Back in 2010 I started a blog entry listing interesting (mostly European) movies that did not get a cinematic release in the UK. Many updates later, this entry has become just a little bit unwieldy, with two lists running in opposite directions, so I suspect I’m the only one who still finds anything in that entry (although it has been viewed more than 2500 times and is among the five most-viewed entries of all time).
Thus, I decided to start from scratch with a clean slate and just one list of films running chronologically forward, so starting with the earliest ones. I’ll start with films produced in 2012, because that’s where the old review/appreciation list fizzles out (unlike the watch list, which also included films that were more recent and those that I hadn’t seen yet). Within each year, the films that I actually managed to see are listed first. Oh, and female directors are now also highlighted in bold font (work in progress).
So, without further ado, off we go:
Camille redouble (Camille rewinds) - France 2012, Noémie Lvovsky - Charming if slightly illogical time travel story featuring the director in the lead role. It was - released in around a dozen countries but no UK date in sight.
La fille de nulle part - France 2012, Jean-Claude Brisseau - this low-budget ghost story looks like poor old Brisseau is now reduced to filming in his own flat and playing the lead himself, but it is still interesting.
Mapa para conversar (A map for love) - Chile 2012, Constanza Fernandez, starring Andrea Moro, Mariana Prat, Francisca Bernardi - three women in a cute little chamber piece mostly set on a small boat. Restrictions clear the mind, as one of the characters says. Available on DVD from the lovely peccadillo pictures.
Des morceaux de moi (Pieces of me) - France 2012, Nolwenn Lemesle, starring Adele Exarchopoulos (before she became famous in that other role) - growing up in a dysfunctional family in the middle of nowhere (in this case Picardie, northern France) can be hell, as the contrast between Adele Exarchopoulos' character, Erell, and everything around her demonstrates. Erell tries to cope by recording a video diary of her daily life, thus locking up her teenage trauma in a little box which she can eventually leave behind.
Una pistola en cada mano - Spain 2012, Cesc Gay - Shown in Germany (Ein Freitag in Barcelona), and at the London Spanish Film Festival 2013.
Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the world) Germany 2012, Detlev Buck. Adaptation of Daniel Kehlmann's bestselling novel.
Klip (Clip) - Serbia 2012, Maja Milos
Weil ich schöner bin - Germany 2012, Frieder Schlaich
El amigo aleman (The German friend) - Germany, Argentina 2012, Jeanine Meerapfel
3 - Uruguay, Argentina, Germany 2012 - Pablo Stoll - oops, there are too many movies called 3, I was looking for this one and first found the one below, and got all confused.
Tres - Ecuador, Argentina, Germany 2012
3 Zimmer/Küche/Bad (Move) - Germany 2012
Baad el Mawkeaa (After the Battle) - France / Egypt 2012
Después de Lucía - Mexico / France 2012
A perdre la raison - Belgium 2012, Joachim Lafosse, starring Emilie Dequenne
Buscando a Eimish - Spain 2012, Ana Rodríguez Rosell, starring Manuela Vellés, Emma Suárez - shown at the London Spanish Film Festival 2012
Joven y alocada - Chile 2012, Marialy Rivas
Goltzius and the Pelican Pelican Company - UK 2012, Peter Greenaway
Angélique (I) - France 2013, Ariel Zeitoun - A fresh-looking new adaptation of the bestselling history romances by Anne and Serge Golon. I admit I watched part of it during travels in a hotel room and kind of liked it, so I ordered the DVD. Review to follow.
Landes - France 2013, François-Xavier Vives, starring Marie Gillain - gloomy reflections on life, boredom and social problems in the vast pine forests near Bordeaux set in the early 20th century. Compare and contrast with Therese Desqueyroux, starring Audrey Tautou, which did get a UK release.
Jack et la mécanique du coeur (Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart) - France 2013, Stéphane Berla, Mathias Malzieu - interesting CGI-fairy tale in a surreal steampunk-style setting. One could spend hours unpicking cultural references from Jules Verne through to modern ones.
Las brujas de Zugarramurdi (Witching and bitching) - Spain 2013, Alex de la Iglesia, starring Carolina Bang, Carmen Maura. Shown at various festivals in the US and UK. Too much horror and buddy movie for my tastes, so I won't even attempt to review it, but here's the New York Times' take on it.
Arrêtez-moi - France 2013, Jean-Paul Lilienfeld, starring Sophie Marceau, Miou-Miou. Powerful and disturbing chamber drama about lives destroyed by domestic violence.
