Category Archives: Cine Club

Monthly Film – December

Donkey Skin (Peau d’âne) 1970
by Jacques Demy

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 16th December 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Donkey Skin (Peau d'âne)
Peau d’Âne (English: Donkey Skin) is a 1970 French musical film directed by Jacques Demy. It is also known by the English titles Once Upon a Time and The Magic Donkey. It stars Catherine Deneuve and Jean Marais, with music by Michel Legrand. Donkey Skin also proved to be Demy’s biggest success in France with a total of 2,198,576 admissions. The film was adapted by Demy from Donkeyskin, a French literary fairytale written in verse by Charles Perrault. It was first published in 1695 in a small volume and republished in 1697 in Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé. Andrew Lang included it, somewhat euphemized, in The Grey Fairy Book. It is similar in style to folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 510B, unnatural love.

Synopsis

A king had a beautiful wife and a rich castle, including a marvelous donkey whose droppings were gold. One day his wife died, after making him promise not to marry except to a woman whose beauty and attributes equaled hers. The king grieved, but was, in time, persuaded to seek another wife. It became clear that the only woman who would fit the promise was his own daughter.

She went to her fairy godmother who advised her to make impossible demands as a condition of her consent: a dress the color of the sky, a dress the color of the moon, a dress as bright as the sun, and finally, the hide of his marvelous donkey. Such was the king’s desire to marry her that he granted all of them. The fairy godmother gave her a marvelous chest to contain all she owned and told her that the donkeyskin would make an excellent disguise.
Illustration by Gustave Doré

The princess fled and eventually found a royal farm where they let her work in the kitchen, despite her ugliness in the donkeyskin. On feast days, she would dress herself in the fine gowns her father had given her, and one such day, the prince came by her room and peeped through the keyhole. He fell in love at once, fell ill with his longing, and declared that nothing would cure him but a cake baked by Donkeyskin, and nothing they could say of what a dirty creature she was dissuaded him.

When Donkeyskin baked the cake, a ring of hers fell in it. The prince found it and declared that he would marry only the woman whose finger it fit. Every other woman having failed, he insisted that Donkeyskin try, and it fit. When she had dressed herself in her fine gowns, his parents were reconciled with the match. Donkeyskin later found that her father had remarried to a beautiful widow and everyone lived happily ever after.

Veuf et inconsolable, le roi, qui a promis à sa femme mourante de ne se remarier qu’avec une femme plus belle qu’elle, découvre soudain la beauté radieuse de sa fille et décide de l’épouser. Horrifiée, la jeune fille requiert l’aide de sa marraine, la fée des Lilas. Celle-ci lui conseille de demander à son père d’impossibles présents. Mais chacune de ses exigences est aussitôt satisfaite. Pour finir, drapée dans les robes couleur de Temps, couleur de Lune et couleur de Soleil qu’elle a obtenues de son père, la princesse formule un dernier voeu. Elle exige la peau de l’âne qui, chaque matin, laisse des diamants et des écus dans sa litière. Une fois encore, le roi s’exécute. En désespoir de cause, la princesse s’enfuit, vêtue de sa peau d’âne…

Reviews of the film

Overall, this film, like the other films, has something for everyone – the touchstone of the well-constructed story. Demy’s easy camera and wistful use of Michel Legrand’s compositions belie the wonderful depth of his engagement with his materials. In this series that the film societies have been showing images that clearly owe so much to the French New Wave slip seamlessly past, tied to the music and song that Demy uses to at once engage and alienate us from the action, offering us so many other opportunities for interpretation. This, for me, has been a discovery, at once delicious and at the same time challenging – I love it.
Read more..

~ GREGOR CAMERON, The Lumière Reader

Jacques Demy est un maître doux qui se permet tout. Devenu cinéaste, le petit garçon qui croyait que la vraie vie était dans les contes transforme les contes en réalité. Sa fée des Lilas (« Un mélange de Jean ­Harlow et de Botticelli, un peu poule, un peu fleur », dira Demy) a des peines de coeur faiblement humaines et célèbre l’hymen de sa ­protégée en hélicoptère… Son roi se permet de beaux anachronismes, par exemple en citant des vers de Cocteau. Et Peau d’âne a parfois des allures de créature hippie, chantant à pleins poumons les vertus de la fumette !

Jacques Demy a dû attendre neuf ans pour tourner à Chambord cette féerie psychédélique inspirée du pop art, découvert pendant son exil à Los Angeles, et des marionnettes de chiffon du guignol de son enfance nantaise. Sa patience est récompensée : son film est un véritable enchantement, porté par l’inoubliable musique de Michel Legrand.

