One man’s meditation on art, history, culture, and oppression, Francofonia manages to be grandiose and confining at once. It feels vital because one of the story lines the film pursues—and there are many—is the fate of the Louvre Museum’s art collection under the Nazis.
Yes, the “nuts” of the title is a double entendre, and what starts out as a movie that seems to be the quirky story of an intriguing, forgotten man turns into an exploration of the dangerous traps of the documentary format.
Though rife with sexual violence and graphic dialogue, the last film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival was also the most elegantly made in the competition: Paul Verhoeven’s blunt, button-pushing, stinging comedy.
Director Lena Yadav has turned first-hand knowledge into an intriguing script that, combined with Russell Carpenter’s (Titanic) rich and varied cinematography, gives voice to women who have little or no say over their own lives.