Flores raras (Reaching for the Moon) - Brazil 2013, Bruno Barreto
Ayer no termina nunca (Yesterday never ends) - Spain 2013, Isabel Coixet - shown at the Berlin International Film Festival 2013, and at the London Spanish Film Festival 2013
La marche - France 2013, Nabil Ben Yadir, starring Hafsia Herzi - I only know about this film because the trailer is on a DVD I own, probably one I bought in France.
Todos estan muertos - Spain/Germany/Mexico 2014, Beatriz Sanchis, starring Elena Anaya - the first full-length feature from Sanchis is a nice little film on a former pop singer traumatised by the accidental death of her brother and bandmate. Mecano may have been a musical inspiration. Only released in Spain and Mexico, and shown at a few festivals.
Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles - France 2014, Cécile Telerman, starring Emmanuelle Béart - a spirited defense of authors' rights, in a way. Based on the best-selling novel by Katherine Pancol.
Die geliebten Schwestern (Beloved sisters) - Germany 2014, Dominik Graf, starring Hannah Herzsprung. Young poet Friedrich Schiller's love life - it's complicated.
On a faillie être amies (Almost friends) - France 2014, Anne Le Ny, starring Karin Viard, Emmanuelle Devos, Roschdy Zem. Some nice scheming going on in this female-led comedy where the male chef serves as a trophy husband.
Arrête ou je continue (If you don't, I will) - France 2014, Sophie Fillières, starring Emmanuelle Devos, who gets lost in the woods and finds herself. Otherwise somewhat depressing relationship breakdown.
Respire (Breathe) - France 2014, Mélanie Laurent - shown at lots of festivals around the world, released in half a dozen countries. Managed to catch it on TV5 at some point but memories are evaporating fast. Felt kind of ethereal.
Ocho apellidos vascos (Spanish affair) - Spain 2014, Emilio Martínez Lázaro - only shown at the London Film Festival 2014.
Sous les jupes des filles - France 2014, Audrey Dana
Marie Heurtin (Marie's story) - France 2014, Jean-Pierre Améris, starring Isabelle Carré
Week-ends - France 2014, Anne Villacèque - released in Germany as "Wochenenden in der Normandie"
Au fil d'Ariane (Ariane's thread) - France 2014, Robert Guédiguian - released in Germany in Dec 2014 as "Café Olympique - Ein Geburtstag in Marseille"
Las insoladas (Sunstrokes) - Argentina 2014, Gustavo Taretto - released in Germany in August 2015.
Qui vive (Insecure) - France 2014, Marianne Tardieu, starring Adele Exarchopoulos
Une rencontre (A chance encounter) - France 2014, Lisa Azuelos, starring Sophie Marceau.
Tu veux ... ou tu veux pas? (Sex love and therapy) - France 2014, Tonie Marshall, starring Sophie Marceau (I'm on a roll adding all of Sophie Marceau's movies since 2012, as none of them have been shown in the UK.)
Jamais contente - France 2015, Emilie Deleuze - starring nobody I've ever seen before, this is a 21st century version of La Boum where the girl gets to sing in a band rather than going to a party. I wanted her band to be more punk though.
Qui c'est les plus forts? (You'll never walk alone) - France 2015, Charlotte de Turckheim, starring Alice Pol, Audrey Lamy. Charming comedy ticking off all the social issues of our time, maybe too obvious in its box ticking, but extra kudos to the director for casting herself in an unlikable role.
Je suis a vous tout de suite (I'm all yours) France 2015, Baya Kasmi, starring Vimala Pons. Billed as a comedy about a woman who can't say no, it has some rather dark undertones too, but overall manages to keep a warm tone and feelgood vibe. I didn't know Vimala Pons before, will have to watch out for other work. Intriguingly, she did an earlier short film with Baya Kasmi, called "J'aurais pu être une pute" which could almost be connected to this film.
Journal d'une femme de chambre (Diary of a chambermaid) - France 2015, starring Léa Seydoux, shown at the Berlinale, all of which is sadly no guarantee that we will get to see it here (except in the French Film Festival UK showing in a small number of cities.)
Mi gran noche (My great night) - Spain 2015, Alex de la Iglesia, starring Carolina Bang.
Le gout des merveilles - France 2015, Eric Besnard.
