Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Celebrating its quarter century anniversary, Cinemania still keeps breathing new exhilarating life into its rich line-up of French language films that astound, delight and move the heart in ways no other film festival can. Diverse themes wander the emotional map to include love, criminality, family, war, religion, cultural taboo and more. These feature films provide close-up experiences in the human condition with plots that put you -- the viewer, in the thick of things – funny or otherwise.
Montrealers and those coming from far and wide can’t get enough of these unique films that feature English subtitles with each screening.

Maidy Teitelbaum
Recipient of prestigious awards

Maidy Teitelbaum, Founder and President of Cinemania was bestowed  the Officer de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française.
Passionate about sleuthing for film variety that has superlative entertainment value, Mme Teitlebaum noted, “We search for films that “engage, challenge and entertain our audiences with wit, humanity and sensitivity.”
She has succeeded magnificently choosing 66 films – many of which are North American premières, including a strong focus on Swiss films and director, Ursula Meir. Another area on the festival's hot list is Normandy; it offers inspiring, and the region is shares a long and historic relationship with Quebec.
 Many films are featured from the French company, Gaumont – the longest running French film distribution company ever. 
The guest of honour is Olivier Gourmet. Four of his films in which he plays the leading role will be screened.
Olivier Gourmet

There will also be 21 invited guests whose contribution  in cinema is outstanding. These VIPS  from France, Switzerland, Belgium and Quebec will create a whirlwind of excitement with their artistic brilliance adding further glamour to the Cinemania craze.

For information on the program of films, schedules, tickets, events and venues, visit:

Reviews follow

DOUBLES VIES (Directed by Olivier Assayas) *

Quebec Première
                                                              opening film

Actor, Vincent Macaigne, will be at the festival from October 3rd to November 9th

Juliette Binoche

Olivier Assayas

It’s an interesting topic – the changing world of publishing and those publishers caught in the high-tech tangles of it; some just can’t wrap their head around digital options, entry codes to crack and all kinds of shifting tastes. One such publisher is Alain (Guillaume Canet) who won’t listen to his with-it wife (Juliette Binoche) who plays an actor and who is actually  having an affair with Alain’s good friend, Leonard, a writer who, despite their friendship, is unable to convince Alain to publish his new work. (Vincent Macaigne plays Leonard. He who also stars in 'Chien', another film screening at Cinemania. In this film, he transforms into a dog). 

Vincent Macaigne
His acting along with the almost improv-like dialogue is great, and collectively you witness the brilliance of all the cast as seen in their banter at dinner parties, discussions and pondering moments become big bores for us. This is a talking heads’ film that just doesn't have an arc of any kind. Maybe it’s writer’s block, publisher’s puzzlement or director’s dilemma, but despite the natural acting of the cast, the film does not exactly fly off the pages or the screen.


LE GRAND BAIN (Directed by Gilles Lellouche) ****

  North American Première

Gilles Lellouche will be at the festival from November 5-9

Gilles Lellouche

This latest comedy from Gille Lellouche will make a big splash on November 5th at 7 p.m. at the swimming pool of the MAA Sports Centre. Filmgoers can have their fun too; they are invited to use the changing rooms and lockers before taking their floating seats in the pool in front of the giant screen. Now how cool is that!!
For those not wishing to bring their bathing suits to enjoy this hilarious if not touching comedy can sit in the balcony overlooking the pool.
The second screening on November 8th will take place at Cinema Imperial.
The plot is delicious. Eight men who have been hit with hard times form a men’s synchronized swimming team whose two coaches have a lot cut out for them too, including their own hard knocks in life. Everyone seems to be treading water.

These men know little about the sport and have had no training.

The acting is super fantastic.

 This iconic cast/team deserves gold medals. 

As we get to know each man’s plight, we root for them. The film's feel-good ending plunges them into some notoriety, and we want to dive right in with them.

The film won the Cinemania's Prix du public Mel Hoppenheim


UN AMOUR IMPOSSIBLE (Directed by Catherine Corsini) ****
 North American Première

In the 1950’s, in Chateauroux, Rachel (Virgine Efiral) a quiet government clerk meets  Philippe, a slick Norwegian man. Philippe ends up having a torrid sexual relationship with her. She becomes pregnant, and the cold, selfish man shows his ugly side; refuses to give her daughter Chantal  his last name. In fact he wants nothing to do with her. Periodically he visits Rachel, and as time passes he decides to spend time with Rachel alone. Philippe is married and refuses to have Rachel meet his family. But what he does to Chantal is tragic. Chantal becomes alienated from her mother and is mean to her. The ending is reconciliation and a revelation of the truth. Beautifully acted, this film carries its own lyrical sadness.