En savoir plus sur site

~ Marine Landrot – télérama.fr

Monthly Film – November

Contempt (Le Mépris) 1963
by Jean-Luc Godard

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 18th November 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Contempt (Le Mépris)
Contempt is a 1963 French satirical drama film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard, based on the Italian novel A Ghost at Noon by Alberto Moravia. It stars Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, and Giorgia Moll. Today, Contempt is generally regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema.

Synopsis

American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) hires respected Austrian director Fritz Lang (playing himself) to direct a film adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Dissatisfied with Lang’s treatment of the material as an art film, Prokosch hires Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), a novelist and playwright, to rework the script. The conflict between artistic expression and commercial opportunity parallels Paul’s sudden estrangement from his wife Camille Javal (Brigitte Bardot), who becomes aloof with Paul after he leaves her alone with Prokosch, a millionaire playboy.

Scénariste à succès, Paul Javal travaille à une adaptation de «L’Odyssée», qui doit être tournée par Fritz Lang. Il remarque bientôt que Lang est en désaccord avec Prokosch, le producteur américain. Ce dernier voudrait financer un film épique alors que le réalisateur souhaite faire un film psychologique. Camille, la femme de Paul, le rejoint à Cinecittà. Tous deux sont invités chez Prokosch, qui manifeste un vif intérêt pour la jeune femme. Paul la laisse partir avec l’Américain, espérant se faire remarquer par lui. Camille, qui aime son mari, est déçue. Elle refuse de jouer le jeu et change brusquement d’attitude vis-à-vis de Paul…

Reviews of the film

“Contempt” was Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 attempt at a big-budget, big- star production, and more or less satisfied his curiosity. It was not the direction he wanted to move in, and the rest of his career can be seen, in a way, as a reaction to the experience. Not that the film itself is a compromise; you can see the tension between Godard and his backers right there on the screen, and hear it between the lines of the dialogue, in this newly restored print.

As for Godard, he stays, as always, a little aloof. All of his films are, in a way, about filmmaking; he breaks the illusion of the fourth wall in order to communicate directly with the audience, usually in such an enigmatic way that he seems to be satirizing the whole idea of communication. He likes mannered shots that call attention to themselves, and here, faced with the great width of the CinemaScope screen, he has moments when he pans slowly back and forth from one side of the room to the other, using an unbroken take but refusing to place both characters on the screen at the same time.

When wide-screen movies are shown on TV these days, they are often subjected to the annoying “pan and scan” practice, in which the sides are chopped off and then the camera moves back and forth to show two people who were originally meant to be seen at once. I can only imagine how the pan and scan process would look if applied to this movie, in which Godard has built his own panning into the wide-screen compositions. The worst scenario: The movie pans in two directions at once.

“Contempt” is not one of the great Godard films, for reasons it makes clear. In a way, it’s about its own shortcomings. A drama exists at ground level involving the characters, while the film fights between the tendency to elevate them into art (Lang) or vulgarize them into commerce (Palance). It is interesting to see, and has moments of brilliance (the marital argument, the use of the villa steps), but its real importance is as a failed experiment. “Contempt” taught Godard he could not make films like this, and so he included himself out, and went on to make the films he could make.
Read more..

~ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Godard aurait pu baptiser son film « La Nuit américaine », dix ans avant Truffaut. D’abord parce qu’il précède son confrère dans la dissection du cinéma, monde parallèle tenté d’en envahir un autre, jaloux et jalousé : la vie. Et surtout parce qu’il affirme que le coeur des hommes peut s’assombrir en plein soleil, comme on peut filmer la nuit en plein jour. Godard contemple les déclins du cinéma et de l’amour, irrémédiablement liés. Une scène mêle à merveille ces chutes abyssales : Prokosch attire Camille vers une minuscule fenêtre, qui ouvre sur la mer, réduite à quelques centimètres carrés. Inconsciemment, le producteur balourd signe l’arrêt de mort du cinéma, remplacé par la télévi­sion, et celui de l’amour de Camille pour son mari, remplacé par le fourvoiement infidèle.

En savoir plus sur site

~ Marine Landrot – télérama.fr

Monthly Film – October

Artemis, heart of artichoke (Artémis, coeur d’artichaut) 2013
by Hubert Viel

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 21st October 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Artemis, heart of artichoke (Artémis, coeur d'artichaut)
It’s a comedy loosely based on Greek mythology, that imagines the lives of the goddess Artemis in the contemporary world.

