The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Women Behind the Camera’ with 13 screenings that display the work of female directors.
Films on the Green screenings each Friday, May 31 through Sept. 3, in a different NYC park each week, and one screening in nearby Ft. Lee.
All are presented in their original language, with English subtitles.
This year’s selection highlights the diversity of French and Francophone cinema, featuring movies from Lebanon, the Ivory Coast, Mexico and Turkey shining the spotlight on both well-known woman filmmakers and emerging ones
The festival also pays tribute to Agnès Varda, feminist filmmaker and pioneer of the French New Wave, who passed away earlier this year. Other female film directors featured include such well-known French filmmakers as Claire Denis (Chocolat), Diane Kurys (Peppermint Soda), and Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel), winner of the 1993 Prix Jean Vigo for her film Love Affairs Usually End Badly (Les Histoires d’amour finissent mal… en général)
International filmmakers include
- Lebanese actress, screenwriter, and director Nadine Labaki (Where Do We Go Now?), who is the President of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard jury,
- French Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang).
- Mexican filmmaker Claudia Sainte-Luce (The Amazing Catfish) and
- Ivoirian writer and director, Marguerite Abouet (Aya of Yop City).
The Festival will also include films directed by Céline Sciamma (Tomboy), Jeanne Herry (Pupille), and Eléonore Faucher (Sequins). Films on the Green will also shine a light on iconic directors like Jacqueline Audry (Olivia), the most successful post-war French female director, and Alice Guy-Blaché (Matrimony’s Speed Limit), the world’s first female filmmaker and pioneer of the French and American film industries.
Most of the screenings will be accompanied by DJs from New York University’s radio station, WNYU 89.1 FM and Hunter College’s WHCS, who will spin French and Francophone music on-site before the screenings.
May 31 –Central Park, Cedar Hill:
COCO BEFORE CHANEL (Coco avant Chanel)
- Directed by Anne Fontaine, 2009, PG-13, 1h50, France-Belgium
Orphaned at a young age, Gabrielle Chanel learns to embroider and sew at a strict convent school before her singing ambitions lead her to perform in cafés and bars. She soon earns the nickname “Coco” and attracts the attention of Étienne Balsan, a rich gentleman intrigued by her stubborn ingénue.
Swept up in her rich admirer’s world, Coco draws the eyes of society towards her with her unique, elegant style but complications arise when she falls in love with the young Arthur Capel.
- Directed by Nadine Labaki, 2011, PG-13, 1h40, France-Lebanon
In a remote village in Lebanon, where the church and the mosque stand side by side, the town’s women try to keep their blowhard men from starting a religious war.
Women heartsick over sons, husbands, and fathers lost to previous flare-ups unite to distract their men with clever, even comical ruses, from faking a miracle to hiring a troop of Ukrainian strippers.
- Presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Lebanon in New York and the Washington Square Park Conservancy
- In Arabic, Russian, English with English subtitles
- Directed by Hélène Giraud, Thomas Szabo, 2013, 1h29, France-Belgium
In a peaceful little valley, the remains of an abandoned picnic sparks warfare between two tribes of rival ants. At stake, a box of sugar. So when a bold young ladybug finds herself caught in the middle of the battle, she befriends one the black ants, Mandible, whom together must protect the anthill from the encroaching red ant warriors, led by the fearful Butor.
- Presented in partnership with the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, Council Member Stephen Levin, PS110 The Monitor School, and PS110 PTA
- Directed by Jeanne Herry, 2018, 1h47, France
Abandoned at birth, baby Théo’s uncertain future lies now in the hands of the Child Welfare Services, and officers such as Karine. She gives Jean the responsibility of temporarily looking after Théo, while the members of the Adoption Agency have the difficult task of finding him a permanent home.
Meanwhile, Alice has never given up becoming a mother and faces the prospect of this dream finally coming true, although nothing is certain.
- Presented in partnership with the Washington Square Park Conservancy
- Directed by Diane Kurys, 1977, PG, 1h41, France
Anne and Frédérique are sisters entering their teen years in 1963 Paris. Their life, like the world around them, is in full swing. Their personal struggles include the difficulties of divorced parents, getting their first period, discovering boys, and struggling with the confines of their strict school all while figuring out where they fit in the society around them.
All the fiasco they undergo presents an opportunity for both a political and romantic awakening.
