I can only agree. The sort of film that gives art-house movies in general, and French movies in particular, a bad name. Pretentious, self-indulgent, lacking in any discernible plot and full of characters who were all very different and all equally uninteresting and unlikeable.
Personally, I blame it on the Italian element of the film. Tedeschi is simply intolerable. Her relationship with her husband unbearable, the carry on with the daughter irrelevant, the big-eared dude from Slack Bay WTF? The red-headed housekeeper WTFF? The final attempted suicide WTFFFF?
The only plus in the film was Valeria Golino’s chocolate ripple, and even that was nowhere near enough to drag the review positive.
I’m afraid a lot of recent Italian films I’ve seen are self-indulgent tripe.
I saw Who You Think I Am today at Westgarth. I must say some of the Palace cinemas are looking very much in need of some maintenance, and Westgarth is one of them.
I liked a lot about the film, but in the end the plot became just a little bit too much to believe. I’ve often felt with French films that a good start and a good central idea are diminished by insufficient development. What you say about the Yanks is correct, in that they would undoubtedly give it a nice neat happy ending and everything would be overloaded with schmaltz and pop psychology, but one thing they can do it create a tight plot, and this film really needed it. I agree that Juliette Binoche was great; she really is magnificent, but she could do with some help choosing her scripts. I could have done without the graphic and entirely unnecessary sex scenes, including the first cyber-sex scene I’ve seen on film.
To be honest, I didn’t really like the film as a whole, despite its many excellent points.
Thanks for the reviews, will keep an eye on my local Arthouse for a couple of those👍🏻
Watched the Lobster the other week and it was bit weird but entertaining enough.
From the same director, Yorgos Lanthimos, check out his 2009 debut feature Dogtooth.
This would be in my Top 5 films - though I haven’t seen it for a while.
Just popped in here for suggestions for the French Film Fest at Palace (I’m just down the road from the Brighton Bay, so kinda easy for me to get to). Just scanning down the thread I’m surprised at the lack of a mention of 2018’s best film (IMHO), Cold War. Did anyone else love this as much as I did?
Cold War…lauded in the awards…
I saw it. I didn’t like it at all.
Why? Hmm…for some reason I didn’t care about the couple. I think part of the reason is that it spans such a long time frame, that each encounter was too brief for me to really get into the relationship. I don’t know. I guess I’m weird.
It’s on in Port Fairy soon. I hadn’t seen it because Polish films are not usually my thing, and it’s an effort to get to the arthouse cinemas.
I went to Sink or Swim (Le grand bain) at the French Film Festival today. I’m not sure where the story originated but I think it was Norway; it’s about a group of middle-aged men who form a synchronised swimming team. The Poms have done a version as well as the French and the Norwegians.
It’s the same sort of thing as The Full Monty, but with synchronised swimming instead of stripping as the activity. And the French version is good: exactly what you’d expect, but very well done. I enjoyed it. 7.5/10.
I said it’s The Full Monty of synchronised swimming. So would you guess the ending is upbeat or downbeat?
l was talking with a woman on a train yesterday, she had just been to see s French comedy called, “Dumped.” Part of a French movie festival currently showing here in Perth. It is doubtful l will get a chance to see it, but wondered if anyone had seen it.
Yesterday I saw In Safe Hands (Pupille) as part of the French Film Festival. The best I’ve seen so far. It’s about the adoption of a baby boy, starting with his birth to an unmarried mother who does not want to keep him, moving through his fostering for a couple of months by a couple with a child of their own, and finishing with his adoption by a single woman who cannot have children of her own.
It shows a lot about the roles of various public servants who are very deeply involved in every step of the process and at times is almost like a documentary. It’s engrossing from beginning to end and ultimately very moving.
