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Directed by Cédric Jimenez
France / Belgium, 2014
The Connection masterfully mixes police procedurals, gangster sagas, and chain smoking into a riveting crime drama. Less about the gritty realism of The French Connection or the atmospheric cool of Heat, Cédric Jimenez’ film captures the ebb-and-flow of a high-stakes narcotics investigation. Though punctuated by the occasional shootout or adrenaline-fueled chase, The Connection really draws its power from the passion and politics of living on the edge of oblivion. This is smart, savvy cinema that rewards your patience and attention.
It’s 1975 in Marseilles and a growing drug syndicate known as “The French” traffics heroin with impunity. Everyone knows that “Tany” Zampa (Gilles Lellouche) is running the show, but no one has the stones to risk his brutal reprisals. No one, that is, until Pierre Michel (Jean Dujardin) takes over as the new Organized Crime magistrate. »
- J.R. Kinnard
With supercool 70s chic and a smart crime thriller vibe, this is a welcome throwback to action dramas of the past, before they chose spectacle over story. I’m “biast” (pro): love Jean Dujardin
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
With supercool 70s chic and a smart crime thriller vibe, The Connection feels more like GoodFellas than it does the movie it is directly related to, 1971’s Oscar-winning Best Picture, The French Connection. Though that’s hardly a bad thing. Here we discover the other side of the transatlantic heroin supply chain that Popeye Doyle was investigating in 1970s New York City, via Marseilles magistrate Pierre Michel (Jean Dujardin: The Monuments Men) and his years-long battle — we open in 1975 here and run into the early 80s — with crime boss Gaëtan “Tany” Zampa (Gilles Lellouche: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec) to destroy his drugs empire. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Director: Cedric Jimenez
Running Time: 135 minutes
Synopsis: A newly appointed magistrate (Dujardin) tries to uncover, expose, and stop a lucrative drug racket.
The French Connection is one of America’s finest films and so 40 years on, it makes sense that it is time for the titular French to tell their side of the story in The Connection (or La French to give its original title). The classic starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider saw two NYC cops battling against a drug smuggling operation beginning life in France. Now we get to see how the French were tackling one of the world’s most infamous drug cases, and to match the Hollywood star power, we have two top French talents in Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche.
This pairing could be surmised as the equivalent to Heat »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
The Connection owes much to the standard cops and gangster films that have come before it. This isn’t a bad thing entirely, just having seen so many crime films, there’s a familiar tone that’s hard to shake. You can only show a determined cop hunt down a criminal kingpin and his cohorts so many times without feeling like you’ve seen this chase before. The Connection doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before but does it with confidence and style.
Inspired by real events and acting as a side-sequel to William Friedkin’s The French Connection, Cédric Jimenez’s The Connection (Le French in it’s native country) follows new police magistrate Pierre Michel as he attempts to take down the heroin trade out of Marseille. His prime target is the notorious Zappa, but figuring out a way to pin him to the crimes is »
- Michael Haffner
★★★☆☆ While a fellow adaptation rather than a remake, The Connection (with the rather pleasing alternative title of La French in its homeland) will not escape comparisons with The French Connection (1971), William Friedkin's classic based on a different part of the same period. Nevertheless, there is plenty to distinguish this thriller, set in 1970s' Marseille. Two of France's heavyweight stars go head-to- head, with Jean Dujardin (in his first post-Oscar leading role) playing a Marseille police magistrate Pierre, whose pursuit of one of France's top drug dealers (Gilles Lellouche) pushes both men to the edge professionally and personally. Stylistically, director Cedric Jiminez hits all the desired targets.
- CineVue UK
Directed by Cédric Jimenez
A French police magistrate spends years trying to take down one of the country’s most powerful drug rings.
If La French succeeds at anything it is in helping prove the fact that it doesn’t matter where a film is shot or in which language it is spoken, nothing can pull the emotional impact out of a story like over-familiarity. And this isn’t in due in any significant part to the drug kingpin take-down story which audiences already know from William Friedkin’s 1971 masterpiece The French Connection, but rather from the same well-trodden plot points and characters we’ve seen countless times before.
Cédric Jimenez’s film certainly has all checkpoints covered on a surface level »
- Gary Collinson
Whereas in many crime dramas the difference between the good guy and the bad guy is painted in black and white, writer and director Cedric Jimenez brings the more complex nature of both sides in the emotionally gripping movie The Connection. Based on the true story of French law enforcement's battle with the heroin-dependent drug traffic among France, New York and the rest of the world, this award-worthy film focuses more on the characterization of key players in the battle rather than rely on hyperviolence.