- (Courtesy of Cohen Media Group)
- Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015, PG-13, 1h34, France-Turkey
It’s the beginning of summer in a small village in Northern Turkey. Lale and her four sisters come home from school, innocently playing with boys. The supposed debauchery of their games arouses a scandal with unexpected consequences and causes the family home to be transformed into a prison.
Lessons on housework and cooking replace school, and marriages begin to be arranged. The five sisters, driven by the same desire for independence, fight back against the limits imposed on them.
- (Courtesy of Cohen Media Group)
- In Turkish with English subtitles
- Directed by Céline Sciamma, 2011, 1h22, France
Laure is a ten-year-old girl whose family just moved to the suburbs during the summer holiday. When mistaken for a boy by a pack of neighborhood kids, Laure creates an alter ego named ‘Michael’ and becomes resourceful in hiding her female identity from the other children.
Soon, Michael catches the attention of Lisa, the leader of the pack who becomes completely smitten with the new boy in town. The hope for an endless summer of fun and friends will be questioned by the reality that is Laure’s true self
- (Courtesy of Institut français)
Directed by Claudia Sainte-Luce, 2013, 1h35, France-Mexico
Martha, a mother of four rambunctious and imaginative children, finds solace upon meeting Claudia, a younger woman trying to figure out her purpose in life. The two quickly become friends and Martha invites Claudia to come live with her family. When Martha’s health declines, the bond Claudia has with each member of the family is forced to be tested, giving opportunity for true, strong relationships to be created.
- Presented in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, the Instituto Cervantes, Cinema Tropical, and Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders.
- In Spanish with English subtitles
July 12 – Tompkins Square Park:
AYA OF YOP CITY (Aya of Yogoupon)
- Directed by Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie, 2010, 1h24, France-Ivory Coast
It’s the end of the 70s and nineteen-year-old Aya lives in Youpougon, a working-class neighborhood in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Aya divides her time between school, her family, and her two best friends, Adjoua and Bintou, who only think of sneaking out as soon as night falls. Things go awry when Adjoua becomes pregnant, causing the friends to try and figure out what is best for the situation.
- (Courtesy of Cinémathèque Afrique – Institut français)
- Presented in partnership with the African Film Festival and the Consulate General of Côte d’Ivoire in New York.
Directed by Éléonore Faucher, 2004, 1h29, France
After learning that she is pregnant at the tender age of seventeen, Claire finds refuge with Madame Mélikian, an embroiderer for haute couture designers who has buried herself in work following the death of her beloved son.
Day by day, stitch by stitch, as Claire’s belly grows rounder, the threads of embroidery will create a filial bond between them. In time, the grief-stricken mentor and her anxious apprentice will stop protecting themselves and start helping one another.
- Directed by Claire Denis, 1988, PG-13, 1h45, France-West Germany-Cameroon
In 1950s French Cameroon, curious eight-year-old France spends her days amidst the paradise of her family’s estate along with her always traveling father Marc, her bored, frustrated mother Aimée, and Protée, the noble, intelligent “houseboy.”
Everyday routine changes when a plane makes an emergency landing nearby, bringing a motley collection of characters to the house and causing the heavenly façade of the household to unravel.
- Directed by Agnès Varda, 1991, PG, 1h58, France
- Preceded by MATRIMONY’S SPEED LIMIT by Alice Guy-Blaché, 1913, 14 min, USA
Once upon a time, an eight-year old boy lived a happy childhood with his parents, Marilou and Raymond, and his little brother, Yvon. It is 1939, in Nantes, and his name is Jacquot. He spends his days in his father’s car garage where everyone likes to sing. On weekends, the family goes to the movies.
While Jacquot is raised to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a mechanic, he buys a camera and begins to make short films with puppets and music. An early lesson of family loyalty and artistic passion is presented to Jacquot in this biopic that is based off Jacques Demy’s childhood.
- Presented in partnership with Fort Lee Film Commission as part of their “Movies & Music Under the Stars” series
- Directed by Jacqueline Audry, 1951, 1h35, France
Set in 1890, an innocent English teenager, Olivia (Olivia), arrives at a small boarding school outside Paris. The majority of the pupils there are divided into two clans: those that are devoted to the headmistress, Miss Julie (Feuillère), and those who follow Miss Cara (Simon), an emotionally manipulative invalid who is obsessed with Miss Julie.
Olivia develops an infatuation for Miss Julie and their relation sets Miss Cara ablaze with jealousy.
- Presented in partnership with the Columbia Maison Française