France (2021)

  • Special Presentations, Comedy, Drama
  • 2h 13m
  • France, Germany, Italy, Belgium

The evolution of Bruno Dumont’s iconoclastic cinema has been one of unpredictability, fearlessness, and uncompromising vision, from the austere realist dramas of his early career to genre experiments with period pieces, absurdist comedies, eccentric television serials, and, most recently, musicals. His latest, France, is a deceptively unhinged and heady concoction of stinging satire and meltdown melodrama, starring a transcendent Léa Seydoux (also appearing at TIFF in The Story of My Wife) in an all-out performance as France de Meurs (French pun very much intended).

France is an egocentric, fame-obsessed television journalist whose unchecked narcissism is aggressively egged on by her Twitter-addicted assistant Lou, played with manic verve by comedian Blanche Gardin. Prioritizing work over family, France attends a news briefing at the Élysée Palace as she would a fashion show and does not shy away from directing ISIS-fighting soldiers in order to get the perfect shot. That is, until an accident leads to both a crisis and an epiphany, revealing that behind France’s ’80s-inspired cinched designerwear, voluminous blowouts, and glammed glow exists a sensitive, melancholic soul with hints of grace.

Perhaps Dumont’s most ambitious and shape-shifting film yet, France is a fascinating character study as well as a timely takedown of our stranger-than-fiction reality. A biting and, at times, hilarious critique of media and visual culture, France confronts a world of self-serving posturing and an industry pandering to both cults of personality and the spectacle of misery. It also explores the tensions inherent in a profession torn between ratings-driven capitalism and the noble aims of truth telling.

Employing a glossy visual language that suggests narrative convention before turning it on its head more than once, Dumont heightens the strange, even deranged tone with surprising fantastical departures, show-stopping set pieces, and a haunting, off-kilter score by the legendary late French pop singer Christophe.

ANDRÉA PICARD

Director

Bruno Dumont

Cinematographer

David Chambille

Editor

Bruno Dumont

Editor

Nicolas Bier

Producer

Jean Bréhat

Producer

Muriel Merlin

Producer

Rachid Bouchareb

Production Designer

Markus Dicklhuber

Screenwriter

Bruno Dumont

Composer of Original Score

Christophe

US Distributor

Kino Lorber Inc.

Primary External Publicist

Sophie Gluck PR

International Sales Agent

Indie Sales

Language

French

Captions

English

Programme presented by
Visa