East of France, December 1917. In a village situated close to the front but protected from it by a hillside, the body of Belle de Jour, a little girl, is found by the canal. Judge Mierck, ...
See full summary »
When farmer Aymé Pigrenet loses his wife, he is not exactly overwhelmed by sorrow, rather by the sheer amount of work that suddenly falls on his shoulders. In quest of a new spouse, he goes to Romania where he meets Elena.
A young boy's life in turn-of-the-century France. Marcel, witnesses the success of his teacher father, as well as the success of his arrogant Uncle Jules. Marcel and family spend their ... See full summary »
Every holiday Marcel and his family go to their cottage in the Provence (France). He likes the hills in this region. Before they arrive at the cottage they have to walk about 5 miles. With ... See full summary »
It is the story of two types: Moltes a criminal in prison and Reggio one of the guards. Crazy adventures happen when following a winner ticket to Africa, they competes in a rally and are chased by the Turk, a sworn enemy of Moltes.
As summer drags by, 13-year-old Jimmy, forced by circumstance to become an adult too soon, runs up against the limits of his small hometown and his turbulent life, caught between a mother on the slide and a stepfather who keeps her down.
Alessandro teaches musicology at the university of Strasbourg. He is also a volunteer reader in hospitals. He shares his apartment with his daughter, 15-year-old Irina, and his anarchist ... See full summary »
Moscow, 1952. Anna is taken to the Kremlin where she has to cure Stanlin himself. She needs to keep the secret at all costs and as her relationship with the URSS leader grows, her couple with Vassilli tumbles.
East of France, December 1917. In a village situated close to the front but protected from it by a hillside, the body of Belle de Jour, a little girl, is found by the canal. Judge Mierck, assisted by an Colonel Matzev representing the Armed Forces, investigates the case in his own way. The fact that the young victim's corpse lies a few yards from the manor of Destinat, the withdrawn, haughty-looking district attorney, who has always despised and humiliated him, doesn't escape him. To make matters worse, a witness has seen the magistrate not only talking with Belle but patting her cheek as well minutes before the little girl was strangled. But vengeance is one thing and class privilege another... Written by
This was, with Les Parrains, the joint last film appearance of Jacques Villeret and although his performance is only one of several reasons to see this exceptional film it is a more than fitting swansong. I doubt very much whether Villeret has ever played someone so wicked - evil may be just a tad too strong - as his Juge Mierck, certainly I have never seen him in anything approaching the blackness of this soul - the title translates directly as Grey Souls. He starts the way he means to go on when, in the opening scene as one of several local officials gathered round the body of an angelic child found strangled on the banks of a canal Mierck calmly takes delivery of a boiled egg, cracks it open and eats it right there in the open air whilst gazing dispassionately at the corpse. This is a surprisingly effective twist on the scene where the villain strokes a Siamese/Persion cat, sniffs delicately at a rose etc, murmuring suavely in accompaniment as a few feet away his minders are castrating the hero. Nine out of ten times we groan or laugh outright in this spot but Villeret merely fascinates. World War One is enjoying something of a vogue lately; at the end of last year it featured heavily in A Very Long Engagement, Paths Of Glory is lined up for revival in London and Paris next month sees the release of Joyeux Noel which addresses the well documented incident of Christmas Day in the trenches when the two sides called a truce and shared food and drink before returning to their respective trenches. Although we don't see any actual combat World War One informs every frame of this outstanding movie. The setting is a small town literally a few miles from the front - so close in fact that one character whose fiancé is engaged in combat actually walks to the edge of the town from where she can clearly hear the gunfire on the other side of the hill that forms a natural barrier between town and Front. It's not a place you'd want to settle in; the schoolmaster suffers shell shock and commits suicide, the policeman's wife dies in childbirth leaving him distraught, the replacement schoolteacher is the character whose lover is at the Front and when he is killed she too commits suicide to say nothing of the young girl who is strangled. Despite all these negatives this is a truly enriching film with fantastic performances from everyone and not just the three top-billed actors - Jean-Pierre Marielle as the Procuriere, Denis Podalydes as the policeman and Jacques Villeret as Juge Mierck who has spent a lifetime suffering implacably the disdain of the Procuriere and retaliates by intimating that the Procuriere may be the murderer. Every shot is muted so that even the rich bindings on the impressive books lining Marielle's walls seem bereft of their high gloss. I have no hesitation in rating this a ten.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?