One of the best things about living in New York is, that as residents of this cultural capital, we have access to virtually any movie that released in America. This means we get the chance to see all of the new French films popular enough to make it over the Atlantic and because there are a number of institutions dedicated to the appreciation of film history, we can see some old ones, too.
If you’re in the mood to see a French film this weekend, you have plenty of options to choose from. You should have no trouble finding one that suits your genre preference from the list below.
1. Le Havre, Comedy/Drama, at IFC Center. In this portrait of the harbor city Le Havre, Marcel Marx, an older man who works as a shoe shiner, takes in a young African refugee and later stands up to officials seeking to deport the boy. Expect dry humor amidst the warmhearted plotline in this film directed and written by Aki Kaurismäki.
2. My Piece of the Pie (Ma Part du Gateau), Comedy/Drama, at IFC Center and Film Society Lincoln Center – Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. Written and directed by Cédric Klapisch, in My Piece of the Pie, a single mother named France from an industrial, seaside town finds work cleaning the Paris apartment of power broker Steve. Things get complicated when Steve’s three-year-old son shows up and France learns that Steve is the responsible for the shut down of the local factory where France last worked.
3. House of Pleasures (L’apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close), Drama, at IFC Center. Veterans and newcomers live out their lives within the walls of a high-class, turn-of-the-century brothel in this Bertrand Bonello film.
4. The Wages of Fear (Le Salaire de la peur), Drama, Film Forum. In this 1953 Henri-Georges Clouzot film four desperate men in a poor South American oil town are hired to transport nitroglycerin over a dangerous mountain route without the equipment that would make the journey safe.
5. The Spies (Les Espions), Drama, at the Museum of Modern Art. A doctor at a run-down psychiatric hospital is offered a large sum of money to house a new patient in this 1957 Clouzot film. Soon the hospital is overrun with suspicious characters trying to learn the mystery patient’s identity.
6. Strangers in the House (Les inconnus dans la maison), Crime/Drama, at the Modern Museum of Art. This 1942 Henri Decoin film tells the story of a lawyer who finds a dead man in his attic, leading to his discovery of his daughter’s secret life.
By Monica Burton