Synopsis

The goddess Artemis has distorted the Olympus company and became a young woman who goes to College in Caen in France. First of a misanthropic and solitary nature, because she prefers the company of animals and children than adults, Artemis sees her daily life change when she made the acquaintance of the nymph Kalie Steaux (i.e. Callisto, played by Noémie Rosset), offering him to take with her roommate. Soon, the two young women bind friendship and undertake all kinds of activities and trips. All is told by an omniscient Narrator (Hubert Viel) when sometimes it’s hard to follow the events.

La déesse Artémis a faussé compagnie à l’Olympe et est devenue une jeune femme qui va à la fac à Caen en France. D’abord d’un caractère misanthrope et solitaire, car elle préfère la compagnie des animaux et des enfants à celle des adultes, Artémis voit son quotidien changer lorsqu’elle fait la connaissance de la nymphe Kalie Steaux (autrement dit Callisto), qui lui propose de prendre une colocation avec elle. Très vite, les deux jeunes femmes se lient d’amitié et entreprennent toutes sortes d’activités et de voyages. Le tout est raconté par un narrateur omniscient qui a parfois un peu de mal à suivre les événements.

Reviews of the film

François Truffaut said that a film should express either joy or anguish to the cinema. Joy truffaldienne irrigates every minute of this first film, awarded at the festival of Brive-la-Gaillarde. Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, arrived at the University of Caen in master 2 of modern literature. At the restaurant Uni, she finds a fiery blonde with a high-pitched voice, named Crystal, who will become her roommate and soon, her best friend. Two girlfriends (delicious Frédérique Barré and Noémie Rosset), as Rohmer heroines more smart, depart while vacationing in the Cotentin camping on the beach and dredge the pizzaiolo. With its ‘omniscient Narrator’ performed by the Director himself, his deadpan voice, his smoky ultra super-8 and its special effects to the Méliès, this mythologico-burlesque Phantasmagoria possesses the charm and the lunacy of youth works. (review translated from French) En savoir plus..

~ Jérémie Couston – Télérama.fr

Dans la mythologie grecque, Artémis est la déesse de la chasse, associée à la Lune. Mais, dans le premier film d’Hubert Viel, c’est une étudiante en lettres à la faculté de Caen, les pieds bien sur terre. Guère liante (pour ne pas dire misanthrope), Artémis sort de sa zone de confort quand elle propose à l’exubérante Kalie Steaux (comme la nymphe Callisto) de partager son appartement.

Les deux colocataires se lient d’amitié, au point de devenir inséparables. Kalie prend conscience de la nature divine d’Artémis qui, arc et flèches en bandoulière, se transforme sous ses yeux ou déclenche la foudre. Pourtant, avec les garçons, la déesse ne s’avère guère chasseresse. Si Kalie, libre et dévergondée, s’offre sans complexe à la gent masculine, la chaste Artémis écarte, quant à elle, tous ses prétendants trop pressants. Au cours d’une soirée, elle jette même un charme à l’un d’entre eux.

C’est l’alliance des contraires qui séduit, avant tout, dans cette audacieuse réinterprétation mythologique. Farouche, Artémis trouve chez la bouillonnante nymphe Kalie son exacte opposée. Ce buddy movie (film de potes), à la…

En savoir plus sur site

~ Sandrine Marques – Le Monde

Monthly Film – September

Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois) 2013
by Cédric Klapisch

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 23rd September 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois)
Eleven years after his Franglais smash “L’auberge espagnole” and eight years after sequel “Russian Dolls,” French writer-helmer Cedric Klapisch follows up with the zesty “Chinese Puzzle,” a New York-set comedy that serves as a seductive advertisement for modern urban living. Retaining the energy and zing of the earlier films but dialing down the youthful angst, the pic delivers witty, sexy fare that’s the fast-food equivalent of Richard Linklater’s thematically weightier “Before … ” trilogy. Given the presence of international marquee names including Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou, its appeal to auds isn’t tricky to puzzle out.

Synopsis

We find Xavier, now 40 years-old, with Wendy, Isabelle and Martine – 15 years after the l’Auberge Espagnole and 10 years after Poupées Russes. Everything appears so simple but Xavier’s life doesn’t stop taking unexpected detours between Paris and New York. He looks for his way in this crazy mess to find his place as a man as much as his place as a father. And who knows, it may be this very madness of New York that will allow Xavier to resolve, finally, the Chinese puzzle that is his life.

Xavier a maintenant 40 ans. On le retrouve avec Wendy, Isabelle et Martine quinze ans après L’Auberge Espagnole et dix ans après Les Poupées russes.

