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5 French films

5 French films
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Once again the MFA film program never lets you down when you’re hurting for some serious foreign filmage. There’s only been a handful of foreign language films that have even opened in Space City this year but this weekend the MFA’s Brown Auditorium hosts five contemporary French films.

A couple of these movies played in brief engagements late last year when the Angelika was still open while a couple more are in the middle of North American theatrical rollouts. All five of the movies are comedies.

The Five Funny French Films series is part of the 2011 French Cultures Festival, whose partners include the Consulate General of France in Houston, the Alliance Française de Houston, along with the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts.

The following synopsis are from the MFA’s press release:

The French Kissers (Les beaux gosses)

Friday, 3/25, 7 pm.

The French Kissers is a rollicking tale that follows a pair of awkward teenage boys as they suffer the endless embarrassments and minor triumphs of their first sexual experiences. While Herve (Vincent Lacoste) and Camel (Anthony Sonigo) are forever fantasizing over their female classmates, they’re rarely able to go as far as actually talking to any of them, other than to mumble a few incoherent insults. But when Herve inexplicably catches the eye of the sweet but equally hormone-fuelled Aurore (Alice Tremolieres), he’s pushed to choose between his first probable girlfriend, his unquenchable libido, and his best friend. Remarkably fresh and smart, not to mention flat-out hilarious, The French Kissers is unabashed in its depictions of not only the humiliations of youth but also the trials of parenthood.

Heartbreaker (L’arnacoeur)

Friday, 3/25, 9 pm.

Charming, funny, and effortlessly cool, Alex (Romain Duris) is a professional heartbreaker who—for a fee— can turn any husband, fiancé, or boyfriend into an ex. Alex has one ironclad rule: He only breaks up couples in which the woman is unhappy. His latest job will put that rule to the test. The target is Juliette (Vanessa Paradis), a beautiful heiress who is set to marry the man of her dreams. With 10 days left until the wedding, Alex has been hired by her father to carry out his most daring seduction—one that risks exposing his true identity to his ruthless personal creditors, countless angry exes, and the beautiful and independent Juliette herself. But worst of all, he may discover at his own cost that when it comes to love, the perfect plan doesn’t exist.

Potiche

Saturday, 3/26, 7 pm.

Suzanne (Catherine Deneuve) is the submissive, housebound wife of wealthy industrialist Robert (Fabrice Luchini), who oversees both his umbrella factory and his family with an iron fist in the late 1970s. When the factory workers go on strike and take Robert hostage, Suzanne steps in to manage the factory. To everyone’s surprise, she proves to be a competent and assertive woman of action, reconnecting with former lover Maurice (Gerard Depardieu) in the process. But when Robert returns from a restful cruise in top form, things get complicated.

OSS 117: Lost in Rio

Saturday, 3/26, 9:30 pm.

The pride of French intelligence, Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (Jean Dujardin)—code-named OSS 117—has a new mission that takes him to the tumultuous, bossa nova-era Brazil of the 1960s. Teaming up with a sexy Mossad agent, his mission is to capture a Nazi blackmailer who holds an embarrassingly long list of French WWII collaborators. With a jubilantly retro score and production design, along with a flair for 1960s-era cinematic vocabulary, OSS 117 again proves to be the perfect man to send up Western arrogance and French chauvinism with biting satire and scathing wit.

A Town Called Panic (Panique au village)

Sunday, 3/27, 5 pm.

Based on the Belgian animated cult television, Panic stars three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian, and Horse, who share a rambling house in a rural town that is always brimming with the strangest characters and situations. A perilously wacky chain of events takes place when Cowboy and Indian try to throw a barbecue for Horse. A hilarious and frequently surreal stop-motion extravaganza.

–Michael Bergeron