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Young French Cinema 2017

May 13 - 31

The Gene Siskel Film Center, in partnership with UniFrance films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, presents Young French Cinema 2017, a series of six 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.”

We previously hosted the 2015 and 2016 editions of "Young French Cinema." If there is a predominant thread in the widely varied selections of this 2017 selection, it is the globalization and diversification of French cinema. The anarchic comedy STRUGGLE FOR LIFE is set in Guyana. The prostitution drama MUCH LOVED is not only set in Morocco, but the director and main characters are Arabic-speaking Moroccans. Beginning in Berlin and ending in Brooklyn, THIS SUMMER FEELING is mostly in English and its main character is American writer played by a Norwegian actor. The youth-oriented documentary SWAGGER is set in a Paris suburb and its subjects speak French, but they are of African and Middle Eastern descent and inhabit a world where indigenous French persons are virtually absent. As these films indicate, Young French Cinema is becoming more and more a cinema without borders.

— Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming

"Young French Cinema 2017" is a program of UniFrance Films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Special thanks to Adeline Monzier of UniFrance Films; Fabrice Rozie, Denis Quenelle, and Laurence Geannopulos of the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.