French French


Read Thierry Garrel's essay : A Certain Art of the Portrait

DOXA is very proud to offer our fourth edition of FRENCH FRENCH with five new extraordinary films, and a special program dedicated to the work of Alain Cavalier. Cavalier, awarded Maître du Réel (Master of the Real) at Visions du Réel Film Festival last year, and a renowned member of the Nouvelle Vague, authored a new style of film portrait more than thirty years ago. These beautifully observed capsules (13-minutes each) are encounters of the rarest kind—intimate, elegant and filled with a profound sense of humility. FRENCH FRENCH will include six of these original portraits, paired with Cavalier’s latest Six Portraits XL, created from material he filmed of six different friends over the course of many years.

Although all of the work presented in FRENCH FRENCH is informed by the idea of portraiture, each individual film deals very differently with this approach. Whether it is a vérité profile, like Marie Dumora’s Belinda, or the illustrated memories of 102-year-old man in Michèle Smolkin’s If You’re Hungry, Sing. If You Ache, Laugh (Si tu as faim, chante. Si tu as mal, ris)—the intent is to fully illuminate the reality of human experience in all of its complexity, pain and joy. The films in FRENCH FRENCH include:

Sophie Bredier | 
France |
 2017 | 
82 minutes

An anonymous woman remembers her first glimpse of the Château Bénouville in Normandy, a home for unwed mothers, who came to wait out their pregnancies, and give birth in secret. As one of the nurses who worked at the Château recalls, young women were often convinced to abandon their newborn babies and hide their pregnancies for fear of bringing shame on their families.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 4:30pm
Monday, May 7, 2018 - 6:30pm
Marie Dumora | 
France |
 2017 | 
107 minutes

As a film portrait, Belinda is a remarkable achievement. Foregoing a sentimental approach, it is a warts-and-all look at prejudice, intolerance, and marginalization in French society through the experience of one young woman.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 2:15pm
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 8:00pm
Alain Cavalier | 
France |
 2017 | 
104 minutes

In his small apartment, an old bachelor talks frankly with an uncomplaining humour about the difficulties in his life, his erratic romances with street girls, and his hope to repeat the 20,000 Euros he once won. “Unhappy in love, happy in games,” he says. As the years go by, he hides nothing from Cavalier’s camera including his invasive OCD rituals of cleanliness and security. Sometimes he feels he is on the verge of losing it, but somehow he copes.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 12:00pm
Julie Bertuccelli | 
France |
 2016 | 
84 minutes

At almost age 30, Hélène Nicolas can’t speak or hold a pen, and she never learned to read or write. It wasn’t until she was 20 years old that her mother Véronique discovered Hélène was able to communicate by arranging laminated letters on a board. Taking the pen name Babouillec Sp, this severely autistic young woman began producing poetry and novels, and is now collaborating with a theatre director to adapt her work for the stage.

Friday, May 4, 2018 - 8:30pm
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 6:00pm
Alain Cavalier | 
France |
 2017 | 
50 minutes

In the untouched bourgeois house invaded by swallows and dust, Jacquotte wanders through her childhood. Toys, paintings, stuffed animals, clothes and old umbrellas—how could she ever throw away all this memorabilia? Year after year, she takes inventory and saves her past until it is “saved for eternity.”

Friday, May 4, 2018 - 6:00pm