His Wife and School of Babel travel abroad
by Fabien Lemercier
- A story of redemption in India for Michel Spinosa’s film and integration in school in France for Julie Bertuccelli’s documentary
Two French full-length feature films are released today, having a priori nothing in common, but which plunge into a melting pot of unexpected similarity: being immersed in a foreign country and a new culture. Michel Spinosa (popular at the 2007 Panorama of the Berlinale with Anna M. [+see also:
film profile]) embarks on this adventure with the Franco-Belgian coproduction His Wife [+see also:
film profile], a fascinating fiction based on a man (Yvan Attal) whose wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) dies near Madras, after fleeing France and marital problems aggravated by a Subutex addiction and a stillbirth. Drawn to India by guilt and curiosity of an irrational event (the ghost of his wife had possessed a young Tamil girl), our Français will be taken aback by the reality of beliefs (the "peys", harmful spirits) and the local treatment of madness in a surprising therapeutic sanctuary. This is a journey of initiation and redemption bordering on a documentary, distributed by Diaphana on 57 screens.
The situation is reversed in Julie Bertuccelli’s School of Babel [+see also:
film profile], a documentary on a year in the daily life of a reception class in a Parisian school made up of 24 students from a dozen nationalities to improve their French before joining the ordinary curriculum. Very well-received by critics and supported by the Minister for National Education in person, the film, launched by Pyramide on 98 screens, confirms the talent of this filmmaker to decipher the human essence, selected in Cannes in 2003 and 2011 for her feature films Since Otar Left and The Tree [+see also:
interview: Julie Bertuccelli
film profile]. This release is also an opportunity to pay tribute to the director’s father, Jean-Louis Bertuccelli, also filmmaker (Jean Vigo prize in 1971 for Remparts d'argile and notably producer of Docteur Françoise Gailland which earned Annie Girardot the César for best actress in 1977) and who died on 5 March.
More radical arthouse cinema is also showing with the Franco-Taiwanese film Stray Dogs [+see also:
film profile] by Tsaï Ming Liang (Venice International Film Festival Grand Prix 2013 - review - Urban Distribution) and the Belgo-Franco-Luxembourg coproduction The Strange Colour of your Body's Tears [+see also:
film profile] by the duo Hélène Cattet - Bruno Forzani (discovered in competition in Locarno - critique - Shellac on 12 screens).
This Wednesday’s display is completed by Pascal Bourdiaux’s French comedy Fiston (SND), the American-German coproduction Monuments Men [+see also:
film profile] by George Clooney (which premiered in Berlin outside competition - review - Twentieth Century Fox distribution), the British full-length feature film How I Live Now [+see also:
film profile] byKevin Macdonald (news - UGC Distribution) and the French documentary Braddock America by the duo Jean-Loïc Porton - Gabriella Kessler (discovered in 2013 at the ACID programme in Cannes - ZED).
(Translated from French)
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