La vie de Xavier ne s’est pas forcément rangée et tout semble même devenir de plus en plus compliqué. Désormais père de deux enfants, son virus du voyage l’entraîne cette fois à New York, au beau milieu de Chinatown. Dans un joyeux bordel, Xavier u cherche sa place en tant que fils, en tant que père… en tant qu’homme en fait ! Séparation. Famille recomposée. Homoparentalité. Immigration. Travail clandestin. Mondialisation. La vie de Xavier tient résolument du casse-tête chinois ! Cette vie à l’instar de New York et de l’époque actuelle, à défaut d’être cohérente et calme vient en tout cas nourrir sa plume d’écrivain…

Reviews of the film

Bringing an appreciative outsider’s perspective to the sights, sounds and polyglot energy of New York, Klapisch and his collaborators ensure that the two hours whiz by decoratively and entertainingly, buoyed by the jazzy, soulful, vocal-driven score of Christophe Minck and Loik Dury, both returning from “Russian Dolls.” Playful devices, including the fantasy appearances of famous European philosophers imparting words of wisdom, work well in the mix, and there’s a well-executed comic setpiece in which Tautou unleashes her fluent Mandarin to a roomful of Chinese investors.

Modern life may be complicated, but it’s nothing to get stressed about: That’s the alluring message this time around, and the film benefits from the more relaxed mode achieved by these maturing characters. In real life, none of the actors have reached the age (40) that’s suggested by the script, indicating a generosity of spirit on their part that chimes with the film’s contagious mood. Neatly climaxing with a conventionally upbeat romantic-comedy pairing, Klapisch’s freewheeling story now seems to have arrived at its natural conclusion. Read more..

~ Charles Gant, Variety

Douze ans après L’Auberge espagnole et huit ans après Les Poupées russes, revoilà la bande des quatre dans le dernier épisode de la trilogie. Casse-tête chinois se révèle un film vivant comme jamais, bordélique en diable, joyeux et bourré d’énergie. Mais aussi ultra-contemporain et en phase avec une mondialisation qu’on ne connaît que trop. À cela s’ajoutent les questions sur l’homoparentalité, la famille recomposée, l’immigration. Porté par des acteurs tous au top, Casse-tête chinois se révèle irrésistible, va vous donner des ailes et l’envie de tout plaquer pour d’autres continents. Klapisch filme New York avec un cœur gros comme ça. C’est authentique, agité, sentimental, drôle, intelligent. Que demander de plus? Voir plus..

~ D.A. – Le Journal du Dimanche

Monthly Film – August

Jules and Jim (Jules et Jim) 1962
by François Truffaut

POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 19th August 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

Jules and Jim (Jules et Jim)
Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, Jules and Jim charts, over twenty-five years, the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession. The legendary François Truffaut directs, and Jeanne Moreau stars as the alluring and willful Catherine, whose enigmatic smile and passionate nature lure Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) into one of cinema’s most captivating romantic triangles. An exuberant and poignant meditation on freedom, loyalty, and the fortitude of love, Jules and Jim was a worldwide smash in 1962 and remains every bit as audacious and entrancing today.

Synopsis

In the carefree days before World War I, introverted Austrian author Jules (Oskar Werner) strikes up a friendship with the exuberant Frenchman Jim (Henri Serre). Both men fall for the impulsive and beautiful Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), but it’s Jules who wins her hand. After the war, Jim visits Jules, Catherine and their daughter in their Austrian home and discovers not only that his feelings for Catherine are unchanged, but also that they’re reciprocated.

Paris, 1907. Jules, étudiant allemand, et Jim, étudiant français, font connaissance, sympathisent et sont bientôt liés par une amitié profonde. Ils partagent les mêmes goûts en matière de livres, d’art et de femmes. Ils font ensemble un voyage dans le Sud méditerranéen et découvrent, sur un champ de fouilles, une statue dont le merveilleux sourire les bouleverse. De retour à Paris, ils sont éblouis de retrouver ce sourire sur les lèvres de Catherine, une jeune femme rencontrée par hasard. Un quiproquo précipite événements et décisions. C’est Jules que Catherine épousera, sans pour autant cesser d’aimer Jim. La guerre éclate. Le trio ne se reformera qu’après l’Armistice…

Reviews of the film

A shadowy figure amid the 20th-century beau monde – friend to Picasso and Gertrude Stein, and buyer for the American art collector John Quinn – Henri-Pierre Roché waited until his 70s to publish his teasingly semi-autobiographical debut novel, which became one of the 20th century’s most famous depictions of a ménage-a-trois.

