Five Funny French Films
Join us for the eighth edition of the popular annual series “Five Funny French Films”! This year’s selections feature performances by many fan-favorite French actors—including cameos by Johnny Hallyday and Emmanuelle Riva that offer great tributes to these two iconic talents who both passed away in 2017. This film series is part of the French Cultures Festival coordinated by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Houston.
Generous funding is provided by L’Alliance Française de Houston; Melanie Gray and Mark Wawro; Franci Neely; and Nina and Michael Zilkha.
A middle-aged filmmaker goes overboard trying to stay “young” in this comedy starring Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard, and the late Johnny Hallyday.
Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon
In this delightful story infused with oddball charm, a Canadian librarian searches for her missing octogenarian aunt in Paris.
Océane Michel and Cyprien Val
Océanerosemarie is convinced she’s met the woman of her dreams—and not for the first time.
A talented concert violinist and renowned cheapskate learns about a teen daughter he never knew existed—and she thinks he’s a generous philanthropist.
Jean Reno stars as a high-profile burglar who reconciles with his two daughters for a heist involving a rare Stradivarius violin.
Past Events in This Series
Jaco Van Dormael
The Guardian calls this dark, witty, and eccentric film “a sweet and blasphemous satire.”
Tired of constantly carrying their parents’ lives on their backs, seven half-siblings hatch a revolutionary plan: They live in one place, and the grownups are the ones who have to rotate in and out of the home.
Algerian farmer Fatah and his belowed cow Jacqueline have an unexpected adventure across France as they travel by foot from Marseilles to the renowned Paris International Agricultural Show.
Orelsan and Christophe Hoffenstein
Uncompleted Song is the hilarious, heartwarming autobiographical tale of leading French rapper Orelsan’s struggle to make his hip-hop dreams come true. The film is as much hip-hop musical comedy as provincial bromance, a heartfelt hybrid true to its writer-director and star’s unique personality.
When Marc snags an internship with a French government ministry, he is surprised to learn that his assignment is to launch a ski resort in tropical French Guyana. Naturally, once in Guyana, everything that could go wrong goes wrong.
RESCHEDULED FROM SATURDAY, MARCH 5! Saint-Far-la-Mauderne is a provincial village hit hard by the recession. The town’s mayor (Didier Bourdon) intends to secure a loan to reopen the salmon-smoking factory, but the application requires the parish to have a full-time doctor. After the mayor gets no response to dozens of letters sent to Paris inviting doctors to their village, one doctor (Lorànt Deutsch) is offered the post in lieu of being arrested for drug possession. The town rolls out the[…]
CHIC! SCREENS ON SATURDAY, MARCH 5, AT 7 P.M. INSTEAD OF HOME SWEET HOME. SUNDAY'S SCREENING TAKES PLACE AS SCHEDULED. Ruthless director Hélène Birk (Marina Hands) reigns over the prestigious haute-couture fashion house led by world-renowned designer Alicia Ricosi (Fanny Ardant). Following Alicia's recent breakup, creative block gets the better of the designer. With the deadline of the next collection around the corner, Hélène must find a fast solution for restoring Alicia's creative mojo!
Comedy fuses with science fiction in this quirky film about the chaos that ensues when an “elk” (in effect, a tall individual who wears a coat, does not speak, and has an elk’s head and antlers) emerges from the forest near a small town. Accepted by a family who interacts with him as if nothing is unusual, they initially shelter their guest from their neighbors. But not for long! Meanwhile a handsome television presenter arrives, seeking his daughter, while an[…]
Laurent Lafitte (Tell No One) and Marina Foïs (Polisse) have a relationship that has meandered toward friendship after years of marriage. Now separated, each receives a job promotion that requires moving overseas. Neither position is ideal for the family, so husband and wife—voraciously and hilariously—compete to humiliate one another, each hoping their three children will choose to stay with the other parent.
Fired from the airline for his excessive womanizing, ex-pilot Lambert (Patrick Bruel) works through his issues in a support group for sex addicts. Inspired by his own progress, Lambert succeeds in a new career as a couples therapist. When his business partner must leave, he interviews replacements and finds himself drawn to Judith (Sophie Marceau), an amorous woman who connects well with patients, but has a sketchy job history. Sparks fly between the couple while both learn about discipline and[…]
For three Parisian siblings (Charles Berry, Emmanuelle Devos, and Sandrine Kiberlain), their widowed mother’s funeral marks the end of an era. Brought together after years of separation, they are soon squabbling about everything from religious traditions to the fate of their parents’ apartment, located in the posh 2nd Arrondissement. Unsure of whether to sell the apartment, they each express grief in the quirkiest of ways. —San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
The veteran auteur Bertrand Tavernier makes a surprise entry in this year’s Five Funny French Films series with a sly, energetic film about the daily grind of diplomacy. Arthur is the new speechwriter for the minister of foreign affairs. While he tries to navigate internal politics, the various strong personalities around him, and the stress of finding the minister’s “voice,” Arthur must also write a speech for the minister that will hopefully put them both in the history books. Based[…]
This droll, witty farce wryly blends reality and fiction while interpreting events from September 2011, when France was riveted by the kidnapping of the celebrated and controversial author Michel Houellebecq. He failed to show for several appearances on a book tour, prompting a series of editorials that he might have been kidnapped. (He eventually resurfaced, with no mention of foul play.) That’s enough for filmmaker Guillaume Nicloux to imagine that Houellebecq (played by himself and described as a Gallic Larry[…]
Forty-year-old Alice is a beautiful, dynamic widow who is passionate about Modern art. She works in a Paris bank with her two best friends, Pénélope and Isabelle, who think it is high time for Alice to start a new life for herself. Despite Alice’s lack of enthusiasm, the friends are determined to make her happy, and they treat her to a weekend at Deauville Art Fair, a perfect place for a romantic encounter. But who will be the lucky guy?[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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,[…]
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.
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;[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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[…]