Mill Valley Film Festival

October 4 – October 14
Mill Valley Film Festival

All the program HERE

AMOUR
Directed by Michael Haneke
With Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant
Winner of the Palme d’Or Prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

Cinema feeds on stories of love and death, but how often do filmmakers really offer new or challenging perspectives on either? Michael Haneke’s Amour is devastatingly original and unflinching in the way it examines the effect of love on death, and vice versa. It’s a staggering, intensely moving look at old age and life’s end, which at its heart offers two performances of incredible skill and wisdom from French veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.  The director of Hidden and The White Ribbon offers an intimate, brave and devastating portrait of an elderly Parisian couple, Anne (Riva) and Georges (Trintignant), facing up to a sudden turning point in their lives.

HOLY MOTORS
Directed by Leos Carax
Starring: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes, Elise Lhomeau, Michael Piccoli

Given the Quixotic title of French provocateur Leos Carax’s wild tour de force, it’s tempting to think he views his leading man, Denis Lavant, as being on a mission from God. Chauffeured around Paris by the icy, statuesque beauty Céline (French film legend Edith Scob), Monsieur Oscar (Lavant) transforms himself into grotesque and sublime characters as he acts out the fantasies of various clients. There’s also something quite profane in Lavant’s portrayals, and maybe that’s the pointfor Carax, the grotesque is the sublime, and the profane, sacred. Unquestionably, this is cinéma du look at its most gorgeousthe screen radiates with shocking, beautiful imagery as Lavant playacts often mind-bending scenarios. But it’s also surprisingly funny and emotional; although full of cinematic allusions (from Jacques Demy’s forlorn musicals to Planet of the Apes), Holy Motors is never just an intellectual exercise. At its eccentric heart, it’s about the roles we assume in an attempt to make authentic connections. Playing God has never seemed so vulnerably human.

Happy Event
Directed by Rémi Bezançon

Starring: Louise Bourgoin, Pio Marmaï, Josiane Balasko, Thierry Frémont

It is no small coincidence that, at the outset of this witty, candid meditation on motherhood, a philosophy professor invokes Kafka’s Metamorphosis as he’s speaking with his bright and (unbeknownst to him) pregnant protégée, Barbara (Louise Bourgoin). Based on Éliette Abécassis’s best-selling novel, Rémi Bezançon’s whimsical taboo-breaking tale follows Barbara’s transformation from her meet-cute with a video store clerk (Pio Marmaï) to her impulsive, not to mention implosive, decision to bear a child. In a standout performance, Bourgoin is simultaneously vulnerable and resilient as a woman struggling to reconcile her intellectual pursuits with her visceral experience as a first-time mother. In a style reminiscent of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Bezançon boldly mines the comedy and tragedy of Barbara’s predicament, exploring how our true education in life comes not from unified theories but from the tangled web of family and friends that challenges, confounds and ultimately defines us.

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