Young French Cinema 2016

July 1 - August 3

From July 1 through August 3, the Gene Siskel Film Center, in partnership with UniFrance films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, presents Young French Cinema 2016, a series of ten films that showcases emerging French filmmakers. All films in the series are Chicago premieres.

No other national cinema has highlighted youth so centrally and consistently. The tradition dates back to the time of the French New Wave, when Francois Truffaut’s 1959 debut THE 400 BLOWS focused attention on a celebrated movement that saw 97 new directors make their first films within a period of three years.

New directors and first films have been supported by such state-sponsored institutions as UniFrance, which promotes French cinema abroad, and the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), which earmarks funds for emerging filmmakers, with a mandate to favor films that are "independent" and "audacious." Typically, 35-40% of the yearly total of French films are made by first-timers. As film historian Tim Palmer has written, "This systematic emphasis upon young cinema makes France unique."

The cover of the April 2013 issue of the fabled French film journal Cahiers du cinéma featured a brick wall with the graffiti-like scrawl YOUNG FRENCH CINÉASTES ARE NOT DEAD! Inside were a series of articles proclaiming the arrival of a distinctive new generation of French filmmakers, led by such talents as Sébastian Betbeder, Guillaume Brac, Yann Gonzalez, Antonin Peretjatko, Justine Triet, and Rebecca Zlotowski.

Several of those filmmakers were included in the first edition of Young French Cinema, which played at the Film Center in June 2015. In this 2016 edition, we are pleased to present an entirely new group of rising talents whose work testifies to the continual renewal of French cinema.

Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming

Young French Cinema 2016 is a program of UniFrance Films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Special thanks to Aude Hespert and Adeline Monzier of UniFrance Films; Denis Quenelle and Laurence Geannopulos of the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago; Lori Hile of the Gene Siskel Film Center.


Chicago premiere!

The Last Hammer Blow

Le dernier coup de marteau

2015, Alix Delaporte, France, 83 min. With Romain Paul, Clotilde Hesme.


  • Fri, Jul 1st 6:00pm
  • Sun, Jul 3rd 5:15pm

Chicago premiere!


Terre Battue

2014, Stéphane Demoustier, France/Belgium, 95 min. With Olivier Gourmet, Charles Mérienne.


  • Mon, Jul 4th 3:00pm
  • Wed, Jul 6th 6:00pm

Chicago premiere!

Eat Your Bones

Mange tes morts

2014, Jean-Charles Hue, France, 98 min. With Jason Francois, Michael Dauber.


  • Fri, Jul 8th 6:00pm
  • Wed, Jul 13th 8:15pm

Chicago premiere!



2014, Brigitte Sy, France, 97 min. With Leila Bekhti, Reda Kateb.


  • Sun, Jul 10th 3:00pm
  • Thu, Jul 14th 6:00pm

Chicago premiere!

Young Tiger

Bébé Tigre

2014, Cyprien Vial, France, 87 min. With Harmandeep Palminder, Élisabeth Lando.


  • Fri, Jul 15th 6:15pm
  • Sat, Jul 16th 5:30pm

Chicago premiere!

The Great Game

Le grand jeu

2015, Nicolas Pariser, France, 100 min. With Melvil Poupaud, André Dussollier.


  • Sun, Jul 17th 3:00pm
  • Tue, Jul 19th 6:00pm

Chicago premiere!


Vincent n'a pas d'écailles

2014, Thomas Salvador, France, 78 min. With Thomas Salvador, Vimala Pons.


  • Fri, Jul 22nd 6:00pm
  • Wed, Jul 27th 6:00pm

Chicago premiere!

Portrait of the Artist

Le dos rouge

2015, Antoine Barraud, France, 127 min. With Bertrand Bonello, Jeanne Balibar.


  • Sun, Jul 24th 3:00pm
  • Thu, Jul 28th 6:00pm

Chicago premiere!

Story of Judas

Histoire de Judas

2014, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, France, 99 min. With Nabil Djeddouani, Mohamed Aroussi.


  • Sat, Jul 30th 5:15pm
  • Mon, Aug 1st 6:00pm

Chicago premiere!

Sense of Humor

Le sens de l'humour

2014, Marilyne Canto, France, 90 min. With Marilyne Canto, Antoine Chappey.


  • Sun, Jul 31st 3:00pm
  • Wed, Aug 3rd 6:00pm