Jules and Jim are best friends – perhaps soulmates – who together pursue a charmed life of bohemian indulgence in turn-of-the-century Paris. Drifting from liaison to liaison they share their women as easily as wine, without jealousy or regret – and then they meet Kate. With her “archaic” smile and lips made for “milk – and blood”, Kate is obedient only to the diktat: “He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” Marrying first Jules and then Jim, Kate draws all three into an ecstatic cycle of intimacy and betrayal, unleashing a seemingly limitless capacity for tenderness, forgiveness and revenge until their passions eventually burn out.

Roché’s guileless prose lends the quality of a parable to his story, which is startling in its erotic candour and its visionary pursuit of love. Kate owes much – perhaps too much – to the figure of the eternal feminine: cruel, beautiful and volatile, she is more archetype than actuality. But that is not really Roché’s concern – instead he probes the “essential quality of our intimate emotions”, laying bare the complex and paradoxical dynamics of desire.

Today the novel is eclipsed by François Truffaut’s celebrated nouvelle vague film starring Jeanne Moreau, and Truffaut contributes a valuable afterword to this edition. Reflecting on the film in 2000, Moreau described it as “the dreamed image of amorous life”; in its exuberant rejection of conventional morality, Roché’s novel describes an emotional logic that is both inscrutable and compelling.

~ Lettie Ransley, theguardian.com

Lorsqu’il cita pour la première fois le roman Jules et Jim dans l’une de ses critiques de la revue Arts, François Truffaut n’avait pas ­réalisé de film. Il se fit la promesse de commencer sa carrière de ­cinéaste en adaptant cet extraordinaire livre d’Henri-Pierre ­Roché, un vieil inconnu de 76 ans.

Même si Truffaut retarda le projet, Jules et Jim fête le passage d’un homme de mots vers un monde d’ima­ges : c’est un hymne au plaisir d’« entrer en cinéma ». Tout en gardant un ton très littéraire, il met en scène la rage d’aimer, à travers des scènes purement ­visuelles. A la lecture du livre, le cinéaste fut « frappé par le caractère scabreux des situations et la pureté de l’ensemble ». Son film réussit le même tour de force. Il évoque la discipline fervente d’une femme libre, décidée à « inventer l’amour ». Jeanne Moreau mord à pleines dents dans ce rôle d’égérie grave et gourmande. Cachée derrière le titre doublement masculin, elle est le pilier central de cet éblouissant chef-d’oeuvre.

~ Marine Landrot, www.telerama.fr

Monthly Film – July

All is forgiven (Tout est pardonné) 2007
by Mia Hansen-Løve

JULY POSTER FOR MAILWednesday 22nd July 2015 – 6.00pm
at
National Film Corporation Theater
303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

All is forgiven (Tout est pardonné)
All Is Forgiven (French: Tout est pardonné) is a 2007 French drama film written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. It was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. It won the Louis Delluc Prize for Best First Film and was also nominated for Best First Film at the 2008 César Awards.

Synopsis

Victor and Annette are a married couple with a little girl named Pamela. Due to Victor’s continuous bad habits they have a monumental blowout in the relationship. In the aftermath, Victor moves in with a junkie he has fallen in love with and Annette disappears into the city with Pamela. Flash-forward 11 years later, and 17-year-old Pamela is still living in Paris with her mother. When an inquiry into father’s whereabouts reveals that Victor is living nearby, curious Pamela decides to check in on her long-lost dad.

Victor habite Vienne avec Annette et leur petite fille Pamela. C’est le printemps, Victor qui fuit le travail passe ses journées et parfois ses nuits dehors. Très éprise, Annette lui fait confiance pour se ressaisir dès qu’ils seront rentrés à Paris. Mais en France, Victor reprend ses mauvaises habitudes. Après une violente dispute, il s’installe chez une junkie dont il est tombé amoureux. Annette quitte Victor et disparaît avec Pamela. Onze ans plus tard, Pamela a dix-sept ans, elle vit à Paris, chez sa mère. Un jour, elle apprend que son père est dans la même ville qu’elle. Elle décide de le revoir.