Despite his reluctance, French magistrate Pierre Michel (Jean Dujardin) is transferred from the juvenile to the organized crime division in the middle of mob wars in Marseilles, France. As a former gambling addict, Michel channels his obsessive nature into getting to the bottom of the complex network of drug lords, discovering that corruption exists at the top and around him.
The cornerstone to all the »
- Debbie Cerda
There are a few contenders out there for the biggest French star in the world. Vincent Cassel and Mathieu Amalric have enduring international appeal, Juliette Binoche is an auteurist favorite, and a new generation of actors like Jean Dujardin, Lea Seydoux, and Omar Sy are increasingly having as much success in the U.S. as they are at home. But if we're talking about cinematic legends — truly prolific, popular actors — the safest bets might be Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu. Across decades-long careers, the two actors have earned enormous acclaim, won virtually every prize available, and had every A-list director around the world lining up to work with them. They've only worked together twice, however, in 1974's "Going Places" and 1980's "Loulou," which makes their reunion 30 years on in Cannes competition entry "Valley Of Love" a major event. In the latest from director Guillaume Nicloux ("The »
- Oliver Lyttelton
When it comes to battles between cops and criminals, sometimes the key conflict isn't about gun fights and shootouts, but the intricacies of the law. Ideally, cops have to have to play by the book, and smart criminals know how to work around the rules, so taking down some of the biggest bad guys sometimes means stepping into to murky territory. And that's just what Jean Dujardin does in this exclusive clip from the gritty French crime drama "The Connection." Directed by Cédric Jimenez, co-starring Gilles Lellouche, Céline Sallette, Mélanie Doutey and Benoît Magimel, and inspired by true events, the movie tells the story of real-life Marseilles magistrate Pierre Michel and his relentless crusade to dismantle the most notorious drug smuggling operation in history: the French Connection and its kingpin, Gatean "Tany" Zampa. As you'll see in the scene below, this criminal enterprise is far-reaching and »
- Edward Davis
I suppose it’s a no-brainer that a movie about the French side of The French Connection would be called just The Connection (though its French title is, oddly enough, La French). One must never judge a movie by its title, of course, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that, for much of Cedric Jimenez’s film, the generic title matches the generic nature of the filmmaking. Based on true events and packed with detail, The Connection is dense, frantic, ambitious — but it often feels like it’s fast-forwarding through a dozen other films we’ve seen before, all of them better.The Connection lays out the years-long cat-and-mouse game played by dedicated magistrate Pierre Michel (The Artist’s Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin) and powerful drug kingpin Gaetan Zampa (Gilles Lellouche). The latter is at the center of the drug network pumping narcotics across the Atlantic and into New »
- Bilge Ebiri
Remaking a film or TV project is both an art and science. Shedding some light on the subject at the 12th Cannes Producers Network program Saturday was Argentine producer Jose Levy of Creative Andina, whose remake experience includes the U.S. version of Marcos Carnevale’s hit “Elsa & Fred,” starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer.
Levy also holds the remake rights to Carnevale’s other Argentine hit, “Corazon de Leon,” above, which Gaumont and Vvz Prods. are remaking with Jean Dujardin playing the lead. Fox Intl. Prods. (Fip) has bought the U.S. remake rights to the romantic comedy. Levy also holds the rights for Korea, India, Mexico, Brazil, France, Spain, China, Germany and Italy.
“The idea with Fip is to make a bilingual version, similar to ‘Instructions Not Included,’ in order to target both the Mexican and U.S. Hispanic markets,” said Levy, who estimates a $7 million budget and a 2016 release. »
- Anna Marie de la Fuente
Jean Dujardin and Elsa Zylberstein star in Claude Lelouch’s feature “Une plus une,” which is in post-production. Mister Smith Entertainment launched international sales of the romantic drama at Cannes.
Film also stars Alice Pol and Christopher Lambert. Pic is produced by Lelouch, Samuel Hadida, Victor Hadida and Marc Dujardin. Samuel and Victor Hadida’s Metropolitan Films will release the film in France on Dec. 9.
In the film, Jean Dujardin plays a charming and successful film composer who travels to India to work on a score for a Bollywood retelling of “Romeo and Juliet.” There he meets Zylberstein’s character, who isn’t like him at all, but whom he finds irresistible.
