Who knew July was French cinema month? Turns out, just about every U.S. indie distributor. For indieWIRE today, I wrote up a story about the influx of French films in U.S. theaters right now. Francophiles should be happy. While I don't believe Laurent Cantet's Haitian-set tale of female desire "Heading South," Francois Ozon's mournful portrait of dying "Time to Leave," Patrice Chereau's subversive domestic experiment "Gabrielle" and Andre Techine's Tangiers-set melodrama "Changing Times" are these filmmakers' best works, they all have something to recommend, whether it's Charlotte Rampling's piercing performance in "Heading South," Ozon's delicate tone-poem aesthetics, Chereau's strings-driven shock cuts, or the bubbling political subtext of "Times."
With the exception of Techine, these are directors who are experimenting, exploring and probing the medium in ways that are exciting, if not exactly revelatory. It's a refreshing to find such groundbreaking cinema during the long, inane dog days of summer. Who are all these people who must see the "Pirates of the Carribean" sequel? I just don't get that one.