The French cinema marathon is back

that of Albert Dupontel Goodbye morons (the French title is more expressive) is a fast-paced comedy about a wild night in which a barber with an incurable lung disease, an aging computer scientist with suicidal tendencies and a blind man struggling with the madness of grandeur are thrown together in a desperate quest. It’s a twisted fairy tale, slightly marred by a touch of sentimentality, but full of memorable scenes.

The emphasis is on Middle Eastern content in this year’s selection and a generous helping of unconventional love stories. A movie that ticks both boxes is The man who sold his skin, inspired by a 2008 project by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, who turned a Zurich resident named Tim Steiner into a traveling work of art by drawing a huge tattoo on his back. The complexities of the deal, which transformed a human being into a commodity that can be bought and sold in the art market, has been the subject of much debate.

Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania replaced Tim with a Syrian refugee and included a desperate love story, adding further political and ethical complications. Perhaps his biggest deviation from reality is to make fictional artist Jeffrey Godefroi (Koen De Bouw) a truly demonic character, while Wim Delvoye – who has an appearance in this film – has the impassive way. of a senior official. As a parable on contemporary art, the film is not as incisive as that of Ruben Östlund The square (2017), but he does not leave the appalling decline of this “industry” unpunished.

Any film that includes Isabelle Huppert is worth seeing, and Jean-Paul Salomé’s comedy The godmother finds the ice queen in great shape. Huppert plays a French-Arab translator working as a sub-contractor for the police who slips into a criminal life when she learns of the existence of a large drug shipment, derails the arrest and takes possession of the loot. It’s a risky business, which requires her to cheat on her boyfriend, who happens to be a seasoned police officer, and dodge the gangs who are upset that she stole their property.

Finally, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the creation of Jean-Luc Godard Breathless (Breathless), which is screened at the festival in a recently restored version. Breathless was a revelation when it first appeared and it looks just as bold and stylish today, with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg as timeless icons of cool. It is also the golden period of Godard.

The films he made at the height of the French New Wave, Breathless To Keeping to himself (1964) to Pierrot le fou (1965), are classics, but the films that followed, after he embraced Maoism, are awfully old. In Breathless, Godard the young iconoclast applied the blowtorch to beloved cinema conventions. Later, as an aging ideologue, he would focus his most destructive efforts on the patience of the beholder.

Alliance Française French Film Festival 2021

Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, until March 31; Perth, until April 7; Brisbane, from March 17 to April 13; Adelaide, from March 23 to April 20; Byron Bay, March 24 to April 14; Parramatta, April 8-11; Hobart, March 11-20

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