Posts tagged ‘cinema ‘




Cheri

The movie Cheri starring Michelle Pfeiffer as Lea de Lonval and Kathy Bates as Madame Peloux was an awful failure in my opinion. Based on the book Cheri by Colette it focuses on a love affair between the fifty-something year old Lea and the young twentyish son of Madame Peloux, Cheri, played by Rupert Friend.

Set in the early twentieth century of Europe the location shots are sumptuous and beautiful. Michelle, Kathy and cast were lucky to have the privilege of living in such beauty, even if only for a little while. Aside from the unconvincing performances by both Kathy and Michelle, the actual story was superficial and trivial. I have not read the book Cheri by Colette and so can’t really compare the two in terms of depth of story and environment; however the era of the famous salons of France was exceptional in their pursuit of intellegence, ideas, enlightenment, and liberty. This attitude formed the backbone of the liberties with which these women lived their lives as courtesans. To gain popularity and stature in this community, women needed to have intelligence and the ability to hold ones end in a debate on sophisticated social issues. There was absolutely none of this in this movie. Such a missed opportunity.

I can only think that this movie would have been so much better in the French language, and indeed made by the French themselves. They must cringe at this English language portrayal.

Add a comment August 5, 2009

Jean de Florette

This week’s ‘French fix’ was the viewing of two French movies at home. Jean de Florette and the sequel Manon des Sources starring Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil were made in 1986, by the filmmaker Claude Berri. Both movies are in French with subtitles.

These movies tell the story set in a quaint French village about some local farmers who sabotage the water flow from natural springs that supply the village water.

The hunchback, Jean de Florette inherits an old stone farm house and attempts to set up a new life for himself, his wife, and young beautiful daughter Manon, played by Emmanuelle Beart. The scheming farmer who lives next door effectively undermines all the hardworking attempts made by Jean, as he tries to set up a rabbit farm.

Tragedy unfolds over the course of their lives and the sequel follows the daughter Manon as she scampers wild with her goats amongst the rocky hillside. There is an ultimate conclusion but it is not a happy one.

These movies did not do much to satisfy my French longings apart from offering some immersion in the French language.

Add a comment January 2, 2009

Le cinema

French movies can be weird, don’t you think? But I love them. Not only do I love to be immersed in the French language, but there is an off-beat quirkiness that I also feel an affinity for.

 

I have recently seen four French movies: Hunting & Gathering, made in 2007, starring Audrey Tautou, Francoise Bertin, and Guillaume Canet; Paris, a 2008 film by Cedric Klapisch, starring Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris, and Fabrice Luchini; and two of Jacques Tati’s classic satires on modernism from the 1960’s, Mon Oncle and Play Time.

 

Hunting and Gathering is really a relationship movie that could have been located in any city of the world, but I am a big fan of Audrey Tautou. It is a feel-good movie with a satisfying ending where lonely strangers meet and enrich their lives through their human contact.

 

Paris is a beautiful portrait of this city in the current time. Separate stories are told but are linked by the most tenuous and irrelevant thread. The music and cinematography are beautiful. Scenes vary from beautiful, shocking, bizarre, discordant, sad, and funny. I loved this movie and can recommend it to all lovers of Paris.

 

I had seen Mon Oncle and Play Time many years ago when I was a design student. It was weird to watch these movies, that were made in the 1960’s, now in 2008. Jacques Tati makes social commentary about the modernization of France, which was seen by many as an abomination. The skyscrapers of Paris are still seen as a separate part of the city and despised by many. Dialogue is sparse, but he loves to use footsteps on hard surfaces throughout the movie as a nagging reminder of the dehumanizing nature of “progress”. We have “progressed” far now from the 1960’s trends and this distance offers us more food for thought.

Add a comment November 27, 2008

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