He even treats them with respect. The thing is when you do the unthinkable more stuff is going to be developing. Here the director has gone where no one dared to go. Filming a farmer milking his cows taking care of them with the fear of a disease that might come or not which you do not see too much in the cinema those days. It is a master piece here and it is doing fine at the box office here so far. A must see. 

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