If you wanted to carp you could say that everyone is just a bit too nice. All the public servants are intelligent and knowledgeable and care deeply about the child; the mother who gives up the baby is young but mature and healthy and not drug-addicted or a criminal; the foster family are all full of love and care; the adoptive mother is an educated professional woman, daughter of a doctor; even the baby is healthy and good looking and well behaved. But who cares?
I’m a hard marker. 8.5. Great date movie, if you have a date.
The other day I saw Doubles Vies (Non-FIction) as part of the French Film Festival. I think it’s an outstanding film, one of the very best I’ve seen. The director is Olivier Assayas, who also wrote it. He made a film called Summer Hours (L’heure d’été) that I saw at the festival a few years ago and really liked. This one is much better.
The film concerns four principal characters: Alain (Guillaume Canet), a publisher; Selena (Juliette Binoche), Alain’s wife and a successful actress; Léonard (Vincent Macaigne), a moderately-successful author; and Valérie (Nora Hamzawi), Léonard’s wife and an aide to a well-known politician. All are in their early 40s, attractive in different ways, and professionally successful.
There are two major themes: books and publishing in the age of the internet, social media and e-books, and the sexual and emotional relationships of the principal characters.
The fulcrum on which the film moves is the work of Léonard. He writes what he describes as “auto-fiction”, or semi-autobiographical novels, and the principal characters in his novels are thinly-disguised versions of his friends, lovers and colleagues. Thus when his latest novel describes a recent affair, there is public speculation about who the woman really was.
There are many long scenes of discussions about writing, the validity of autobiographical novels as fiction in their own right, trends in the types of books that sell well or don’t sell well, the future of publishing and a whole range of related topics. The discussions often take place at dinner parties where the hosts and guests are all more or less connected with writing or publishing; they are all intelligent, well-educated and articulate; and their conversations have a very convincing air of reality, with the speakers – who are, after all, actors reciting lines – appearing to advance their own genuine opinions. None of the many different points of view are portrayed as being clearly right or wrong; the questions discussed are difficult and many different opinions are valid. One of the reasons I enjoyed this film so much is that the discussions were intensely interesting.
The personal relationships at first are very secondary to the questions about writing and publishing; but as the film progresses they assume greater importance. The persons involved feel their emotions deeply, but at the same time they are very clear-sighted and realistic about what they are doing. There is a scene where Selena, the actress, tells a friend whom she works with that she is sure that her husband (Alain, the publisher) is having an affair, as he in fact is. The friend asks her why she doesn’t confront him. She replies that she doesn’t see any need to; she is sure that Alain loves her, and that the affair will run its course and end; that to confront him would provoke a crisis and probably change the basis of their relationship; that there is more to love and a marriage than sexual fidelity; and that after 20 years of marriage it’s not surprising that Alain might find another woman sexually attractive. What she doesn’t say is that she herself has been having an affair for six years with Léonard, the writer.
There are a number of short but very powerful moments where the characters do directly face their emotions. I won’t mention all of them in order to avoid spoilers, but one example is where Léonard’s wife Valérie asks him directly if he is having an affair and he is unable to give a direct answer.
There’s no real action and there’s a huge amount of talking. It’s not for everyone. But it’s a highly intelligent and sophisticated film and I give it 9 out of 10.
This was the last one I saw. I disagree on one point though. I think Valérie was considerably younger than the other 3. I’d say she was 35’ish and the others fiftyish.
I really enjoyed it too.
Might have to check it out.
I love anything with Juliette Binoche.
The director clearly loves her too. She’s in nearly all of his films.
I’ll check it out just for the effort that you put into the post
You’re right about the ages. Valérie definitely younger than the others. I thought Nora Hamzawi was really excellent; apparently she’s also a stand-up comedian, but she gives a very powerful performance. I think she could become a real star.
Concur. I thought she was the standout.
I put it on IMDb first then copied and pasted it here. It gets 6.8 on IMDb which is quite good, and the critics’ reviews are great (especially the Hollywood Reporter and Variety), but the user reviews all said it was boring.