The French Film Festival's offerings can be intimidating to the average Francophobe. Presented here for your convenience is a quick look at some of the features coming to the Byrd this year.
"J'Aurais Voulu Etre un Danseur"
Francois Marechal is content with his life. As a new father married to a beautiful young wife and with a recent promotion, he seems to have it all, until one day a certain DVD catches his eye and changes everything. After watching "Singing in the Rain" Francois impulsively decides to abandon his life, his work and his family to become a tap dancer. This dream consumes his life, and after much practice and determination, Francois lands a small gig at a provincial nightclub, where he bumps into his father -- who's lived a similar life to his own, forcing him to confront his past. Director Alain Berliner, Actors/Actresses Vincent Elbaz, Cecile de France, Jean-Pierre Cassel. (1h47)
"On Dirait Que..."
Director Francoise Marie presents a documentary of a different nature, featuring the world's youngest and maybe most perceptive people -- children. In unscripted and unrehearsed scenarios, children are asked to play their parents' professions for a viewing audience. They let their imaginations run wild as they imitate the life of adults, though maybe broaching reality a bit too much. This film gives children the voice to tell us how the adult life really looks. (1h22m)
Francois, an only child who creates an imaginary brother and invents his parents' past, searches constantly to uncover his family's dark secret. Then on the day he turns 15, a family friend uncovers a powerful truth, leaving Francois finally able to form and solidify his own personality. Director Claude Miller explores the people behind the victims of Nazi concentration camps. Miller won 11 Cesars -- the French equivalent of the Oscars -- and Julie Depardieu took home a Cesar for Best Supporting Actress. Other actors/actresses of mention: Patrick Bruel and Cecile de France. (1h40m)
At age 50, Gerard is in his third year of unemployment and running out of money. Out of desperation, he takes a job based in Indonesia. In hopes of getting in good with his new boss, he invites him over to dinner, but there's one problem -- Gerard and his wife Colette aren't exactly up with the Joneses. In a last-minute attempt to impress their company, the couple seeks the help of their neighbor Alexandre, a communications guru. He whips them into shape in less than 24 hours, revamping their lifestyle, their home décor and even their dinner menus. Everything is frantic until the doorbell rings and their long-awaited guest steps in. This comedy makes its North American premier this weekend at the Byrd. Director Laurent Bouhnik, Actors/Actresses Thierry Lhermitte, Valerie Lemercier, Daniel Auteuil. (1h22m)
Messoud is a nine-year old Algerian boy living in the suburbs of Paris with his parents, but when his mother falls ill, his father decides to temporarily send him to a foster home in rural France. Because this story takes place in the 1960's when French involvement in the Algerian war reached its apex, his new foster mother Gisele changes his name from Messoud to Michel and hides his identity from her neighbors and even her own husband. Michel is slowly and successfully introduced to provincial life, but then one day, Gisele's secret is uncovered and everything becomes endangered. Director Thomas Gilou, Actors/Actresses Gerard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, Samy Seghir. (2h4m)