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The Orchestra Class directed by Rachid Hami and The Planter by Marine Francen

Alfred Renely stars in Rachid Hami's 2017 La Mélodie (The Orchestra Class)
Alfred Renely stars in Rachid Hami's 2017 La Mélodie (The Orchestra Class) Jérôme Almeras, directeur de la photo

In this month's Cinefile, RFI's Rosslyn Hyams meets the directors of two French films which were released in November 2017. Marine Francen for Le Semeur (The Planter) and Rachid Hami for La Mélodie (The Orchestra Class).The films released in France in November.



The Orchestra Class

A middle-aged musician takes on the challenge of teaching violin to a class of primary school children. It's not just their age, or the classical music discipline that affects their concentration, many of them, the child-stars of the film, are the first generation in their families to be born in France, and western classical music is familiar to them.

Hami shows a world he says is familiar to him, tough and tender at the same time. He manages show with respectful distance, cultural differences in Paris, a mid-age crisis (Gad Merad as the single-parent musician/violin teacher) and obstacles that can be overcome at any age with a little application, confidence, hope and passion.

Alfred Renély is a touching and convincing young prodigy supported by a whole bunch of promising French film actors.



The Planter

Marine Francen's first feature is a bold step into a historical context which almost coincided with established director Xavier Beauvoir's Les gardiennes, The Keepers.

The theme is women left alone due to conflict. How do they cope? Materially and physically? The situation heightens all sorts of emotions and competition soon follows solidarity and camaraderie.

In the succinct story written by the main character Violette (Pauline Burlet), when a man appears change is inevitable. The film itself conveys a certain compactness of mood and setting. A strong focus on the two main characters, a young woman coming-of-age and Jean (John played by Albin Lenoir) and a stifling small stone village in the middle of nowhere bear the film along with a certain intensity. Seasons and nature rise to romantic significance in a true-life story of passion.

Géraldine Pailhas stars as Violette's mother.



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