Cinémania film festival Montreal France Léa Seydoux

Illusions perdues

Montreal’s Cinémania festival of French films with English subtitles starts today

A film co-starring Xavier Dolan and Gérard Depardieu, Bruno Dumont’s France with Léa Seydoux, Paul Verhoeven’s lesbian nun movie and more.

The Cinemania Film Festival’s 27th edition begins today, showcasing French films with English subtitles in a hybrid format that runs through Nov. 14 in theatres and Nov. 21 online. Some films are available in both formats, while others are exclusive to one format or the other. Opening the festival today is Catherine Therrien’s Une révision, a drama starring Patrice Robitaille as a philosophy professor whose convictions are shaken when he meets a Muslim student (Nour Belkhiria). Une révision will hit theatres across the province this Friday. Also screening tonight is Amants, a romantic thriller from director Nicole Garcia starring Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac) and Pierre Niney (Yves Saint Laurent).

Montreal Cinémania festival of French films with English subtitles
Les intranquilles (Cinémania film festival, Montreal, 2021)

Niney also stars in Yann Gozlan’s Boîte noire, an aeronautical thriller about an analyst tasked with finding out more about the circumstances of a fatal plane crash. Xavier Beauvois (Des hommes et des dieux) directs Albatros, a crime drama about a cop whose life is turned upside down after he accidentally kills a man he was trying to stop from killing himself; Jérémie Rénier stars. Damien Bonnard and Leïla Bekhti star in Joachim Lafosse’s Les intranquilles, about a couple struggling with the man’s bipolar disorder. Though it sounds pretty much exactly like Infinitely Polar Bear, Lafosse is extremely adept at major bummers, so it’s promising. 

Cinémania film festival Montreal France Léa Seydoux
France (Cinémania film festival, Montreal, 2021)

Controversial director Bruno Dumont has moved firmly into comedy in recent years. His latest, France, stars Léa Seydoux as a famous journalist whose life unravels after she gets into a car accident. Director Paul Verhoeven is no stranger to controversy himself; his latest film, Benedetta, stars Virginie Efira as a nun who enters a convent in Tuscany and… well, I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s been described for years as Verhoeven’s lesbian nun movie. Xavier Dolan and Gérard Depardieu star in Xavier GIannoli’s Illusions perdues, a period piece set in the art world of 1800s France based on a book by Honoré de Balzac. Jean Reno stars as an Elon Musk-like billionaire (!) in the sci-fi film Le dernier voyage, the feature debut by Romain Quirot, who cites Nolan, Besson, George Miller and George Lucas as influences.

Montreal Cinémania festival of French films with English subtitles
Benedetta (Cinémania film festival, Montreal, 2021)

Karin Viard is in no less than three films playing the festival this year: Olivier Peyon’s Fukushima disaster movie Tokyo Shaking, Marc Fitoussi’s psychological drama Les apparences (alongside Benjamin Biolay) and the all-star erotic sketch comedy Les fantasmes, which also stars Monica Bellucci, Jean-Paul Rouver, Carole Bouquet and Suzanne Clément. Charlotte Gainsbourg is also pulling double duty at the festival this year, first as the director of the documentary Jane par Charlotte, in which she explores her relationship with her mother Jane Birkin (the title is a take on a previous documentary about Birkin, Agnès Varda’s Jane B. par Agnès V.) and then as an actress in the Marguerite Duras adaptation Suzanna Andler, alongside Niels Schneider.

Montreal Cinémania festival of French films with English subtitles
La fracture (Cinémania film festival, Montreal, 2021)

Two female directors are seeing partial retrospectives of their work presented as part of the festival. Quebec’s Anais Barbeau-Lavalette is the subject of a new hour-long documentary by Kalina Bertin (Manic), and two of her films (La déesse des mouches à feu and Inch’Allah), are also being screened for the occasion. French director Catherine Corsini has a new film, La fracture — the Queer Palm-winning drama starring Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Pio Marmai, set in an emergency room as a demonstration led by Gilets Jaunes brews on the outside. The festival has also programmed Corsini’s 2001 film La répétition (starring Pascale Bussières and Emmanuelle Béart) and her 2015 film La belle saison.

As always with Cinémania, there are more films that I can possibly outline here — many of which would be discoveries for me as I’m sure they’d be for you. 

For more on the Cinémania, please visit the festival’s website.

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