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Cinéma Gaumont Champs-Élysées © Frédéric BISSON/WikiCommons
Cinéma Gaumont Champs-Élysées © Frédéric BISSON/WikiCommons
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What They’re Watching In France This Autumn

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 11 January 2017
As the days start to shorten and the temperatures start to drop, it’s comforting to know that the films on offer in Paris’ cinemas throughout the autumn months of 2016 are as diverse and richly told as ever. In The Culture Trip’s list of the 15 most highly anticipated films of the season, there is everything from American blockbusters to small indies from the European festival circuits. There’s even a Palme d’Or-winner thrown in for good measure.

Le Fils de Jean, directed by Philippe Lioret

Pierre Deladonchamps stars in this Franco-Canadian production. A family drama, the film examines the protagonist Mathieu’s attempts to integrate with the family of his long-estranged and suddenly deceased father in Montreal. They had no knowledge of his existence prior to Jean’s death, and they may come to wish that this had remained unchanged.

Release date: August 31st, 2016

Éternité, directed by Tran Anh Hung

The first film in six years by the Oscar-nominated director from Vietnam, Éternité tells of the loves and losses of three generations of French women. Adapted from the novel L’Élégance des veuves (The Elegance of Widows) by Alice Ferney, the film stars Audrey Tautou, Bérénice Bejo and Mélanie Laurent.

Release date: September 7th, 2016

Comancheria, directed by David MacKenzie

The script for Hell or High Water (the film’s English title) won the 2012 Black List, a prize given to the most liked unproduced screenplay. This American heist crime film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as two brothers attempting to rob a bank in order to raise funds for their family farm.

Release date: September 7th, 2016

Frantz, directed by François Ozon

One of the main exponents of the new ‘New Wave‘ in French cinema, Ozon is back with a film that competed for the Golden Bear at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. Set in the aftermath of the First World War, the story follows a young German woman who becomes intrigued by a mysterious Frenchman who lays flowers on the grave of her fiancé.

Release date: September 7th, 2016

Relève, histoire d’une création, directed by Alban Teurlai

This documentary tracks French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied as he creates his new ballet for the Opéra National de Paris, entitled ‘Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward’. Appointed as its Director of Dance in November 2014, Millepied was tasked with reviving the institution. You can judge for yourself whether he succeeded.

Release date: September 7th, 2016

Ben-Hur, directed by Timur Bekmambetov

This is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace and is one of the biggest end-of-summer blockbusters this year. The historical epic was filmed in Rome and stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer and Rodrigo Santoro.

Release date: September 7th, 2016

Free State of Jones, directed by Gary Ross

This American Civil War film was inspired by the life of Newton Knight, a farmer, soldier and Southern Unionist from Mississippi who resisted the Confederacy along with a band of fellow Confederate army deserters. Matthew McConaughey leads the cast.

Release date: September 14th, 2016

Juste la fin du monde, directed by Xavier Dolan

Also known as It’s Only the End of the World, this Canadian-French drama is based on the play of the same name by Jean-Luc Lagarce. The story is a family reunion, centered around the revelation that the absent Louis, played by Gaspard Ulliel, is terminally ill. The film competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it succeeded in winning the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Jury Prize and also stars Nathalie Baye, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel.

Release date: September 21st, 2016

Les Sept Mercenaires, directed by Antoine Fuqua

This is an updated version of the classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven, itself a remake of the 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, and Peter Sarsgaard are the big hitters in the cast and the film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Release date: September 28th, 2016

Une vie entre deux océans, directed by Derek Cianfrance

The Light Between Oceans, a historical drama from the director of Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as a lighthouse keeper and his wife who adopt a baby who washes ashore on their island off the coast of Western Australia. Set in the aftermath of World War 1, the film shows how the family’s happy life is threatened by forces beyond their control on the mainland.

Release date: October 5th, 2016

Bridget Jones 3, directed by Sharon Maguire

Written by Helen Fielding, David Nicholls and Emma Thompson, this third film installment of the Bridget Jones saga sees the world’s most relatable heroine navigate mad London life (and pregnancy) in her 40s. Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth return for this big-budget romantic comedy, and Patrick Dempsey joins the cast as a new American love interest.

Release date: October 5th, 2016

Brice de Nice 3, directed by James Huth

Jean Dujardin stars in this ludicrous comedy about a famous surfer called to help a friend on the other side of the world. In fact only the second in the series, this film takes nothing seriously. And for its duration, neither should you.

Release date: October 19th, 2016

Moi, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach

I, Daniel Blake won Loach his second Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Tackling themes typical of the esteemed British director’s work, the film follows the eponymous, middle-aged protagonist as he attempts to acquire out-of-work sickness benefits and his resultant relationship with Katie, a single mother living with her two children in a homeless shelter.

Release date: October 26th, 2016

Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone

This biographical political thriller tells the story of Edward Snowden who in 2013 leaked classified National Security Agency information to the British newspaper The Guardian. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Snowden, and Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage are among his costars.

Release date: November 2nd, 2016

Les Animaux fantastiques, directed by David Yates

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin-off from the fantasy adventure Harry Potter series, is J.K. Rowling’s first foray into screenwriting. Eddie Redmayne plays the lead role of Newt Scamander, an expert in magical creatures on business in New York in 1926.

Release date: November 16th, 2016