Cinefranco 2018 Review: LE FINALE (IN THE GAME) (France/Belgium 2018) ***

In the Game Poster
A rebellious teenager must travel the country with his sick grandpa to get to his basketball game.


Robin Sykes

The final game referred to in the film title is the FIFA 1998 World Cup in which France won.  Trouble is that this is the year 2018 and for Roland (Thierry Lhermitte) who suffers from Alzheimer’s, that game is still to be played.  The whole Verdi family is caring for Roland, the grandfather, who is affected by Alzheimer’s disease.  JB, the family teenager (Roland’s grandson) has only one goal: to go to Paris to play his basketball final.  But his parents want him to give it up and keep an eye on his grandfather as they are busy this weekend. JB decides to take him with him.  During this trip, nothing will happen as planned.  The film is better than it sounds.  It is quite funny with slid humour on the disease as well as some racists jokes throne in for good measure.  Excuse is that Roland with memory problems can make them.  The Chinese  have it the worst, but me, being Chinese still find it laugh-out loud hilarious.  Truthfully, they are quiet harmless.  A sweet segment in the film involves two Alzheimer’s patients, falling in love.

Thierry Lhermitte (DINER DE CONS, ZEBRA, RIPOUX CINTRE RIPOUX) is excellent.  This is the kind of French comedy that calls for a Hollywood remake.  But who could tell that France would win the World Cup again this year in 2018?


Cinefranco 2018 Review: CARBONE (CARBON) (France 2017) ***

Carbone Poster

2:11 | Trailer
Danger of losing his business, Anthony Roca, an ordinary man, develops a scam that will become the heist of the century. Overtaken by the crime, he will have to deal with betrayal, murder and settling.


Olivier Marchal


Ali Hajdi (original idea), Olivier Marchal (adaptation) | 3 more credits »

The title of this dark thriller CARBON comes from the fact of France trying to limit carbon emissions by industrial companies.  

One such company that meets the quota belongs to the protagonist of the film, Antoine Roca (Benoît Magimel),  Unfortunately the firm is in huge debt and he cannot meet the daily cash flow.  It is a family business from his in-laws who treat him as a loser.  His father-in-law is played by no less than Gerard Depardieu who is a real meanie in the story, belittling Antoine and cutting him off from his son.  Antoine’s wife is not sympathetic either.  Faced with the threat of losing his firm, Antoine mounts a scam which will become the burglary of the century.  Entangled with gangsters, he must cope with betrayal, murder, and settling of scores.  

The selling of carbon is a bit confusing but the film still works as an entertaining thriller.  Depardieu shows his star power stealing every scene he is in.



Let the Girls Play Poster

The story of the first all-female soccer team in France, which started as a provocation but became a revolution.


Julien Hallard

This definite crowd pleaser set in the late 60’s is the story of how the first all-female football team was formed in France.  (Other European cities like Italy, England and Ireland already had theirs). 

 The film centres of Paul Coutard, a 30-year-old sports journalist sporting the Betales-like haircut of the 60’s at daily newspaper Le Champenois. Charming, childish and a womaniser, he does exactly what he pleases.  When his boss forces him to plan the newspaper’s annual fair together with Emmanuelle Bruno, the discreet and beautiful executive assistant, Paul has the crazy idea to organize a women’s soccer match for the first time.  A romance begins between Paul and Emmanuelle. 

The film has nothing that audiences have not already seen before, including the current degrading of females by male chauvinist administration.   But the comedy should be taken in all good fun, entertaining as it is.



The Benefit of the Doubt Poster

A woman in a  car is murdered.   David is a happy young father who has a wife he loves, two adorable young children, and a tight-knit tribe of friends who David and his family always go away on holiday with.  

However, on returning from their last trip away in the Vosges, David is taken in for questioning by the police as part of the woman’s murder investigation.  Before long the investigation reveals that all is not what it seems behind the happy and respectable facade of David’s life.   David has been having an affair in Poland unknown to his wife.  Davids character is not perfect.  He often loses his temper that results in arguments with his family and friends. 

The ultimate is whether David is guilty, the answer to which director Tilman keeps the audience guessing right to the very end. The audience wants David to be innocent, but his character is questionably and annoying, so that his innocence is also doubtful to the audience.  This way, Tillman’s film works best as a psychological thriller.  Though Tillman is a male director, he captures very well the feminine points of view in all the events.  

The film ends with the court’s decision on David whether guilty or not guilty, but this not not mean that he committed the deed or not.  Lots of clues for those who love mysteries.