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Five Funny French Films

Firmly established as one of the Museum’s most popular annual film series, Five Funny French Films delights and intrigues with innovative approaches to humor. Opening with Tip Top, auteur Serge Bozon’s genre hybrid policier starring Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Kiberlain, the fourth edition also includes two tales of ordinary individuals who unexpectedly become national heroes: Populaire and Tour de Force. The lively The Rendez-Vous of Déjà Vu considers the French public’s reaction to the government’s shortening of the traditional summer vacation, and the war of the sexes is front and center in the romantic comedy Love Is in the Air.

Once again, un petit extra is included in the program: a restored edition of Seven Years Bad Luck, a hilarious 1921 silent comedy directed by and featuring the great Max Linder.

Presented during French Cultures Festival 2014 with generous support from L'Alliance Francaise de Houston; The French Embassy/French Cultural Services; the Consulate General of France in Houston; Texan-French Alliance for the Arts; and Nina and Michael Zilkha.

Past Films in This Series

 

Romantics Anonymous

Les émotifs anonymes

2010, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Jean-Pierre Améris
Romantics Anonymous tells the story of Angélique (Isabelle Carré, Private Fears in Public Places), a gifted chocolate-maker whose uncontrollable shyness prevents her from acknowledging her talents. Struggling chocolatier Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde, Coco Before Chanel), who also suffers from a similar case of awkward bashfulness that threatens to drown his company, hires Angelique as his new sales associate. Realizing she’s attracted to her boss, Angelique decides to anonymously develop a new line of chocolates to save the company. With the future of the ... more info
 

Untouchable

Intouchables

2011, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
TICKETS FOR THIS FILM ARE SOLD OUT  Based on wealthy businessman Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s memoir recounting his paragliding accident that left him a quadriplegic, art house cinema star François Cluzet (Tell No One) plays the handicapped millionaire who develops an unlikely friendship with  his hot-headed, uninhibited Algerian caregiver (Omar Sy, dubbed “the French Eddie Murphy,” in a breakout role). Shattering box office records in France, Untouchable has been saluted for revolutionizing how French society views itself – and has been optioned ... more info
 

Low Cost

2010, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Michel Leclerc
Jean-Paul Rouve is Dagobert, a pathologically anxious industrial spy who just boarded a very cheap flight in Djerba, Tunisia. After eight long hours without air conditioning, the passengers are told that the plane is not going to take off. In a moment of bravado, intended to impress sexy airline stewardess Nuance(Judith Godrèche), Dagobert starts a mutiny. Among the passengers is Jean-Claude (Gérard Darmon, from Betty Blue and  Diva), a former airline pilot going through a deep depression. Although he is ... more info
 

The Names of Love

Le nom des gens

2010, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Michel Leclerc
Baya Benmahmoud, a young, extroverted liberal, lives by the old hippie slogan: “Make love, not war” to convert right-wing men to her left-wing political causes by sleeping with them. She seduces many and so far has received exceptional results – until she meets Arthur Martin, a Jewish middle-aged, middle-of-the road scientist. Bound by common tragic family histories (the Algerian War and Holocaust under Vichy), the duo improbably falls in love. Amid the bubbly amour, humorous lasciviousness and moments of sheer ... more info
 

My Worst Nightmare

Mon pire cauchemar

2011, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Anne Fontaine
Agathe (Isabelle Huppert) is an uptight, impatient art dealer who lives in an expensive Parisian apartment with her wealthy publisher husband, Andre Dussollier (Unforgivable). Patrick (Benoît Poelvoorde from Romantics Anonymous, ​a hit at last year's Five Funny French Films) is a skirt-chasing, unemployed single father who lives in his van with his son. Agathe’s and Patrick’s lives would never intersect except that their two sons are best of friends, and her husband has hired Patrick to remodel their apartment. Hilarity ensues ... more info
 

What's in a Name?

Le prénom

2012, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte
Vincent (Patrick Bruel), a successful 40-something, is about to become a father for the first time. He is invited for dinner by his sister and brother-in-law (Valérie Benguinui and Charles Berling), where they catch up with a childhood friend (Guillaume de Tonquédec). While waiting for Vincent’s wife (Judith El Zein), always behind schedule, the dinner guests gleefully bombard Vincent with questions on his fast-approaching fatherhood. But when his hosts ask Vincent what name he has chosen for this future offspring, ... more info
 