Reviews of the film
Originally produced by Humbert Balsan before his death in 2005, Mia Hansen-Løve’s All Is Forgiven (Tout est pardonné) recalls the muted, slow brewing, slice of life implosions of Stefan Krohmer’s Summer 04 and Valeska Grisebach’s Longing, as well as the naturalistic, organic narrative and chance intersections of Barbara Albert’s cinema to create a raw and distilled, yet intimate and insightfully rendered rumination on the nature of connection, longing, regret, and forgiveness. Composed of a series of elliptical, self-contained episodes of the quotidian that collectively reveal the fragments of a disintegrating relationship, the film is also a reflection of human memory in its lucid, essential reconstitution – and awareness – of (life)time passed: Annette’s (Marie-Christine Friedrich) frequent castigation of Victor’s (Paul Blain) excessive drinking, his frequent absences from family outings with their daughter Pamela (Victoire Rousseau) to meet a drug dealer, his increasing disenchantment with his life as an underemployed translator and frustrated poet in Vienna that would lead to their decision to uproot the family move back to Paris, a conversation between Victor and his sister, Martine (Carole Franck) that exposes the fissures in his passionate, but volatile relationship with his devoted and long-suffering partner, a chance encounter with a drug dealer’s friend, Gisèle (Olivia Ross) during a party that would lead him to the abyss of heroin addiction, and ultimately, his separation from his family.

Shot using hand-held DV cameras, Hansen-Løve’s aesthetic juxtaposition of saturated light against vérité-styled images that convey a sense of raw immediacy creates an unexpected coherence between disparate images that evokes the spirit of German Romanticism in its expositions on the duality of nature. It is this poetic transfiguration of the banal that is implicitly revealed in Victor’s letter to his absent daughter, now an adolescent (Constance Rousseau), a passage adapted from Romantic poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff that articulates both the reassurance of eternal devotion and regret of missed opportunity.

~ filmref.com

Musique secrète.
Le premier film de Mia Hansen-Løve raconte très simplement une histoire très compliquée. Non pas compliquée au sens où elle serait difficile à comprendre, mais au sens où elle mobilise des relations complexes, entre des moments différents de la vie, des époques, des générations, entre personnes qui n’ont pas le même âge, pas le même pays ni la même langue maternelle, pas le même sexe, pas la même idée de l’existence. lire en plus

~ Jean-Michel Frodon, Cahiers du Cinema

Monthly Film – June

Jacquot de Nantes 1991
by Agnès Varda

Jacqout FOR MAILThursday 18th June 2015 – 6.00pm
at
Sri Lanka Foundation
No.100, Sri Lanka Padanama Mw,
Independence Square,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

 

Jacquot de Nantes
The film is a portrait of the making of an artist; recreating the early life of Varda’s husband, Jacques Demy, in Occupied France and his interest in the various crafts associated with film making, such as casting, set design, animation and lighting. The fictional sections set in wartime Nantes are matched with brief documentary interludes involving the dying Demy. It was screened out of competition at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

Synopsis

A year after the untimely death of her husband and fellow filmmaker Jacques Demy, director Agnès Varda produced this film based on Demy’s memoirs. Focusing on Demy’s childhood, Jacquot de Nantes explores the Les Parapluies de Cherbourg director’s burgeoning fascination with film as a boy and introduces viewers to his mother and father, a hairdresser and garage owner, respectively.

Il était une fois un garçon, élevé dans un garage où tout le monde aimait chanter. C’était en 1939, il avait 8 ans, il aimait les marionnettes et les opérettes. Puis il a voulu faire du cinéma mais son père lui a fait étudier la mécanique. C’est de Jacques DEMY qu’il s’ agit et de ses souvenirs. C’est une enfance heureuse qui nous est contée, malgré les évènements de la guerre et de l’après-guerre.

Reviews of the film

Agnes Varda, who made her first feature, “Cleo From 5 to 7,” in 1961, remains one of the most long-lived, productive and difficult to categorize directors associated with France’s New Wave. Though many of her colleagues have lost their momentum or died, she continues, in part, it seems, because she has never become locked into a particular form or dominant ideology. As the years go by, her focus shifts. She lives in a present that is ever enriched by the accumulating past.

“Jacquot de Nantes” is the sort of film that no one but Miss Varda would have made or, for that matter, could have made. It’s neither documentary nor, in the usual sense, fiction.

It’s a one-of-a-kind celebration of a very gentle man, Jacques Demy, the French film maker (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” among others), who died last October and who was Miss Varda’s husband and the father of their son, Mathieu. The film’s origins were singular.

