<i>Now or Never</i>

For 10 days each winter, State Street movie houses whir with the endless projection of fantastic film fare from around the world, thanks to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). But a year is a long time to wait when you’re eager to binge-watch the best cinema has to offer. Thankfully, the folks at SBIFF are filling this viewing void with mini festivals called The Wave. For this next go, July 15-19, SBIFF is serving a tremendous lineup of French fare.

Culled from a field of 120 prospects, the 11 films selected include comedies, dramas, and thrillers that highlight “the creativity and magic of French storytelling,” said Mickey Duzdevich, The Wave festival director. “Each film shares a common theme of desire and the many things people will do to get what they want,” explained Duzdevich of the different genres’ common thread. “This strong slate appeals to many different tastes and is certainly not to be missed.”

Here’s the lineup:

Caprice: In this romantic comedy, an unassuming man named Clément meets a beautiful actress, Alicia, and she becomes his perfect girlfriend. But things go awry when a vexing woman, Caprice, feels that Clément is actually her destiny and will do anything to get what she wants. July 15, 11am; July 17, 7:30pm.

40-Love (Terre battue): Jérôme quits his senior executive job to coach his 11-year-old tennis prodigy son, Ugo. Both father and son suffer from the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve success no matter the consequences in this intriguing drama. July 15, 2pm; July 18, 8am.

Number One Fan (Elle l’adore): For two decades, Muriel, a beautician and compulsive story fabricator, has been singer Vincent Lacroix’s biggest fan. One day, Lacroix turns up on her doorstep asking for a diabolical favor to which Muriel agrees. Soon, however, Vincent’s number-one fan is more than he bargained for in this enthralling, twisted comedy. July 15, 5pm; July 19, 7:30pm.

A Perfect Man (Un homme ideal): Plagiarism and blackmail take center stage in this thriller about a writer, Mathieu, who finds a forgotten soldier’s diary and passes the story off as his own. After the book is published, his lies come back to haunt him. July 15, 7:30pm; July 18, 2pm.

Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor: This film noir, which closed the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week, reveals the underbelly of a Paris hospital, where a young doctor discovers that medicine is often a grisly practice in which cover-ups and unfair hiring abound. July 16, 11am; July 18, 5pm.

The Chef’s Wife: Tired of living in the shadow of her famous chef husband, Carole goes to a job training center for help invigorating her own career. There she meets Marithé, and the two connect over their shared desire to change their lives. However, when Marithé meets — and falls for — Carole’s husband, her motivation for Carole to start a new life becomes critical. July 16, 5pm; July 19, 2pm.

Also showing: The Tournament (Le tournoi) (July 16, 2pm.; July 18, 7:30pm); Nobody from Nowhere (Un illustre inconnu) (July 16, 7:30pm; July 18, 11am); Once in a Lifetime (Les héritiers) (July 17, 11am; July 19, 5pm); Marseille (De guerre lasse) (July 17, 2pm; July 19, 8am); Now or Never (Maintenant ou jamais) (July 17, 5pm; July 19, 11am).


The Wave Film Festival runs Wednesday-Sunday, July 15-19, at the Riviera Theatre, 2044 Alameda Padre Serra. Tickets: $10; $8 (senior/student); $80 (festival pass); $250 (VIP pass). Call (805) 963-0023 or see sbiff.org.


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