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French success in the Berlinale

When the Bear of Berlin sings like a French rooster

 

The Berlinale, which took place from the 11th to the 21st of February 2016 broadcasted several French films in various categories. Was this a nostalgic keen interest for the French New Wave or a recognition of the diversity of styles in French cinema?

 

Three French films, one Silver Bear

In politics, the French and the Germans have experimented up and downs. In cinema, the story differs; the Berlin International Film Festival, aka the Berlinale, has ended on the 21st of February and revealed an interest for French artistic productions.

The official programme presented only three French films: André Téchiné and Danis Tanović presented respectively "Being 17" and "Death in Sarajevo". And director Mia Hansen-Løve, 35 years old, was participating for the first time: "Things to Come" look good for her, since she won the Silver Bear for this film.

From a programme to the next

Side programmes also honoured the French Touch, represented among others by Gérard Depardieu. He has the lead role both in "Saint-Amour", by Benoît Délépine and Gustave Kervern, broadcasted out of competition, and in "The End", by Guillaume Nicloux. "The End" is a sharp and definitive essay starring Depardieu, almost alone for about an hour and a half. The film was broadcasted in the Forum section, the independent category.

And in regards of cinema giants, the future is assured: young Léna Magnien, 13 years old, was one of the revelations of the festival. She's a star in "Miss Impossible", a film by Émilie Deleuze broadcasted in the Generation section which received applause from the audience.

A new Nouvelle Vague?

In an interview for Cineuropa, Dieter Kosslick, President of the Berlinale, applauded the strong French presence by talking about the French New Wave. Would there be a French way to film an intimate moment? The story of growing up in "Miss Impossible" reminds the sulky face of Antoine Doinel caught on camera by François Truffaut in "The 400 blows". Mia Hansen-Løve revealed her admiration for Éric Rohmer: like him, she worked in the famous French magazine "Les Cahiers du Cinéma", in which most of the big names of the French New Wave theorized their view on cinema in the 50's.

But it would be artificial to group all French films under the same aesthetic banner. In "The End", Gérard Depardieu portrays a hunter with a heavy and awkward nature, isolated in an eerie forest. Exactly the opposite of "Saint-Amour", in which he leaves with his son on a wine trail to taste a renewed friendship.

One actor, two very different films. What the selection of French films illustrate in Berlin is most of all the diversity of styles.