Léa Seydoux brilliantly holds the center of Bruno Dumont’s unexpected and unsettling new film, which begins as a satire of contemporary news media before steadily spiraling out into something far richer and darker. Never one to shy away from provocation, Dumont casts Seydoux as France de Meurs, a seemingly unflappable superstar TV journalist whose career, home life, and psychological stability are shaken after she carelessly drives into a young delivery man on a busy Paris street. This accident triggers a series of self-reckonings, as well as a strange romance that proves impossible to shake. A film that teases at redemption while refusing to grant absolution, France is tragicomic and deliciously ambivalent—a very 21st-century treatment of the difficulty of maintaining one’s identity in a corrosive culture.
134 min | 2021 | France, Italy, Germany, Belgium
Propelled by coincidence and imagination, and guided by love’s gentle current, acclaimed director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Asako I & II) returns with an enchanting triptych that spins mundane encounters into a world of infinite possibilities. In Episode 1: Magic (or Something Less Assuring), a young woman is startled when she realizes that her best friend’s new flame might just be her ex; in Episode 2: Door Wide Open, a disgruntled student plots to trick his college professor, using his friend-with-benefits as bait; and in Episode 3: Once Again, a girl’s college reunion leads to an unanticipated run-in with an old friend, and awakens feelings long since forgotten. Playfully inspired by life’s tiny miracles, and bound together by memory, regret, deception, and fate, Hamaguchi leaves no stone unturned in his quest to chart the ever-deepening mysteries of the all-too-human heart.
122 min | 2021 | Japan