“Jacquot de Nantes” is as gentle as Demy is remembered to have been by those who knew him. In its scrubbed-clean look of a nearly trouble-free past, the film is also respectful of the physical and emotional artifice that Demy’s films exalted. Neither sarcasm nor irony has any place in this world, where every particular detail is a kind of generalized ideal.
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~ VINCENT CANBY, New York Times

Jacquot Demy est un petit garçon nantais rêveur. Sa maman, coiffeuse, vocalise en frisant les dames ; son papa, garagiste, est un rossignol en bleu de travail. Jacquot chante aussi, comme son petit frère… Ce film est l’hommage, pudique et complice, d’une femme à l’homme qu’elle aime. C’est la rencontre de deux talents entiers, instinctifs. Avec son regard précis, sa gravité tendre, Agnès V. reconstitue l’enfance de Jacques D. sans s’accaparer son univers généreux. Parce qu’elle croit à la vocation, elle cherche à démêler les fils de l’entêtement et de la certitude passionnée qui conduisirent Jacques Demy à la création d’un monde en apesanteur, heureux et pur.

Cette enquête d’amour, traque cinématographique unique, brille par sa construction intelligente et son pouvoir d’évocation. Agnès Varda parsème ses images fictives d’extraits de films de Demy, parvenant à chaque fois à nous faire croire qu’on assiste à leur naissance. Ceux qui ont grandi dans le soleil du cinéma de Jacques Demy ne peuvent que remercier Agnès Varda d’avoir rassemblé ces émotions dans cet hymne à la confiance, à la vie lire en plus

~ Marine Landrot , telerama.fr

Monthly Film – May

9 mois ferme (9-Month Stretch) 2013
by Albert Dupontel

9 Mols Poster for mailThursday 21st May 2015 – 6.00pm
at
Sri Lanka Foundation
No.100, Sri Lanka Padanama Mw,
Independence Square,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

 

9 mois ferme
9 Month Stretch is a 2013 French comedy film written, directed by and starring Albert Dupontel. It was nominated for six categories at the 39th César Awards including Best Film and Best Director and Best Actor for Dupontel, winning Best Actress for its co-star Sandrine Kiberlain and Best Original Screenplay.

Synopsis

Ariane Felder is pregnant. This is all the more surprising since this examining magistrate is an old-fashioned single person. But even more surprising is the fact that, according to DNA tests, the father is no other than Bob, a criminal prosecuted for atrocious assault and battery. Ariane, who does not remember anything, tries to understand what happened.

Ariane Felder est enceinte ! C’est d’autant plus surprenant que c’est une jeune juge aux mœurs strictes et une célibataire endurcie. Mais ce qui est encore plus surprenant, c’est que d’après les tests de paternité, le père de l’enfant n’est autre que Bob, un criminel poursuivi pour une atroce agression ! Ariane, qui ne se souvient de rien, tente alors de comprendre ce qui a bien pu se passer et ce qui l’attend…

Reviews of the film

Director Albert Dupontel has created a monster. A half-crazed, laugh-inducing, moderately blood-stained monster of a movie that will possess you for a near hour and a half. Weird and completely wonderful, 9 Month Stretch is a film with no limits and no pause button. It’s total subtitled genius.

Violence is undeniably a core feature, which is likely the reason for its ‘black-comedy’ status amongst critics. While there are occasional images to squirm in your seat at, the comic style compensates for the graphic sequences. These include some possessed kitchen utensils, a grinder, and every heavy object within a two-metre radius of one unlucky character. Cleverly envisaged, they’re hilariously funny yet shocking, and evoke a gasp-chuckle. By the end, some audience members may feel as guilty as criminals themselves.

If you’re still in doubt over whether you’re the type of person who can handle subtitles, watch the trailer. The French trailer mind, which comes with no subtitles at all. You may not be able to understand a word being said, but that doesn’t matter. If you find yourself laughing (which you inevitably will) then this is the next film you need to see.
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~ Rheanna-Marie Hall, oxfordstudent.com

Albert Dupontel cite souvent Terry Gilliam comme étant sa bonne fée – l’ancien membre des Monty Python et réalisateur de Brazil fait une apparition dans son film, incarnant le rôle de Charles Meatson, alias “Famous Man-Eater”. On pourrait ajouter qu’il y a dans 9 mois ferme quelque chose du Billy Wilder de Spéciale Première. Des journalistes avec un nez rouge chez l’un, des juges avec un nez rouge chez l’autre. Et vogue la galère !

Si Dupontel (acteur) fait (bien) du Dupontel, que dire de Sandrine Kiberlain, sinon qu’elle est époustouflante en juge coincée et droite ? A 45 ans, voilà une actrice qui semble enfin avoir pris conscience de son talent. Résultat : elle se lâche, elle ose ce qu’auparavant elle n’aurait jamais accepté, ou pu jouer. Au chapitre “acteurs”, toujours, soulignons à quel point le casting de ce film, signé Antoinette Boulat, est réussi. Pas un rôle secondaire, fût-ce le plus petit, qui ne soit pas formidable.