All That Glitters

Tout ce qui brille

2010, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Hervé Mimran and Géraldine Nakache
All That Glitters is a surprisingly unpretentious comedy that speaks to the aspirations and angst of many twentysomethings enthralled by the world of glamour and fashion. The film is anchored by the friendship of two central characters, who infuse the story with their daring and their dreams. All That Glitters proves once again that European cinema is decades ahead in the realm of entertainment targeting teenage girls: It is stylish, energetic, mischievous—and glittering. more info
 

Skylab

Le Skylab

2011, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Julie Delpy
Invoking her 11-year-old self as the precocious Albertine, Julie Delpy sets this film in July 1979, as news reports predict that the 850-ton space station Skylab will soon crash to earth in France. That provides the subplot for the summer holidays, in a house somewhere in Brittany, where a boisterous extended family (parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and other relatives) are gathered to celebrate the birthday of Granny Amandine (Emmanuelle Riva from Amour). Drama and dysfunction unfold among the assortment of ... more info
 

Big Is Beautiful

Mince alors!

2012, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Charlotte de Turckheim
Nina (Lola Dewaere) and her husband, Gaspard (Grégory Fitoussi), run a successful swimsuit company in Paris. Only too happy to get time alone with his mistress, Gaspard offers Nina a one-month weight-loss program in the Alps. At the spa, Nina is befriended by two women with big personalities: Emilie (Catherine Hosmalin), the warm, full-figured homemaker who claims that "big is beautiful" but comes to the spa every year and won’t admit that she is not as happy or healthy as she appears; ... more info
 

Tip Top

2013, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Serge Bozon
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
Audacious auteur Serge Bozon (La France) creates a new genre, fusing screwball comedy and policier in this adaptation of a pulp novel by British author Bill James. Isabelle Huppert (seen last year by Five Funny French Films audiences in My Worst Nightmare) teams up with Sandrine Kiberlain as a pair of internal affairs cops investigating the murder of an Algerian informant and police corruption in the town of Villeneuve. Their arrival disturbs the locals working the case, especially Detective Mendes (François Damiens). As ... more info
 

La fille du 14 Juillet

The Rendez-Vous of Déjà Vu

2013, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Antonin Peretjatko
An original and anarchic comedy that evokes 1960s films from Jean-Luc Godard to Richard Lester to Stanley Kramer, writer/director Antonin Peretjatko’s debut feature is a madcap road movie. Opening with the pomp and circumstance of the annual Parisian celebration of Bastille Day, the film presents Hector and Charlotte putting little effort into their jobs as security guards at the Louvre. They seize the first opportunity to hit the road with pals Truquette and Pator, inspiring a hilarious sequence of vignettes as they ... more info
 

Populaire

2012, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Régis Roinsard
In the late 1950s, the charming Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François) lives in a provincial town, is engaged to the son of the local mechanic, and seems destined for a quiet life. On a whim she travels to Normandy, where charismatic insurance agency boss Louis Echard (Romain Duris) is interviewing for a secretary. When they meet, Rose reveals her special talent: she can type like a fiend. Louis, still dealing with the loss of his girlfriend (Bérénice Bejo) to his American ... more info
 

Amour et turbulences

Love Is in the Air

2013, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Alexandre Castagnetti
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
In this exuberant comedy, soon-to-be-married artist Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and continent-hopping lawyer and playboy Antoine (Nicolas Bedos) find themselves seated next to each other on a flight to Paris. But this isn’t their first meeting: He broke her heart three years prior, and they have not spoken since. Their complicated history unfolds in flashback over the course of the trip, entertaining fellow passengers who are not shy about expressing their opinions. A feisty ensemble cast and jazzy soundtrack enrich this sexy ... more info
 

La grande boucle

Tour de Force

2013, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Laurent Truel
Workaholic François (Clovis Cornillac) finds his longstanding plans to go on vacation with his wife and teenage son disrupted when he unexpectedly gets fired. His family leaves on the trip without him, and he is initially despondent, but then reconnects with his life-long dream to ride in the Tour de France. Out of practice but determined, this everyman takes off on the course, riding one day ahead of the professional cyclists. Gaining confidence along the way, François becomes a folk hero ... more info
 

Sept ans de malheur

Seven Years Bad Luck

1921, silent with English translation
Directed by Max Linder
In recent months, audiences across North America have discovered the French silent comedian Max Linder (1884–1925). Linder developed a signature persona as a dapper Parisian and became an international superstar in the early decades of cinema. Seven Years Bad Luck, his first and most successful feature made in Hollywood, showcases his talents as a director, comedian, and master of the sight gag. Max breaks a mirror, leading to an endless series of calamities variously involving his fiancée, a train trip, the ... more info