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★★★☆☆Like a distant Gallic relative to Richard Linklater's Before trilogy - though worlds apart in terms of style and tone - it's been over a decade since Cédric Klapisch first introduced a multinational group of friends sharing an Barcelona apartment in Pot Luck (2002). Three years later, they were brought back together for a wedding in Russian Dolls (2005) and now a third outing in the form of Chinese Puzzle (2013). Combining the director's free-wheeling style and the series' protagonist's 'complicated' life, this is a warm, funny and inventive addition to the likable French series. Romain Duris returns as genial lead, Xavier, a writer in need of inspiration and finding it through the tumultuous twists his once tranquil life begins to take.
- CineVue UK
Chinese Puzzle (France: Casse-tête chinois), 2013.
Directed by Cedric Kaplisch.
When the wife of 40 year old Father of two, Xavier Rosseau leaves him taking the children with her to live in New York, he cannot watch them grow up from France and so follows them with the hope of living there himself. As a result, the complications of this soon unfold…
I can’t remember a time when I have seen the third part of a trilogy without watching its predecessors first. So, this may have been a first. Did it matter that this was the case with Chinese Puzzle? No. Did I feel that I missed out on character backgrounds? Again: no. This was probably due to the actors’ familiarity with their roles, I didn’t find myself wondering what had happened before to this group »
- Gary Collinson
After a one film hiatus, the Cohen Media Group are once again working with the prolific François Ozon. While the rights to his previous film, the Cannes comp title Young & Beautiful, landed at the IFC Films, Cmg are picking up where they left off with 2012′s In the House. Deadline reports that The New Girlfriend starring Romain Duris which landed at the Toronto Int. and San Sebastian Film Festivals (oddly passing over Venice), has been picked up for what will likely be a first quarter 2015 release. The devilishly delicious new number was among one of our faves at Tiff this year.
Gist: After the death of her best friend, Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) falls into a deep depression, but a surprising discovery about her friend’s husband gives her a new taste for life.
- Eric Lavallee
Cohen Media Group has acquired U.S. rights to Francois Ozon’s thriller “The New Girlfriend,” three weeks after its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
The film, produced by French company Mandarin Cinema, is currently in the official competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Ozon is the director of “In the House,” “Swimming Pool” and “Under the Sand.” The film, based on the Ruth Rendell story, centers on a depressed woman, played by Anais Demoustier, whose passion for life is reawakened by a discovery about her friend’s husband (Romain Duris).
Variety’s Justin Chang called the film “delectably entertaining” in his Toronto review.
Cmg acquired the film through Paris-based international sales agency Films Distribution.
- Dave McNary
After making its world premiere in Toronto, François Ozon’s The New Girlfriend has inked U.S. distribution with Cohen Media Group. The Hitchcockian romance is adapted from the story by British suspense writer Ruth Rendell about Claire (Anaïs Demoustier), who discovers a surprising secret about her late best friend’s husband (Romain Duris) that tests the boundaries of sexual and gender identity. French company Mandarin Cinema produced the pic from the prolific Ozon (In The House, Swimming Pool, Under The Sand). Cmg Evp John Kochman and Films Distribution co-founder Nicolas Brigaud Robert negotiated the deal. The New Girlfriend won the Sebastian 2014 Award last week at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where it screened in competition.
- Jen Yamato
The Skin I Live In: Ozon’s Exquisite New Exploration of Gender Subversion
For his most playful and delightfully creepy film in years, Francois Ozon adapts crime writer Ruth Rendell’s short story for his latest, The New Girlfriend. Rendell has long supplied a bevy of European filmmakers with some of their most memorable titles, including Claude Miller’s Alias Betty (2001), Pedro Almodovar’s Live Flesh (1997), and perhaps, most notably, Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie (1994) and The Bridesmaid (2004). An excellent purveyor of strange and complicated relationships that often involve sublimated identities and tendencies that often lead to deadly scenarios, Rendell serves as an excellent template for Ozon with material that recalls the sexually transgressive explorations of his early career.
Claire (Anais Demoustier) and Laura (Isild Le Besco) have been inseparable friends since childhood. They’ve followed nearly the same life trajectory as well, both marrying handsome young men and what not. »
- Nicholas Bell
Norwegian distributor scores hat-trick of titles.
Fidalgo has secured three titles at the Toronto International Film Festival for Norwegian distribution.
The films include Marie’s Story’s from Jean-Pierre Ameris, sold by Indie Film Sales. The film stars Isabelle Carré as a determined nun in late 19th century France who taught a deaf and blind child to communicate.
Fidalgo has also picked up Duccio Chiarini’s debut, Short Skin, from Films Boutique. Starring Matteo Creatini and Francesca Agostini, the bittersweet comedy follows a 17-year-old protagonist who suffers too tight a foreskin to have sex.