- Variety Staff
The Connection is an old-school Gallic policier that taps the true-life story of a major 1970s heroin smuggling ring, encompassing both the criminals that ran it and the lawmen who fought to bring them down. There will be cops cutting into bags and tasting suspicious white powder (do you have to try it? Really?), pistols, car chases and, judging by this new clip, some moody face-offs between the white and black hats at the nucleus of the story. brightcove.createExperiences();While we’re figuring out the French for “we’re not so very different, you and I”, consider this: director Cédric Jimenez is clearly been confident enough to reference some classics of the genre in his stylish-looking crime drama. There are shades of Melville and Frankenheimer in the story – in fact, Frankenheimer’s French Connection II charts the same episode from a Popeye-view of Marseille's docks – and a conscious homage »
From finished films in competition to big packages on the horizon, here’s the hottest titles from around the world up for grabs at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Director: Marc Forster
Film centers on a blind woman and her husband who, upon restoration of her sight, begin to discover previously unseen and disturbing details about themselves, their marriage and their lives.
Director: Andrea Arnold
Key cast: Shia Labeouf
A runaway teenager gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard-partying, law-bending and young love.
Sales: Protagonist Pictures
Director: Ewan McGregor
- Variety Staff
In so many ways The Connection (La French) feels like a film Michael Mann would have made with its dedication to intense action sequences, shot with immediacy and edits that give the viewer an understanding of the space within which the characters are interacting. And, like Mann, director Cedric Jimenez doesn't forgo character, understanding even the small moments between husband and wife, father and son, are important in a crime epic, allowing us to get to know the characters on a more personal level, getting to know them as people rather than just as cop and criminal. Described as a "European flipside to William Friedkin's The French Connection", The Connection is much more than a marketing blurb intent on piquing the interest of hard-to-attract general audience members. This is a down-and-dirty '70s crime thriller, with all the texture of the 35mm film it was shot on. In fact, »
- Brad Brevet
Christoph Waltz is prepping his directorial debut, The Worst Marriage in Georgetown, for which he will also produce and star. In the film, Waltz will play Albrecht Muth, a man who sought to enter the social elite and the privileged political circles by marrying the wealthy, 71-year-old Viola Drath when he was just 26. The couple threw lavish parties as he climbed the social ladder, but Muth increasingly lied about his background, and he was ultimately revealed when Drath turned up murdered many years later. Muth was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years in prison just last year.
The Worst Marriage in Georgetown is actually based on a New York Times Magazine article of the same name by Franklin Foer (read it here). Variety reports that Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn (Proof) will be adapting the screenplay and that Erica Steinberg (Inglorious Basterds) and Nicolas Chartier will also be producing. »
- Brian Welk
FilmNation will be meeting with buyers on the Croisette to discuss Hhhh, a second Heydrich assassination story in the market alongside Altitude’s Anthropoid, which sees Sean Ellis lining up to direct Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy.
Clarke will play Heydrich, who became the highest ranking Nazi killed during WWII when he was slain by paratroopers in 1942. The actor stars as John Connor in summer tentpole Terminator: Genisys and will be seen in September release Everest.
Pike, an Oscar »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
A star-studded lineup of promising actors and great material… how could this go wrong? But remember, as "Child 44" taught us, anything is possible. So while this sounds awesome, we've got our guard up... Variety reports that Jason Clarke, Jack O’Connell, Mia Wasikowska, Rosamund Pike and Jack Reynor will star in "Hhhh," a title which will surely give some marketing team an interesting headache to overcome. Based on the novel by Laurent Binet and adapted by director Cedric Jimenez ("The Connection" starring Jean Dujardin) along with David Farr and Audrey Diwan, the film will tell the story of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, who was the mastermind of the "Final Solution" and was assassinated by two resistance paratroopers. Here's the book synopsis: HHhH: “Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich,” or “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.” The most lethal man in Hitler’s cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich seemed indestructible—until two exiled »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Paris — Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”), Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”), Mia Wasikowska (“Maps to the Stars”) and Jack Reynor (“Glassland”) are set to topline Cedric Jimenez’s “Hhhh,” a WWII-set drama depicting the meteoric rise and fall of Reinhard Heydrich in Nazi Germany.
Produced by Alain Goldman’s Legende Films (“La Vie en Rose,” “The Connection”) and Simon Istolainen’s Adama Pictures (“The Brats”), “Hhhh” will star Clarke as Heydrich, the highest-ranked Nazi officer who was considered to be the mastermind of the “Final Solution” and was assassinated by two resistance paratroopers (to be played by O’Connell and Reynor) in 1942.
The two paratroopers, who were Czech and Slovak-born, had been personally chosen by Winston Churchill and President of Czechoslovakia Edvard Beneš.
Pike will play Lina Heydrich, an aristocrat who was married to Heydrich and reportedly introduced her husband to the Nazi ideology. Wasikowska, meanwhile, will »
- Elsa Keslassy
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
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