What, in your opinion, are the major trends of French cinema in 2017, from the point of view of programming a foreign festival entirely dedicated to this cinema?
It seems that French cinema has currently gained a lot in terms of quality, both in arthouse films and more commercial cinema. French films are increasingly well produced, and I've also noted that more attention is being paid to the musical aspect. At the Lincoln Center, we put together highly varied programs based on cinema from around the world, and France systematically stands out. The final choice of our program remains complicated, even with a festival devoted exclusively to French cinema. We program more than twenty films and even so we have the impression that we overlook some titles, simply because we don't have enough space. We follow certain directors who continue to interest us, but there are always new talents emerging, whose short films we've seen, and who create a desire to show their work.
Women directors are once again very present on the Rendez-Vous program. Is this deliberate, or the objective acknowledgement of the quality of French films made by women?
It truly reflects what is happening in France, where women have more opportunities than in other countries, especially the United States, where it is difficult for a woman to have a career beyond her first film. Whereas in France, there is the feeling of a certain equality, or at least that we are approaching it. What is interesting is that these films are so diverse, and that they tackle themes that are deemed masculine, such as the army (The Stopover by the Coulin sisters) or life on a cargo ship (Fidelio, Alice's Journey by Lucie Borleteau, presented in 2015). The time when women only made films about couples, love, or relationships is over! This year, we've programmed Planetarium, which is a film so rich that you have no idea how to approach it, and it doesn't give you the impression that it was made by a woman - nor by a man, for that matter. In Bed with Victoria is perhaps the most "feminine" film on our program, but its way of looking at its protagonist is so ambitious and varied that it isn't easily categorized either.
In what way are the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York fundamentally different from all the other events organized within the Film Society of Lincoln Center?
French cinema enjoys a great reputation in the United States and in New York in particular. It is hugely popular. The Rendez-Vous is a festival highly awaited by our audience, but also by New Yorkers generally, and by the press, evidently. It has a special importance not necessarily found in the other programs we present during the year. Audiences love this moment, they have impatiently waited to discover the French productions of the past year, and our goal is to try to never disappoint them.