In addition, the distributor has picked up Francois Ozon’s The New Girlfriend. Based on a short story collection by crime writer Ruth Rendell, the drama stars Anaïs Demoustier, Romain Duris and Raphaël Personnaz.
The film follows a woman who falls into a deep depression after the death of her best friend but is given a new lease of life when she discovers »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Exclusive: Mia Hansen Love, Francois Ozon dramas and Cannon Films doc among Toronto haul.
UK distributor Metrodome has secured UK and Ireland rights to a trio of films that played at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 4-14): Mia Hansen Love’s well-received drama Eden, Francois Ozon’s The New Girlfriend and documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.
All three will play at the London Film Festival (Oct 8-19).
Directed by French auteur Mia Hansen Love and starring Felix De Givry, Pauline Etienne and Greta Gerwig, Eden charts the rise and fall of one of the DJs who pioneered the French electro music scene in the 1990s.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
Nathaniel's adventures at Tiff continued
François Ozon remains one of France's most prolific directors. Like most prolific auteurs this means an uneven filmography. Even the very good films can feel ever-so-slightly underrealized. Is it the rush or just the nature of the artistry of the prolific, all first draft energies, favorite or borrowed styles structures and themes, and just warming-up ideas with the occasional lightning-strike perfections?
Like many fans I'm still waiting for another of those lightning strike perfections like certain moments in Under the Sand or 8 Women in full but his not-quite-there efforts can still be highly appealing: Potiche anyone?
The New Girlfriend turns out to be all of the above with grand moments, messy ones, energetic diversions, familiar tropes and half formed ideas... which as it turns out is just fine for a movie about embryonic searches for new identities. It begins with a funereal yet beautiful opening »
- NATHANIEL R
An air of Hitchcockian menace and free-floating sexual perversity is by now nothing new for Francois Ozon, but rarely has this French master analyzed the cracks in his characters’ bourgeois facades to such smooth and pleasurable effect as he does in “The New Girlfriend.” A skillfully triangulated psychological thriller about a woman who learns that the husband of her deceased Bff is harboring a most unusual secret, , making for a warmer, more open-ended experience than the creepy Ruth Rendell tale from which it’s been “loosely adapted.” Powered by beautifully controlled performances from Anais Demoustier and Romain Duris, Ozon’s “Girlfriend” should have willing arthouse escorts lining up worldwide. It opens Nov. 5 in France.
Rendell, that icy master of British detective fiction, has been best served onscreen by European filmmakers outside the U.K., at least on the evidence of Claude Chabrol’s “La Ceremonie” and Pedro Almodovar’s “Live Flesh. »
- Justin Chang
The poll for the Fipresci Grand Prix 2014 - Best Film of the Year gathered votes from 553 members throughout the world.
In the first phase, participants nominated feature-length films that received their world premiere no earlier than July 1, 2013. This led to a final round between the four finalists: Boyhood by Richard Linklater, Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski, The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson, and Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
This is the first Linklater has won the prize, which has previously gone to Michael Haneke, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jafar Panahi, Pedro Almodóvar, Jean-Luc Godard and Nuri Bilge Ceylan, among others, since its establishment in 1999.
Boyhood will have a special screening at the San Sebastián Film Festival on Sept »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
“Eden,” helmed by French up-and-comer Mia Hansen-Love and sold by Kinology, charts the rise and fall of one of the DJs who pioneered the French electro music trend known as the French touch in the 90s. The international cast comprises Felix de Givry, Golshifteh Farahani, Greta Gerwig and Brady Corbet. “Eden” will world premiere at Toronto.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s crime bestseller, “Gone Girl” is a psychological thriller turning on a man (Ben Affleck) whose wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. The Twentieth Century Fox movie will have its world premiere at the opening of New York film fest.
- Elsa Keslassy
Leading Benelux distributor Cineart has announced details of a change in its ownership structure and confirmed new acquisitions.
The company, founded by Eliane DuBois who died last summer, is now jointly controlled by Stephan De Potter in Belgium and Marc Smit in the Netherlands. The two have bought out the shares owned by DuBois’ son, Hichame Alaouie, who will remain as an ‘honorary participant’ on the Cineart board.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Cineart.
The company is continuing to ramp up its VOD activities. Through Twin Pics, its joint venture with music distributor Pias, Cineart is an iTunes aggregator.
Cineart will also handle the Dardenne brothers’ next project, which is at script stage.
