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Entries in Francophile (62)

Wednesday
Mar202013

Best Shot: "Forbidden Games"

On the occasion of writer/director René Clément’s centennial I thought we’d take a look back at his award winning 1952 film Forbidden Games. This drama about children and grief during World War II won the NYFCC foreign film prize, BAFTA’s best film honors and a special Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (before the category was permanently introduced). Though Clement made other important pictures (Purple Noon, The Walls of Malapaga, Is Paris Burning?) let's just say this one comes with a fair amount of prestige baggage.

it's hard to remember prayers when you're hungry

I had never seen the picture but given my long history covering Oscar’s foreign film prize, where World War II and stories about children are both privileged frequently whether or not they’re “special”, my expectations weren’t enormously high. But the film more than lives up to its lauded reputation. more

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar082013

It's International Women's Day !

I had so many different ideas with which to celebrate today that I didn't manage to get any of them done. It's a typical problem when you have more ideas than time and when indefatigable ambition meets easily exhaustable execution. So herewith... a few off the cuff LISTS celebrating actresses that work primarily outside of the English language that are every bit as good and sometimes a whole lot better than their American/English/Aussie counterparts who get the bulk of attention in the global market.

The gold standard here is always Deneuve. "Catherine Deneuve"... go ahead, sound it out. The name itself just reverberates with glamour but the razzle dazzle of her international celebrity is hardly the reason she's the gold standard. She's also got a filmography that would be the envy of any actor who cares about cinema beyond their own image and though she'll turn 70 this fall, she's still challenging herself. Frankly, if you look at some of the work she did in the past dozen years or so (Dancer in the Dark, Potiche, Pola X, Beloved, 8 Women, A Christmas Tale, etcetera) other actresses her age are slacking...

10 Foreign Film Actresses Most Likely To Get Me in the Movie Theater 

Paprika Steenmultiple actressy lists after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb192013

"Oh putain!" It's Jean Dujardin

This just in from our friend Julien in Paris... Jean Dujardin, interviewed on Europe1 this week to promote his new movie Mobius, was asked about his acceptance speech at last year's Oscars and Emmanuelle Riva's nomination in Best Actress this year, the award he'll be presenting on Oscar night.

The actor famously proclaimed "Oh putain!" before launching into his acceptance speech which sort of translates to "Fuck!".  In fact, some people believe that it's the only word you need to know to speak French.  

Dujardin goes on to confess that he didn't vote (!?!) and congratulates Emmanuelle Riva on her BAFTA win. He promises the interviewer that if Emmanuelle Riva wins on Oscar night he'll shout "Oh, putain - It's Emmanuelle Riva!" when he opens the envelope.

Do you think he'll get the chance?

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Wednesday
Jan022013

Holy Motoring in Reverse

I wonder...

Juliette Binoche in 'Lovers on the Bridge'

Guilliame Depardieu (RIP) in "Pola X"

...will all this top ten film critic affection for Leos Carax's Holy Motors redirect anyone to his earlier work? He's not prolific which makes maintaining one's reputation for brilliance easy but makes winning or maintaining a fanbase difficult.

Consider this a public service announcement. Do not under any circumstances miss Lovers on the Bridge or Pola X should you have a chance to see them. They're nearly as weird as Holy Motors and possibly even more magical. (FWIW Pola X is my favorite from his filmography)

Wednesday
Oct102012

Million Dollar Marion

Jose here, still reeling from Rust and Bone this past Sunday (going again today in a couple of hours because it's that good). My first reaction after watching it was: wow, Marion Cotillard truly has been trying to prove to us all her Oscar win was no accident.

I am not a fan of La Vie en Rose but year after year I have found myself more astounded by Cotillard's work. She was heartbreaking in Nine and was the only thing in Inception worth anyone's time, but it's in Rust and Bone where she provesonce and for all  that she's one of the most fearless actresses of our time. Most people think she's a shoo-in for a Best Actress nomination but I'm not sure this will be so easy, given that her character isn't likable at all and we know that AMPAS likes to like its leading ladies; even Margaret Thatcher and Aileen Wuornos had redemptive qualities in their movies.

Cotillard's Stephanie doesn't give a damn if someone likes her or not. When we first meet her she's just been beaten by a guy in a club and she just picks herself up and goes home to her boyfriend, whom she resents for asking for an explanation. After a gruesome accident leaves her disabled, she doesn't change her ways; instead she finds herself a f*** buddy (Matthias Schoenaerts) and becomes involved in some shady business. Can you imagine Million Dollar Baby's Maggie Fitzgerald becoming fiercer after her accident? Rust and Bone is surprising in more than one way and its extreme lack of sentimentality will surely leave some perplexed. But Cotillard is phenomenal. There is one particular scene - set to Katy Perry's "Firework" of all things - where she doesn't speak, but communicates so much through her eyes and face that she should be a frontrunner. She is that good. 

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