A Touch of French

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Suzannah Evans on the French Society’s upcoming free screenings

Every Monday at 7.15pm, the French Society screens a film in School 2 of the Quad. These provide a great opportunity to practice your language skills if you are a French speaker, or to delve into the wonders of French cinema if you are not.

Tanguy: Week 10

Tanguy is an intelligent and perfectly amiable man – and his parents can’t stand him. Why? Twenty-eight years after his birth, Tanguy has yet to move out of his family home. His long-suffering mother and father can no longer stand their son’s piles of laundry, empty yoghurt pots and loud sexual conquests, and resolve to drive him out.

The film, directed by Etienne Chatiliez, is wonderfully funny and Eric Berger is perfect in the role of the unflappable and eloquent Tanguy. The drastic measures taken by his parents to be rid of him do verge on being cruel, but perhaps echo a wider social phenomenon: the film was so successful in France that the phrase ‘être un Tanguy’ is now used to describe an adult still living with their parents!

Huit Femmes: Week 11

Entertaining, amusing and downright bizarre, Huit Femmes is a murder mystery like no other. Set in a sumptuously decorated country house in the middle of winter, the story revolves around the murder of the household’s patriarch and the realisation that one of the eight women present must be the killer.

Riddled with deception, accusations and unexpected lesbian love affairs, the plot in some way resembles a warped episode of Midsummer Murders with added dancing and singing. That said, you would be unlikely to find so many stars of French cinema in a television series: Fanny Ardent is magnificent as the sultry Pierrette and Catherine Deneuve makes an admirable mistress of the house. Huit Femmes is musical comedy at its best.

Un Prophète: Week 12

Un Prophète is not a film for the faint hearted. Shot through with violence and extremely gritty throughout, one of the opening scenes is so brutal that I admit to shutting my eyes for most of it. However, Jacques Audiard’s masterpiece, which won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, is also an incredibly moving tale of one man’s rise from prison nobody to criminal mastermind – and all this when he is only 19 years old.

The bleak prison makes a perfect setting for Malik’s eventual rebellion, and despite his ruthlessness there are moments where he appears to be a deeply sympathetic character. Complete with mafia bosses, graphic assassinations and copious amounts of bloodshed, the film will certainly please those who enjoy action, but it is also a vivid commentary on male friendship, hierarchy and redemption.

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