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      Summer Phoenix in Esther Kahn. in Rendez-Vous with French Cinema
      Summer Phoenix in "Esther Kahn."
    What have oui here

    It's "Rendez-vous with French Cinema," New York's first look at some of France's upcoming hits and excellent avant-garde sleepers.


    The "Rendez-vous with French Cinema" festival at Lincoln Center offers an early look at the latest in French film, from major releases that will be shown nationwide in the next couple of years to daring avant-garde pictures that borrow a slice of life from whole casts of non-actors.

    Three films that have already been picked up for national release are:


    Related links: Official site
    Rendez-vous with French Cinema
  • Overview
  • Samia
  • "A Crime in Paradise": A bitter husband tells a famous lawyer that he's killed his wife, which isn't true — yet. He plans to find out what kind of circumstances might lead to acquittal in a murder trial, and then use the information to carry out the actual murder and get away with it.

  • "Girls Can't Swim": The story of two best friends is told from dual points of view as the two teen girls deal with teenage anxieties.

  • "Sade": Benoit Jacquot directs Daniel Auteuil in a biography of the sexual adventurer the Marquis de Sade, just in case one Sade biopic in a year just isn't enough. This Sade story was in the running for top awards in France and at the Toronto Film Festival.

    The three films previewed by Offoffoff include two that represent the development in France of a kind of hyperrealistic cinema verite using non-actors in situations similar to their real lives. (Earlier examples of this kind of film have included "Vagabond," "The Life of Jesus," "Humanity," "Human Resources" and the Belgian "Rosetta.") In this year's festival we have:

  • "Samia": The story of Algerian-born teenage girls growing up in two different worlds: modern Marseille and a strict Muslim household.

  • "Nightshift": It's a battle with the bottle as one vicious employee of a bottle factory gets out of hand and everyone else is afraid to get involved. A psychologically frightening performance by Marc BarbĆ.

    Other films that look intriguing include:

  • "Hair Under the Roses": A fun and different teen comedy about a girl and a boy agonizing over what they don't know about their bodies, themselves and the opposite sex.

  • "Esther Kahn" (pictured above): A young Jewish woman in turn-of-the-century London finds refuge from her family in acting.

  • "La Captive": Chantal Akerman's Proust-inspired story finds a woman living willingly as the captive of a man in the Paris apartment he shares with his grandmother.

  • MARCH 8, 2001

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