As we gear up for the summer, with "Fast Five" hitting theaters next week, and "Thor" following swiftly on its heels, those of us who like to mix up the blockbusters with more thoughtful fare generally have to turn to international cinema in order to prevent ourselves from lapsing into the cinematic equivalent of a diabetic coma. U.S. audiences have the likes of "Tuesday, After Christmas," "Film Socialisme," "The Troll Hunter," "Rapt," "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" and "Sarah's Key" to look forward to, while Empire has just debuted trailers for two very different French pictures that are set to hit screens in the U.K. over the summer.
First up is "Love Like Poison," the debut feature from young director Katell Quillévéré, which debuted at Cannes last year as part of the Director's Fortnight, before going on to play festivals around the world. The story follows a teenager, Anna (in what's apparently an astounding debut performance from Clara Augarde), who returns from Catholic boarding school to discover that her father has left the family. Over the summer, she bonds both with her grandfather (veteran Michel Galabru, perhaps best known to international audiences for Luc Besson's "Subway" and "La Cage Au Folles"), and with a local boy.
We've heard nothing but great things about the film, and the trailer is certainly promising -- and for those calling "rip-off!" over the use of Scala Choir's version of "Creep," best known for its use in the trailer for "The Social Network," the use of the track, which apparently appears in the film itself, pre-dates that. Artificial Eye is releasing the film in the U.K. on May 13th -- there's no sign as yet of a U.S. release.
Almost as polar opposite as a film could be is "Point Blank," which despite appearances, has no relation to John Boorman's gangster classic -- the film was originally titled "À bout portant" in France. The film marks the sophomore effort of Fred Cavayé, whose debut "Pour Elle" was remade last year as Paul Haggis' "The Next Three Days" -- and like his first film, it seems to be a slick Hollywood thriller, coming across, from the trailer at least, almost as a Gallic answer to the Liam Neeson megahit "Taken."
The film toplines Gilles Lellouche ("Little White Lies," the forthcoming "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows"), as Samuel, a nurse who saves the life of a man (Roschdy Zem, best known for "Days of Glory"), who's been hit by a motorbike. As it turns out, however, the patient is being pursued by the Mob, who kidnap Samuel's pregnant wife (Spanish actress Elena Anaya, who has the female lead in Pedro Almodovar's upcoming "The Skin That I Live In"), and force him to hand over the man to them in three hours. Gérard Lanvin ("Mesrine") is also in the mix, as a corrupt cop pursuing Samuel and his charge.
It looks like pacy, high-octane stuff, even if our suspicions are that, like its predecessor, the film looks to be rather generic thriller fare, cut firmly from the Hollywood mold -- although word from France is that the film is at least an improvement on "Pour Elle." It hits the U.K. on June 10th, and again, there's no word on a U.S. release and, with Cavayé sharing that the film's already been optioned for a Hollywood remake, it'll probably stay that way for the moment. Watch both trailers below.