CONTINUER (Directed by Joachim Lafosse) ****

         North American Première

A mesmerising film that merges the stunning mountainous and rocky terrain of Kyrgystan with the edgy brutally harsh character of Samuel – masterfully played by Kasey Mottet Klein. He is on a rough horseback ride “road trip” with his mother, Sybille - perfectly acted by Virginie Efira. The hostility towards his mother is so palpable; both simply do not get along. However, gradually they become close as both endure some dangerous experiences on their trip – each helping the other. The two horses in the film are Samuel’s love, but with utmost directorial and acting brilliance the mother and son begin to love one another. Sybille had abandoned her son when he was a baby. This is the source of her son’s anger, and it is only at the end of the film Sybille reveals why.  Moments of witnessing the son letting go of his anger and the mother also watching him, are priceless. I won’t forget their acting. It brings to life this unusual story that’s based on Laurent Mauvignier’s own eponymous novel.


LES FILLES DU SOLEIL(Directed by Eva Hussan)****


 Fact: over 7000 women of all ages have been kidnapped by Isis.  In the film, we travel their horrific journey with Bahar, (Golshifteh Farahani), commander of   Peshmerga women leading us  and her soldiers; she prepares her fighters to liberate an ISIS-controlled town in Kudestan. Her profoundly gripping motive is to find her son alive in an indoctrination school. that teaches kids to kill.Veteran French war reporter Mathilde, (Emmanuelle Bercot in a role patterned after eye-patched war correspondent Marie Colvin killed in Syria) is embedded with the troops. Several women are Yazidi whose families were massacred, they themselves kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and miraculously escaped (as was activist Nadia Murad, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize) to join the Kurdish army. With fierce survival instincts, Bahar relinquishes her Parisian-education for law to become a Kalashnikov-wielding leader of an all-female squad. She herself was once captured too and led the group of women out of the house.

Based on real events, director-screenwriter Eva Husson,bravely brings a graphic, suspenseful story of sisterhood, earning a standing ovation at Cannes 2018. It's unfathomable to think this happened in real raw life.

Eva Hussan

                           __________________________  LA PRIÈRE (Directed by Cédric Kahn) *****

Canadian Première


 Twenty-two-year old Thomas, brilliantly acted by Anthony Bajon, is addicted to smack. Against his will, he is sent to an isolated community made up of former drug addicts in the mountainous Haute-Savois region of France. The young men’s commitment to prayer and hard work is the healing strategy here. Thomas is aggressive and even fights with others. He leaves and meets Sybil whose mother is connected to the community. Thomas really has a hard time believing in prayer, though he knows all the psalms off by heart.  He leaves the community in an aggressive manner and goes to Sybil who convinces him to return. He does. His revelation comes during a mountain climb accident that leaves his leg damaged. He is alone as he was unable to catch up ot the others who were climbing. Desperately, Thomas prays to God, and indeed it works. He can now walk. He decides he wishes to join the seminary. But doubt and Sybil fill his mind. What will he do? The ending is truly a guess for all watching this wonderful film.


CEUX QUI  TRAVAILLENT (Directed by Antoine  Russbach) ***

 Frank (credibly portrayed by the supremely talented Olivier Gourmet)  is the executive of a Geneva-based cargo shipping company. Frank is as inflexible as a metal rod and and glum as a rotten egg. There seems to be no joy in his life, other than his darling young daughter, Mathilde. 

Frank believes the only salvation in life is to work hard. An error in judgement costs him his job and he begins to fall apart. Tension builds as his behaviour verges on insanity. This first-time feature film for the Swiss director shows great promise, but there was not enough energy in most of this story to match the strange tension that creates a near-deadly twist at the end.


                                                     (BREATH OF LIFE

                                                    North American Première

You can tell this is the first feature directed by Mr. Roux. It just scatters its focus into too many areas of hospital strife and characters that have small bits to offset the real story. Simon (played by Jérémie Rénier) is a pulmonary specialist whose frenetic professional is pulling him down. Death is at his doorstep with almost all patients he sees, but this time, it’s his mother who is dying. His private and professional life are crashing into one another. Bravo to Mr. Rénier for his superb acting. The music and pace of the film certainly captures the scary world of the hospital, but the sex and party scenes do not fit in with the intensity of the plot. Perhaps the director packed in too much and this weakened the important thrust of the story. A mother dying in front of her doctor son.

JOUEURS (Directed by Marie Monge) ****

North American Première

Ella, (Stacy Martin) works as a waitress at her father’s restaurant. After closing time, Abel, miraculously played by the naturally talented Tahar Rahim, is a charming man who enters and persuades Stacy to take him on. One night later they are in bed and the gambling circuit becomes the magnet for both of them. They win and they lose. Things get really weird with Abel and he goes missing. A huge problem is revealed, and Stacy is afraid. Still, no matter what trouble Abel is in, she always is there to rescue him. She’s totally in love with him, and her passion knows she must have this man. But will she at the end? 

I can’t rave enough about the acting of Tahar Rahim. He goes from a lively captivating charmer with an adorable face full of expressiveness – to a depressed lost soul. He's the new James Bond and Benito del Toro rolled into one. The film is long, but he carries it with charisma and great energy.