Go home - France 2015, Jihane Chouaib
Je suis un soldat - France 2015, Laurent Larivière
La taularde (Jailbirds) - France 2015, Audrey Estrougo, starring Sophie Marceau.
Corps étranger (Foreign body) - France/Tunisia 2016, Raja Amari, starring Sarra Hannachi. Very intimate portrait of one refugee's story.
À tous les vents du ciel (Twisting fate) - France 2016, starring Noémie Merlant. Yes, she may be a bit of a manic pixie dream girl stereotype, but the film is amazing in the extent to which it focuses on her and lets all male characters drop by the wayside. (Update April 2022: just spotted the name of Noémie Merlant here, who later shot to fame with portrait d'une jeune femme en feu, I hadn't made the connection at all, and she plays a character much younger than her real age here)
Rupture pour tous (Love is dead) - France/Belgium 2016. Charming and timely little comedy involving nobody I've ever heard of before.
Fleur de tonnerre (Poisoning angel) - France 2016, Stéphanie Pillonca, starring Déborah François - brilliant and quite a bit scary, see my review. IMDB lists no foreign releases at all - not the image of Brittany and of French women that people want to project ...
Maman a tort (Trainee day) - France 2016, starring Emilie Dequenne - bookended by fleeting party scenes reminiscent of La boum, a 14-year-old girl has her moral compass comprehensively crushed by a week-long work-experience at her mum's insurance company. Bottom line: yes capitalism is evil but just play along and find somebody weaker who can suffer so you don't have to. I might have to channel that anger into a separate blog entry.
O Perfume da Memória - Brazil 2016, Oswaldo Montenegro - amazingly stylish chamber piece in the spirit of Room in Rome and En la cama. Montenegro appears to have made it with his own resources and released it free on YouTube. See my review here.
Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen (Death and the maiden) - Austria / Luxembourg 2016
Paula - Germany 2016, Christian Schwochow. A biopic of painter Paula Modersohn-Becker.
Marie Curie - France 2016, Marie Noelle.
Vor der Morgenröte - Stefan Zweig in Amerika (Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe) - Germany 2016
Orpheline - France 2016 - starring Adele Exarchopoulos, Adele Haenel, Gemma Arterton.
Luna - France 2017, Elsa Diringer, starring Laëtitia Clément - A male victim of a gang assault and a female member of the assaulting gang meet again, a love story as an almost-thriller due to the dark secret lurking in the past. Impressive work from unknown young actors.
Aus dem Nichts (In the fade) - Germany 2017, Fatih Akin - UK release June 2018!!! - on time for the end of the court case against the neo-nazi terror group NSU, the real-life inspiration behind the story.
Plonger (Diving) - France 2017, Mélanie Laurent, starring Maria Valverde. Ignore the trailer, the film is much more interesting than the trailer suggests.
La belle et la meute (Beauty and the dogs)- France 2017, Kaouther Ben Hania, starring Mariam Al Ferjani. Haunting depiction of the aftermath of a rape not shown - it's all to be read from the face of Mariam Al Ferjani.
Prendre le large (Catch the wind) - France 2017, Gaël Morel, starring Sandrine Bonnaire and Lubna Azabal. A textile company moves production from France to Morocco - one of the workers takes up the insincere offer to keep the job and move along. I'm sure I've seen another French film with a small group of workers moving after their jobs ... ah, found it, it's actually from the same year but I had forgotten to include it in this list after I watched it, so adding it now below:
Crash Test Aglaé - France 2017, Eric Gravel, starring India Hair, Yolande Moreau, Julie Depardieu. In this case it's a car factory relocating to India, and the heroines take a car to follow their jobs in easterly direction.
Djam - France 2017, Toni Gatlif, starring Daphne Patakia. Kind of a road movie without transport, and the title character trying to get from Lesbos to Istambul and back. A lot of spontaneous and informal music making happens on the journey otherwise marked by troubles and tribulations. Also dealing with the issue that many refugees have been risking their lives in the attempt to get from Turkey to Lesbos. Some similarities with Tony Gatlif's 2004 movie Exils, which is also set on the EU's southern border, namely between Spain and Morocco.
La mélodie - France 2017, Rachid Hami. This one is based on an earlier Brazilian movie called The violin teacher. Said teacher leads a bunch of kids in a disadvantaged suburb of Paris from zero to a performance at the Phiharmonie. Unlike the treatment such stories get in Hollywood, we don't have a love story thrown in and get only the bare bones of biographical background on the protagonists, which I think is a deliberate choice to show that once they caught the music bug, the project became the most important thing to them, so everything else has to fade into the background.
