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Have a Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center

Mes Provinciales / A Paris Education
It seems extremely likely that the most popular—if, by no means, its most artistically distinguished—annual series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center is Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, which runs this year from March 8th through the 18th and features an unusually large number of internationally renowned directors, including Raymond Depardon, Xavier Beauvois, Nobuhiro Suwa, Emmanuel Finkiel, Noémie Lvovsky, Eugène Green, Laurent Cantet (the latter two’s latest are being presented by Film Comment), and Bruno Dumont, who has authored several impressive works—although his previous film, Slack Bay, which featured in this series last year, was one of his weakest—and here provides a “heavy-metal musical” set in the fifteenth century!
As distinguished as this slate of filmmakers is, it’s difficult to imagine that any title in the series will surpass in excellence the immensely moving, extraordinarily sensitive Mes Provinciales (A Paris Education) by the underrated and lesser-known Jean-Paul Civeyrac, the story of a youth from Lyons who comes to Paris to become acinéaste. The director here displays an uncanny ability to place the camera for maximum impact while drawing uniformly impressive performances from a cast of unknowns. This study of the urban artistic milieu is an uncommonly penetrating psychological portrait, elevated by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Gustav Mahler and handsomely shot in widescreen monochrome, although its one weakness is that the limitations of the digital format have not been entirely overcome—as outstanding as this is, this would surely have been an even greater achievement had it been photographed and printed in 35-millimeter. Mes Provinciales screens onMarch 12th and the 17th with the director in attendance at the latter showing. To the best of my knowledge, the film has no American distributor and thus should not be missed.
Rendez-Vous with French Cinema
March 8 - 18, 2018
Film Society of Lincoln Center

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