While foreign filmmakers not named Almodovar or von Trier have a tougher time than ever getting into U.S. theaters , French directors reap one success after another. The Class, Séraphine, Paris, and Coco Before Chanel represent a mere sliver, however, of the most vital and vibrant national cinema this side of Bollywood. French Cinema Now, solidly ensconced on the local film calendar in just its second year, tends to spotlight younger filmmakers and next-generation actors. Sylvie Verheydes autobiographical Stella (Oct 31 at 2:30 p.m. and tonight at 7) follows a working-class girl dealing with haughty attitudes and unexpected possibilities in an upscale middle school circa 1977. Working on a larger socio-spiritual-political canvas, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeches Adhen (Nov. 1 at 4:15 p.m. and tonight at 9:15) explores the web of complications that ensues when a factory owner on the outskirts of Paris erects a mosque for his employees. The risk-averse with a preference for tried-and-true auteurs are directed to closing night, Nov. 4, when the latest works by Benoît Jacquot (Villa Amalia, starring the always mesmerizing Isabelle Huppert) and Claude Chabrol (Bellamy, with the great Gérard Depardieu) unspool. These directors have an enviable track record in America, but in this climate even they arent assured of a U.S. release.
Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2009