Presented in split screen, VORTEX tells the story of an aging couple in a Paris apartment. As the mother (legendary French actess Françoise Lebrun) faces advancing dementia, the father (legendary filmmaker Dario Argento) tries to care for her while dealing with his own declining health, and their son (Alex Lutz) does his best in spite of his own significant personal problems. With this film, Director Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void, Climax, Irreversible) delivers a career best, finding a level of compassion and tenderness that sacrifices none of the visual excitement that has marked his best work. A bone-deep sensory immersion anchored by two performances of astonishing commitment and emotional power. Greeted with a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival this amazing film is already being called a masterpiece.
Céline Sciamma continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers with her follow up to PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, the uniquely emotional, PETITE MAMAN. Following the death of her beloved grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly accompanies her parents to her mother's childhood home to begin the difficult process of cleaning out its contents. As Nelly explores the house and nearby woods, she is immediately drawn to a neighbor her own age building a treehouse. What follows is a tender tale of childhood grief, memory and connection.
Not only one of the best reviewed films of the year, with recent events in the news HAPPENING is quite suddenly among the most important. In this clear-eyed, harrowing tale, set in 1960s France, but feeling acutely timely, Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei) is a bright young student with a promising future. But when she becomes pregnant, she sees the opportunity to finish her studies and escape the constraints of her background slipping away. With her final exams fast approaching and her belly growing, Anne resolves to act, even if she has to confront shame and pain, even if she must risk prison to do so. Audrey Diwan's thoughtful, angry and masterfully executed film shows the terrible consequences of denying a woman her right to choose.
HAPPENING won top honors at the Venice Film Festival, and Vartolomei took home a César for her portrayal of a college student facing a life-threatening decision.
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