La lengua del sol (the tongue of the Sun) - Mexico 2017, José Luis Gutiérrez Arias. Lovely little film about the end of the world, so very topical in this day and age, also a nice chamber play in the style of Room in Rome and En la cama. See my review here.
Rodin - France 2017, Jacques Doillon, starring Vincent Lindon and Izïa Higelin
Le Semeur (The sower) - France 2017, Marine Francen - a 19th century man-sharing plot in a village where only women survived the war.
Ma mère est folle (My mother is crazy) - France 2018, Diane Kurys, starring Fanny Ardant. Charming and stylish, even though maybe a bit too close to home ...
Joueurs (Treat me like fire) - France 2018, Marie Monge, starring Stacy Martin. Dark stuff from the world of underground gambling, with a compelling lead.
La belle et la belle (When Margaux meets Margaux) - France 2018, Sophie Fillières, starring Sandrine Kiberlain. The 20 and the 45-year-old version of Margaux cross paths and the older tries to be helpful. It is never revealed which rip in the space-time continuum supposedly made this possible, but the encounter is fun to watch.
Sofia - France/Morocco 2018, Meryem Benm'Barek-Aloïsi. Life is complicated for an unmarried woman giving birth in Casablanca, Morocco. There is no good solution, but the female family members stick together and muddle through somehow, which is more disturbing than uplifting, but I found the grumpy young mother in denial (Maha Alemi) very watchable.
Victor et Célia - France 2018, Pierre Jolivet, starring Arthur Dupont, Alice Belaïdi. Given that I have no interest in hair and beauty salons, there is an amazing number of French films set in this environment that I actually like, and this one joins the ranks of Venus Beaute and Caramel. Alice Belaïdi is a revelation, she also had a smaller role in Les tribulations d'une caissière, 2011.
La dernière folie de Claire Darling - France 2018, Julie Bertuccelli, starring Catherine Deneuve and her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni. Charming and surreal drama about letting go, kind of fits my age now.
Normandie nue (Naked Normandie) - France 2018, Philippe Le Guay
Amoureux de ma femme - France 2018, Daniel Auteuil, starring Adriana Ugarte. Released in Germany in October 2018.
Sin rodeos (Empowered) - Spain 2018. Shown at the London Spanish Film Festival in September 2018, but no release date scheduled at that time.
Un homme pressé - France 2018, starring Fabrice Luchini, Leïla Bekhti.
L'amour est une fête - France 2018, Cédric Anger
LikeMeBack - Italy/Croatia 2018, Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli
Damien veut changer le monde - France 2019, Xavier de Choudens. Charming comedy on illegal ways to help migrant kids stay. Outside France it has been released only in Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco.
Tambour battant - Switzerland 2019, François-Christophe Marzal - with a bunch of unknown actors, this is a musical fable about the incursion of modernity into a Swiss mountain village. Women get the vote (it's 1970!) and the rebel faction of the village band uses modern contraptions like saxophones and tambourines.
Une fille facile - France 2019, Rebecca Zlotowski. Coming of age story set in the obscene wealth of Cannes marina. Not quite sure what to make of this.
Poissonsexe - France 2019, Olivier Babinet, starring India Hair. I got the impression that this was a very strange film, set in a near future where marine life faces extinction and humans may also struggle keeping reproduction going? I only gave it half my attention while doing something else though, so I may have missed some of the subtle clues.
Fabuleuses (Fabulous) - Canada 2019, Mélanie Charbonneau. Fabulous film about three young women, one is a successful influencer, one wants to be her, and one wants to be a professional cellist and objects to the whole influencer nonsense. I was very grateful that the young cellist plays the prelude of the fourth suite, not the one of the first which you'll hear in every other movie that has ever included a cello. I only understood 10% of the dialogues in français québécois (some characters were more understandable than others), so may have to watch it again to see if I can decipher a bit more. I think part of the problem is that it is both heavily coloured by English and invaded by English vocab, but as both the English and the French part of the speech sound the same to me I struggle to keep up with the switches.
Tu mérites un amour (You deserve a lover) - France 2019, starring, written and directed by Hafsia Herzi
Jumbo - France 2020, Zoé Wittock, starring Noémie Merlant, shown at Sundance 2021.
to be continued ... - last updated 1.12.2023
One of our lovely independent cinemas here, not their fault that they're not getting all these films. (Own photo)