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DIETRICH in BLONDE VENUS (1932) or MOROCCO (1930)
TONIGHT ON "BEST SHOT" 

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Entries in Francophile (91)

Saturday
May182013

I Left My Film Festival in San Francisco

Glenn here with a report from the recently concluded 56th San Francisco Film Festival. I travelled to the Golden Gate city and sat on the FIPRESCI jury, judging a roster of eleven films from first and second-time directors. Given the attention given to FIPRESCI – The International Federation of Film Critics, or Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique if you want to be European about it – I wasn’t allowed to discuss the films as the festival progressed (can’t let the pundits in on what we’re going to reward now, can we?), but now we can take short looks at each of the competition titles.

Youth
Directed by Justine Malle (yes, Louis Malles daughter), and starring Esther Garrel (daughter of Philippe; sister of ubiquitous French star Louis Garrel) and with a title as definitive as Youth (there should be an "!" there just for effect), Malle’s debut has the weight of baggage. Appropriate then given it’s about a young woman dealing with first love, sex, parties, exams, an ill womanising filmmaking father, and wine. So much wine. From the very opening scene Malle does a fine job of establishing this young girl torn between the city life with her mother and the country life of her father. Her train trips back and forth are very literal back-and-forths with her personality as she tries to decide what she wants. And that includes one of her classmates, Benjamin (Émile Bertherat that my notes proclaim has “DREAMBOAT HAIR!”) The film has some pertinent things to say about young women and society’s view of them – a stranger sees her crying over her dying father and asks “is it about a boy?” I enjoyed it a lot, even if it did feel somewhat like a film I’ve seen before.

10 more films (some maddening, some great), one strange cat, one possible Oscar submission after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr152013

Mad Men @ the Movies: The Age of Aquarius

Hi all, this is Deborah filling in for Nathaniel for our mutual favorite TV show. It figures that while I'm filling in there are no explicit movie references. However, I think I can keep you engaged with some juicy Broadway and implicit movie references.

Linda Cardellini guest stars on Mad Men

Episode 6.03, The Collaborators, is directed by Jon Hamm to dirty perfection. Make no mistake, this is a very dirty episode, concerned with adultery, broken promises, and things not being what they seem. 

We open with a party at the Campbell home; Pete is offering tickets to "Hair" to two neighbors. It’s a flirtatious conversation, Pete tells the ladies that hair is full of drugs, foul language, and “simulated sex acts.” Flirting is not the subtle art of yore in 1968, we say “sex acts” right out in public! (Spoilers ahead.)

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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

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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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