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Biographical drama is one of French cinema’s most established and beloved genres, and Gabriel Le Bomin’s spectacularly-mounted De Gaulle stirringly depicts a crucial period in the life of one of the most famous (if not infamous) figures in the nation’s modern history, doing it enormous justice in the process.
It is May 1940, where the war between Germany and its neighbours has intensified. Shockingly, the French army collapses, and Hitler seizes Paris. The government is in panic and considers accepting defeat, but recently promoted two-star General Charles de Gaulle (The Translators’ Lambert Wilson, in a career-best performance), wants to change the course of history...
His wife, Yvonne (Isabelle Carré), is his first support, but very quickly events spiral out of control and separate them - she and their children set out on the roads of exodus, as Charles travels to London to meet with Winston Churchill. He wants to make another voice heard: that of resistance.
Matching the impact and scale of recent war dramas The Darkest Hour and The King’s Choice as it depicts crucial incidents in gripping tick-tock fashion, Le Bomin expertly mixes the historic and the Romanesque, charting both a military debacle and the eventual revelation of a destiny. De Gaulle is filmmaking on a grand scale, with an impact to match.
Wed 23rd June | 10.45am Book
The iconic Eiffel Tower proudly stands on the Champ de Mars in the heart of Paris as a beacon of French artistry and ingenuity. But what do we know of Gustave Eiffel, the engineering genius to whom the wrought-iron lattice tower is named after? This lovingly detailed biopic recreates Paris in the late 19th century to tell his story, as the New Zealand premiere of the biggest French production of 2020.
Having already achieved international recognition for his work – which included the framework for the Statue of Liberty – Eiffel was in high demand. He wanted to design the Paris Subway, but the French government had other ideas: they wanted something special for the 1889 World’s Fair. Initially struggling for inspiration, everything changes when Eiffel encounters a mysterious woman that he once knew many years ago.
An all-star cast that includes Romain Duris (The Spanish Apartment) as Eiffel and Emma Mackey (Netflix’s Sex Education) as Adrienne Bourgès, the woman from his past, lead this gorgeous historical film, inviting audiences to be swept away by the passion and brilliance behind the creation of France’s greatest cultural icon.
Sun 27th June | 3.00pm Book
Emmanuelle Devos (Read My Lips) and Gregory Montel (Call My Agent) shine in this fragrant French drama.
Anne Walberg (Devos) was once the star of her industry – a perfumer whose ability to produce enticing new fragrances was second to none and which saw her rise through a competitive landscape. She remains in demand, but her intemperate behaviour has made her difficult. However, striking up an unlikely friendship with her equally troubled new driver, Anne sees a way to return to the top, which might offer a solution to both their problems.
Grégory Magne’s intelligent drama is a visual and sophisticated treat.
★★★★ “A quietly delightful French comedy” - The Times
★★★★ “Enchanting” - The Irish Times
★★★★ “Admirably refreshing” - The Guardian
Wed 23rd June | 8.00pm Book
Skies of Lebanon
A poetic blending of the personal and political, Skies of Lebanon combines live action with animation to create a vivid picture of Lebanon, inspired by the family history of filmmaker Chloé Mazlo. Using stories told to her by her grandmother of life during the Lebanese Civil War, Mazlo crafts a touching and heart-breaking story of love during wartime.
Alba Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazzaro) plays Alice, a Swiss woman who moved to Beirut in the 1950s and falls in love with a Lebanese man. Wajdi Mouawad (author of the play Incendies, which was the source material for Denis Villeneuve’s 2010 film) plays Joseph, an astrophysicist with dreams of sending his fellow citizens into space, and the object of Alice’s affection. Joseph and Alice appear to lead the perfect life until their bliss is ripped apart by the civil war and nothing will be the same again.
An official selection for the 2020 Cannes International Critics’ Week, Skies of Lebanon stunningly gives shape to the emotional undercurrents felt by the characters through the use of animation. This rewarding and quietly devastating cinematic experience announces Mazlo’s arrival as an important new talent.
Wed 23rd June | 1.00pm Book
The Man in the Hat
The Man In The Hat sets off from Marseilles in a small Fiat 500. On the seat beside him is a framed photograph of an unknown woman. Behind him is a 2CV into which is squeezed Five Bald Men. Why are they chasing him? And how can he shake them off?
As he travels North through France, he encounters razeteurs, women with stories to tell, bullfights, plenty of delicious food, a damp man, mechanics, nuns, a convention of Chrystallographers and much more. And always, on his tail, the Five Bald Men.
As the Fiat 500 wends its way across the mountains, gorges and bridges of France, the 2CV hard behind him, the Thin Man (Ciaran Hinds) comes face to face with the vivid eccentricities of an old country on an old continent.
★★★★ "It's quirky and touching, and if you want to travel but don't want to travel, then off-the-beaten-track France will do your heart good." - RTÉ
"...a picturesque odyssey across the French countryside, the best Provençal driving holiday you’ve never had." - The Guardian
"Beautifully made, sumptuously shot and a definite change of pace from the hectic bustle of blockbuster cinema." - HeyUGuys
Wed 23rd June | 6.00pm Book