Et, puisque tout se jouera, in fine, dans une salle d’audience du Palais de justice, que l’on nous permette cette sentence : Au nom du peuple, monsieur Dupontel, merci pour ce moment de cinéma jubilatoire ! lire en plus

~ Franck Nouchi , Le Monde

Monthly Film – April

Copie conforme (Certified Copy) 2010
by Abbas Kiarostami

Copie Conforme POSTER for mailThursday 16th April 2015 – 6.00pm
at
Sri Lanka Foundation
No.100, Sri Lanka Padanama Mw,
Independence Square,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

While touring Tuscany, Italy, promoting his new book, English author James (William Shimell) meets French store owner Elle (Juliette Binoche), and the two hit it off, deciding to spend a free day together. They travel to a nearby town, get coffee, visit a museum and pretend to be recently married in what turns out to be a popular wedding destination. As these two strangers get to know each other, however, it becomes clear there’s more to their new relationship than meets the eye.

James, un écrivain quinquagénaire anglo-saxon, donne en Italie, à l’occasion de la sortie de son dernier livre, une conférence ayant pour thème les relations étroites entre l’original et la copie dans l’art. Il rencontre une jeune femme d’origine française, galeriste. Ils partent ensemble pour quelques heures à San Gimignano, petit village près de Florence. Comment distinguer l’original de la copie, la réalité de la fiction ?

Reviews of the film

The Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s delicious brain tickler, “Certified Copy,” is an endless hall of mirrors whose reflections multiply as its story of a middle-aged couple driving through Tuscany carries them into a metaphysical labyrinth.

“Certified Copy,” Mr. Kiarostami’s first feature film made outside his native Iran, is such a conspicuous leap from neo-Realism to European modernism, it sometimes feels like a dry comic parody. As the movie goes along, it begins to deconstruct itself by posing as a cinematic homage, or copy, if you will, of European art films of the 1950s and ’60s, with contemporary echoes.

Roberto Rossellini’s “Journey to Italy,” in which a couple played by George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman travel to Naples to sell a house, is the most obvious forerunner. Also alluded to are Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Avventura,” with its stark juxtapositions of ancient and modern images, and Alain Resnais’s elegant, memory-obsessed mind bender, “Last Year at Marienbad.” It has also been suggested that more recent antecedents like Wong Kar-wai’s “In the Mood for Love” and Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” are role models. In any case, “Certified Copy” virtually announces itself as a deliberate stylistic composite. read more

~ STEPHEN HOLDEN, New York Times

C’est la première fois en quarante ans de carrière qu’Abbas Kiaros­tami pose sa caméra hors de son pays pour réaliser une œuvre de fiction, Copie Conforme. Le Persan est devenu toscan, très naturellement. Son film baigne dans le soleil de l’Italie, où une galeriste française (Juliette Binoche) vit avec son fils. Après la conférence de James Miller (William Shimell), écrivain anglais ayant publié un livre abordant la relation entre l’original et la copie dans l’art, elle donne rendez-vous à son auteur. Ils semblent ne pas se connaître. Légèreté de la rencontre et jeu de la séduction. Puis, révélation lors de leur promenade dans un petit village. La femme explique à la patronne d’un café qu’ils sont mariés depuis quinze ans. Il n’est jamais là. Leur couple s’étiole. Leur balade est en réalité un pèlerinage. Tenter de se souvenir des jours heureux. Déambulation dans les ruelles, sur le parvis de l’église où ils se sont dit oui, dans le musée qui renferme le portrait d’une Joconde aussi fascinante que son double, authentique celui-là, à Pompéi. S’inspirant de Roberto Rossellini, Abbas Kiarostami signe son propre Voyage en Italie sans plagier l’original. Il filme le couple dans sa vérité et ses mensonges, les apparences trompeuses, les non dits, les éternels reproches, les désirs, les désenchantements, les malentendus, les espoirs, vains. Les efforts de la femme pour plaire encore, la distance de l’homme qui doit prendre son train. Il suffirait peut-être d’une main protectrice posée sur l’épaule de son épouse pour la rassurer et tout recommencer. Mais en a-t-il vraiment encore envie ? Abbas Kiarostami bat la mesure sur une partition ­alternant drame et comédie. Comme dans la vie. Face à elle, un acteur débutant William Shimell, séduisant, lointain, dans la note juste. Normal pour un baryton de métier. lire

~ Emmanuèle Frois, Le Figaro