The Opening and Closing Night selections have been announced for the 22nd edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the celebrated annual series showcasing the variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking. Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is co-presented with UniFrance and will take place March 1–12.

The festival will open on Wednesday, March 1, with the North American premiere of Étienne Comar’s much-anticipated Django, the riveting saga of jazz legend Django Reinhardt’s escape from German-occupied Paris in 1943. Comar’s impressive debut feature, which stars Reda Kateb as the pioneering musician and Cécile de France as his friend and muse, will have its world premiere just two weeks prior as opening night of the Berlin Film Festival where the film will screen in official competition. The filmmaker and stars will appear in person for at the Film Society of Lincoln Center for Opening Night of Rendez-Vous.

Closing the festival is the U.S. premiere of Jérôme Salle’s The Odyssey, a generational drama about the life of legendary explorer-turned-filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, played by the magnetic Lambert Wilson, and the toll his ambition takes on his devoted wife (Audrey Tautou) and conflicted son (Pierre Niney). Salle will be on hand to participate in a Q&A on Saturday, March 11.

“We are thrilled to partner for a 22nd year with UniFrance to bring these uniquely French stories to New York,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center Associate Director of Programming Florence Almozini. “Our opening and closing night selections, both exemplary biopics, are just an exciting preview of the complete lineup to come.”

“We are proud to open the 2017 edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema with Étienne Comar’s feature film debut Django, immediately following its World Premiere opening the Berlinale, and are equally excited to close with Jérôme Salle’s The Odyssey,” said Executive Director of UniFrance Isabelle Giordano. “Both films center on legendary French cultural figures and contain messages about the historic importance of the arts and the environment that are more timely now than ever. This year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema selection, highlighted by our opening and closing films, continues our tradition of showcasing a combination of rising and established French filmmakers with an emphasis on dynamic voices and a wide range of genres.”

Co-presented with UniFrance, Rendez-Vous with French Cinema demonstrates annually that the landscape of French cinema is as fertile, inspiring, and distinct as ever. The complete lineup of the 2017 edition, along with in-person appearances and special events, will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 22nd edition of Rendez-vous with French Cinema benefits from the support of CNC, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, PROCIREP, Renault Nissan, Lacoste, TV5 Monde, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Sacem, FIAF, galerie Blum & Poe and The ENGIE Foundation.




All films are screened at the Walter Reade Theater.

Opening Night
Étienne Comar, France, 2017, 115m
French with English subtitles
The world of legendary Romani jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt is brought to vivid life in this riveting saga of survival, resistance, and artistic courage. Reinhardt (Reda Kateb) is the toast of 1943 Paris, thrilling audiences with his distinctive brand of “hot jazz” and charming his admirers (including an intrepid friend and muse played by Cécile de France).  But even as the rise of Nazism and anti-Romani sentiment force Reinhardt—whose music is considered degenerate under the Third Reich—to make a daring escape from the city, he refuses to be silenced, his music becoming his form of protest. The feature debut from acclaimed screenwriter Étienne Comar (Of Gods and Men) immerses viewers in a tumultuous chapter in the life of one of the 20th century’s greatest musical geniuses. North American Premiere
Wednesday, March 1, at 6:00pm and 8:30pm (Étienne Comar, Reda Kateb, and Cécile de France in person)

Closing Night
The Odyssey / L’odyssée
Jérôme Salle, France, 2016, 122m
French with English Subtitles
Lambert Wilson is magnetic in this grandly lyrical dramatization of legendary explorer-turned-filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Spanning half a century and criss-crossing oceans, the film charts Cousteau’s professional triumphs and personal failures as he achieves renown for the underwater documentaries he produced on his oceanographic expeditions, amid the constant struggle to secure financial backing for increasingly ambitious scientific (and cinematic) objectives. Set against the backdrop of cross-generational family drama—centered on his long-suffering wife Simone (Audrey Tautou) and his talented, deeply conflicted son Philippe (Pierre Niney)—The Odyssey is an epic ode to scientific exploration and documentary filmmaking, and a celebration of the human drive to seek out new realms of discovery. U.S. Premiere
Saturday, March 11, 6:00pm (Q&A with Jérôme Salle)
Sunday, March 12, 8:00pm