LES CONFINS DU MONDE (Directed by Guillaume  Nicloux)***

                                                    North American Première

          Robert Tassen (Gaspard Ulliel) is in the thick of the Indochina war. It  
          is March 1945 and the Japanese withdrawal spurs on the Ho Chi Minh to fight with the French army, he’s obsessed with capturing Viet Minh, the commander who engineered  the Japanese to slaughter his family. He falls for a young prostitute and finds his own father in the midst of the fighting. But he does not know the man is his father (Gérard Depardieu) The tension is off the charts but the story-line is ambiguous. The opening scene that mirrors the ending scene is an example of this. very realistic though in showing the chaos, torture, opium dens and whoring -- one of the worst wars ever.


CLAIRE DARLING  La Dernière Folie de Claire Darling ****
Directed by Julie Bertuccelli

International Première

Catherine Deneuve is outstanding in her role as Claire which she plays with subtle comedic irony. This wealthy woman is divesting her estate mansion of all its possessions. Priceless antiques are put on the front lawn for which people are paying a pittance. We witness her dementia and how the past haunts her. Interweaving the past and the present creates a strategy to reveal a secret that Claire has been keeping for decades. A majestic performance with brilliant applications comprising time warps that slowly allow us to travel into Claire’s confused mind and tragic outcome.


 UN HOMME PRESSÉ  (Directed by Hervé Miman ****
North American Première

Fabrice Luchini plays Alain, the CEO of a famous automobile 
company. He’s proud of his new design, but it’s a flop for the 
board. What makes this film so utterly delightful is how the story portrays Alain; he suffers a stroke, and upon recovering, he mixes up words. Alain is fired from the company and decides to set out on the Santiago de Compostela trek. He finds his slow-down pace and with it wins his daughter over who he has treated like a person in his company. Only the brilliance of this actor can turn a stroke into something amusing.


           PUPILLE (Directed by Jeanne Herry) ***


North American Première

Alice is 41 years old, and has been waiting to adopt for ten years. In France, meticulous, prudent procedures are followed from the time the birth mother declares she doesn’t want to keep her baby to the final moment the adoptive mother can bring the baby home, and the intermittent phase involving fostering the baby until the mother is a by approved by the agency. Acting was overdone by Elodie Boucher as Alice. But Gilles Lellouche was outstanding as the foster father. The baby won our hearts, but not the movie.  


          AU BOUT DES DES DOIGTS (Directed by Ludovic Bernard) *****

                                                IN YOUR HANDS

                                              North American Première

Gifted pianist Mathieu Malinski, admirably played by Jules Benchetrit, Was taught classical piano by an old man named Jacques. They were not formal lessons. One day, Mathieu is playing in a shopping mall on a Yamaha piano, and the director of Paris’s National Superior Conservatory of Music is so excited to head him, he hands the young man his card. But Mathieu shuns the man when urged to call him. Eventually he ends up in jail burglarizing a home, and desperate to get out, he calls the director for help. But there is a stipulation, he must do community service by cleaning floors in the Music Conservatory and take lesson from The Countess, played by Kristin Scott. Mathieu is full of stubbornness and his growing-up-in-the-projects background adds to his grudge. Soon he meets a cellist with whom he falls in love. The director enrols him in the most prestigious piano competition and the twists and turns that follow turn this movie into a nail biting yet cathartic journey for audience, teacher, director and Mathieu himself.
The music is stunning as is the story. The cast is divine. A must-see film!


             PLAIRE, AIMER ET COURIR VITE  (Directed by Cristophe Honoré) ****
                                                              Sorry Angel   

                                                              Canadian Premièfe

Jacques is a Parisian writer who lives with his best friend more or less, Mathieu. Jacques is gay and pounds the pavement in the right place to find one-night stands. In a movie theatre, he meets Breton-born, Arthur, may years his junior. They start a torridly sexual and loving relationship. Jacques has a young song name Louis, whom everyone calls Lulu. Only Mathieu and Marco, a long time lover, now turned roommate too – he needs care from Jacques as he has HIV. Sadly Marco dies and the fate of Jacques will be the same. A long movie that’s brilliantly crafted and poignantly acted by Pierre Deladonchamps and Vincent Lacoste. The sexual scenes were done tastefully and with superb editing.



            UN PEUPLE ET SON ROI (Directed by Pierre Schoeller) *

An epic recreation of the French Revolution. This saga covers the period from 1778 to 1793. Shot where actual events took place, the film is gloriously costumed to create the raw realities of the time. Despite star heroic characters, this historical film lacks focus and quite frankly, the suspense we should feel does not happen. Still, history buffs will enjoy the film, and watching Louis Garret in the role of the condescending Robespierre was captivating. 


 SOPHIA (Meryem Benm'Barek-Aloïsi) **

Slow-moving, but poignantly thematic, this film tells the story of a young woman who finds a way to marry a man with whom she says she got pregnant. But this woman is a selfish liar, and the truth about her baby is far beyond the tales she weaves. In Morocco, so many women have babies out of wedlock, but this comes with a hefty price, jail and shame. Sophia’s nice cousin helps her out of every dilemma, but no thanks comes her way. You can tell this is the first feature for this director who sadly kept the same low-key mood and vocals throughout the whole film despite the anger and rage almost every character experiences in the story. The dynamics were so boring and unrealistic.

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