Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2023: A Lineup of Some of the Most Acclaimed French Films of the Year
By Sean Boelman
Every spring, Film at Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema series highlights some of the best French films that played on the previous year’s festival circuit. This year’s program is an absolute wealth of riches and hidden gems, with one of the best-programmed lineups you’ll see this year, even rivaling larger festivals.
The biggest draw of the festival is a duo of films that has taken the festival circuit by storm, both starring Virginie Efira: opening night film Paris Memories and Other People’s Children. Both are exceptional — especially Other People's Children, which was one of the best films of last year’s fall festival circuit — and Efira (as well as the films' respective directors) will be in attendance for opening weekend screenings of the two films.
One of the most acclaimed films playing in this year’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema lineup is Louis Garrel’s The Innocent, which had the most films out of any of the nominee’s at last month’s César awards. It is a star studded and twisty comedy with a great ensemble of Garrel, Noémie Merlant, Roschdy Zem (also seen in Rendez-Vous selection Other People’s Children), and Anouk Grinberg. Audiences will want to see this early showing of the film before its release later this month.
Also starring Garrel is Forever Young — which played in last year’s Cannes Film Festival under its French title, Les Amandiers. A wonderfully meta slice-of-life comedy, the film follows the students and teachers of one of France’s most prestigious acting academies. It’s a really compelling, almost mosaic-like film, and the use of Chekov in the story (not unlike the Japanese critical darling Drive My Car) really accentuates it.
For the midnight movie lovers of New York City, Rendez-Vous has a special treat in store: Quentin Dupieux’s newest film, Smoking Causes Coughing. It’s a wild adventure comedy inspired in equal parts by Power Rangers and anthology horror, and it’s his funniest and most creative movie in years.
Other highlights include the mysterious thriller The Origin of Evil, which is extremely fun in a pulpy way, and the restrained drama Mother and Son, which offers some of the finest performances and visuals of any films in this year’s lineup.
For those in the search for something more star-studded, consider The Five Devils, a supernatural coming-of-age drama starring Adéle Excharpoulos, or Brother and Sister, the latest film from acclaimed filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin starring Marion Cotillard. Both are sure to be hot tickets at the festival due to their star power.
One thing is clear, and it is that this year’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema lineup is stronger than it has maybe ever been before. It has several bonafide masterpieces, and plenty of star-studded and otherwise acclaimed films to fill out the rest of the schedule. If you live in New York city and *aren’t* taking advantage of this program, what are you waiting for?
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