A fabulously wealthy quadriplegic (François Cluzet of Tell No One) hires an ex-con from the projects (Omar Sy) to take care of him in The Intouchables, which in March became the top-grossing non-English-language film of all time.
The Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (L’enfant, Rosetta), who stumbled a bit with their last film, Lorna’s Silence, have made a winning comeback in The Kid with a Bike, a coming-of-age tale about an 11-year-old boy (Thomas Doret), his bicycle and one very kind stranger (Cécile de France).
The impoverished masses rage against the wealthy 1 percent as soldiers return from a long-running war and an “outsider” candidate contends with a fickle electorate in Coriolanus, which might have been ripped from the headlines, if William Shakespeare hadn’t written it in the 17th century.
Serge Gainsbourg has no American equivalent. The homely and hard-living French singer-songwriter’s astoundingly wide-ranging output was often overshadowed by his affairs with the world’s most beautiful women and obscene outbursts on talk shows.
Hard on the heels of Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s mash note to Georges Méliès and Harold Lloyd, comes the considerably less expensive—and considerably more charming—The Artist, a black-and-white, nearly wordless return to silent storytelling, made by Frenchmen and filmed in Hollywood. Set at the dawn of the talkies, its tale is as familiar as Singin’ in the Rain and A Star Is Born.
The redoubtable Charlotte Gainsbourg emerges unscathed from Antichrist, Lars von Trier’s 2009 succès de scandale, as the pointedly named Dawn O’Neil, a newly widowed mother of four, in The Tree.
French filmmaker Julie Bertuccelli’s Australian drama has more to say
about mourning than the similarly named The Tree of Life and has
jellyfish to boot.