The Wave is rolling toward our shores this week, a five-day, 11-film mini-film fest put on by Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Intended as a mid-year fundraiser for SBIFF, it features in its first year a focus on France and French directors, with other countries slotted for following years. So why France as the first choice?
“French cinema is very popular among our audience,” says SBIFF programmer Mickey Duzdevich, meaning Santa Barbara in general. He points to the success of the French films that screen in SBIFF’s Showcase series at Plaza de Oro every Wednesday. “Those films are the ones that sell out.” And at the last SBIFF, French films sold more tickets. Who knew Santa Barbara were such Francophiles? Quelle surprise!
The 11-film festival is seen as a more interesting alternative to the usual tuxedo-style event fundraisers, and puts the larger festival out there as a screener of films year-round. The selections are all from the last year of filmmaking, and it’s unlikely that a majority of them will get a regular release, so this is your one and only chance.
Being a fundraiser, there are also some options beyond the regular ticket price. There’s a Cinephile Pass that gets you into all films and the opening night reception; and there is a Patron Pass that adds reserved seating as well as happy hours before the films.
Playing Dead (Je fais le mort)
Dir. Jean-Paul Salome, 2013
A difficult and unemployed thespian (Francois Damiens) takes a job as the victim in a police department’s murder investigation, and immediately tries to take over the investigation, frustrating the detectives, but attracting a female head investigator. Both a satire and a mystery, the film deconstructs both genres for huge laughs.
Not My Type (Pas son genre)
Dir. Lucas Belvaux, 2014
Mr. Belvaux is best known for his multi-genre film series “Trilogy,” a tale told three times. This time he takes the “opposites attract” romantic comedy genre and takes it seriously, even while making the couple disparate — Loic Corbery’s character is a cold academic, while Emilie Dequenne’s Jennifer is a joyful, gossip-magazine reading hairdresser.
Brotherhood of Tears (La confrerie des larmes)
Dir. Jean-Baptiste Andrea, 2013
Jeremie Renier stars in this thriller about a man who takes a job as a courier, delivering a mysterious black suitcase to various people and told never to open it. However, he is soon forced into a situation where he must discover what is inside the suitcase in order to protect his family.
Dir. Katell Quillevere, 2013
Sara Forestier plays the title character, a selfish working-class girl who pursues a charming but criminal Julien (Paul Hamy) much to the detriment of her family.
Weekends in Normandy (Week-ends)
Dir. Anne Villaceque, 2014
The daily life of two couples who live across from each other in Normandy make up this observational drama. Divorce proceedings, misunderstandings, and more.
9 Month Stretch (9 mois ferme)
Dir. Albert Dupontel, 2013
In a series of bad decisions she can’t recall, an upright judge (Sandrine Kiberlain) finds she is pregnant by the man who is currently in her courtroom, a career criminal played by the director himself. Comic complications follow. Also features “The Artist’s” Jean Dujardin in a hilarious cameo.
We Love You, You Bastard (Salaud, on t’aime)
Dir. Claude Lelouch, 2014
The most experienced director of the fest, this is Mr. Lelouch’s 44th film. His comedy of errors features a photographer (French rock singer of yore Johnny Halliday) who leaves his wife to live in the country with his new love. However, his daughters refuse to see him until his best friend lies and tells them he only has weeks to live.
Dir. Sylvain Chomet, 2014
The director of “Triplets of Belleville” and “The Illusionist” makes this his first live-action feature, a story about a mute piano prodigy with two smothering aunts who has a major breakthrough when he drinks some hallucinogenic brew and all his repressed memories float out. A colorful, whimsical film.
Dir. Agnes Obadia, 2013
Marilou Berry plays Josephine, who in a fit of jealousy, tops her sister’s engagement announcement by lying that she too is engaged, to a Brazilian millionaire. Her lie then spirals out of control as she tries to hide the truth.
Two more films are yet to be announced.
The Wave Film Festival
When: 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. screenings Wed. through Sun. July 20.
Where: Riviera Theatre, 2044 Alameda Padre Serra
Cost: $15 individual, $150 Cinephile Pass, $500 Patron Pass
Information: 963-0023, sbiff.org