France’s most unpredictable filmmaker, the wonderful Alain Cavalier (Le combat dans l’île, Thérèse) teams up with an actor in every way his eccentric equal, Vincent Lindon, to create this sly, witty look at men, power and politics. Cavalier himself takes the part of an imaginary President of the Republic, searching for a Prime Minister, who turns out to be Lindon. The two develop a kind of filial relationship, complete with all the accompanying jealousies, competitiveness and affection. Shot, like all of Cavalier’s recent works, with a handheld digital camera, Pater was largely a kind of “improvised adventure,” as Cavalier described it; he would often come up with an idea or a few lines of dialog, and from there he and Lindon would invent each scene. The result is a film at once revealing, provocative, and consistently engaging—a cinematic game that asks the spectators to play along. Actor Vincent Lindon in person for both screenings.