The company is also releasing Benoit Jacquot’s latest feature »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Geoffrey Macnab)
If one can expect anything from Michel Gondry, it is that along with the whimsy and touch of the bizarre inherent in his work is an element of truth. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind uses erasure imagery to illustrate the pain of heartbreak. Be Kind Rewind has friendly video store employees creating their own versions of Hollywood hits for their neighborhood. Gondry's latest film, love story Mood Indigo, however, is utterly drowning in whimsy and lacking any figment of truth.
Debonair and bearded Romain Duris (Populaire, The Beat That My Heart Skipped) stars as Colin, living off family money in a spacious Paris apartment. Audrey Tautou (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement) plays cute Chloe, whom Colin meets at a party. The plot goes something like this: guy meets girl, guy and girl fall in love and marry, flower grows in girl's lung.
There's also a B-plot, involving a friend (Gad Elmaleh, »
- Elizabeth Stoddard
Mood Indigo (French: L’écume des jours), 2013
Directed by Michel Gondry.
Wealthy, inventive bachelor Colin endeavors to find a cure for his lover Chloe after she’s diagnosed with an unusual illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen a film quite like Mood Indigo before. I’d be lying if I said everything I saw made sense, or if I could articulate what was happening and why, but director Michel Gondry has a truly unique style and it’s one I am certainly in favour of, but would not wish to see anyone else attempt it.
The plot is straightforward (to a degree) as Colin and Chloe, two hip Parisians, meet, fall in love, get married, and then Chloe is diagnosed with a disease, »
- Gary Collinson
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
This is not a thing you ever want to hear: “Michel Gondry’s shorter, preferred cut for American audiences.” That was the proud announcement included in a press release about Mood Indigo from a U.S. publicist for the film, and that 90-odd-minute version is the same one I saw at a press screening here in London. Why does Gondry think we English speakers don’t warrant the two-hour-plus version of his whimsical love story? What doesn’t he want us to see? What does he think we can’t handle?
This is what I saw: an hour »
- MaryAnn Johanson
★★☆☆☆French director Michel Gondry is well-known for his eccentricities and wild imagination. However, with his latest quirksome endeavour, Mood Indigo (2013), the director falls into the trap of artifice over art, neglecting both plot and themes in favour of wild flights of unsubstantiated fancy. Gondry has based his film on Boris Vian's 1947 novel Froth on the Daydream. The story focuses on Colin (played by Gaelic heart-throb Romain Duris), a debonair member of the leisure class who wiles away his days creating strange whiz-bang devices (including a piano that mixes cocktails) in the company of gentleman's gentleman and gastronomic genius Nicolas (Omar Sy) and keen bibliophile Chick (Gad Elmaleh).
- CineVue UK
Whimsicality is a tough old nut to crack in cinema, with filmmakers attempts so often contrived. However one man that has walked that tight rope so often before – triumphantly – is Michel Gondry, and the man behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, now returns with his latest endeavour Mood Indigo, where he’s as surrealistic and whimsical as he’s ever been.
We had the great pleasure of sitting down with the unique filmmaker to discuss his latest project, as he told us what it was about this renowned Boris Vian novel that inspired him to make a movie, and he explained his decision to be so creative with this piece, and the balancing act between the more intimate aspects of the narrative, with the grandiose.
- Stefan Pape
To mark the release of Mood Indigo on 1st August, we’ve been given a Prize bundle to give away including an original Mood Indigo poster signed by the Oscar winning Director, Michel Gondry, a rejacketed edition of the Boris Vian original novel for Mood Indigo, DVDs of Paris (with Romain Duris) and Coco before Chanel (with Audrey Tautou).
Based on the cult novel by Boris Vian and directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep), Mood Indigo tells the surreal and poetic tale of Colin (Romain Duris, Populaire, Heartbreaker) and Chloe (Audrey Tautou, Coco before Chanel, Delicacy) and their idyllic love-story. Set in a fantasy version of Paris, their romantic adventure is turned on its head when Chloe falls sick and discovers a water lily growing in her lung…
Please note: This competition is open to UK residents only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
While those this side of the English Channel may not have heard of it as such, Boris Vian’s influential 1947 novel Froth on the Daydream is one that has become almost ingrained in French, teenage society, as a piece of literature that is something of a staple, must-read amongst a younger, impressionable crowd. Gaining a cult-following in the process, the much celebrated, innovative filmmaker Michel Gondry seemed the perfect fit to bring this fantastical tale to the big screen. However in this instance, the director’s inclination for contrived whimsicality devalues an otherwise enchanting love story.
Of course the story demands a surrealistic, wondrous approach, given the ethereal, dreamlike nature of the tale – but what can be achieved on paper does not always amount to a triumph on screen, as some things are best left to our wildest imaginations. To help bring this tale to the big screen (renamed Mood Indigo »
- Stefan Pape
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