The 35-hour work week has all of France in its thrall. This film turns it into a feature about economic and familial politics. Frank, a business school graduate, returns to his provincial ... See full summary »
The film tells the true story of French clown Miloud Oukili from his arrival in Romania in 1992 (three years after the fall of Ceausescu) to his encounter with the street children of ... See full summary »
Vincent Lindon and Alain Cavalier are pals. Like father and son. They sip port in bars dreaming of a film they might make. Together. Then just once in a while, they don suit and tie. Play ... See full summary »
Muriel, a writer nearing 50 whose older lover won't live with her in Paris, meets a man on a train - Samuel, an Arab. He's attracted to her and pursues her, dropping in, asserting himself. ... See full summary »
Such an inconsequential event - the unfortunate purchase of a package of cling film - reveals the character and behavior of a small group of individuals caught up in the chaos of today's society. Though it creates arguments and inner questioning, this event - and its various consequences - also creates bonds.
The Vuillard family is no stranger to physical/mental illness, loss, and banishment. But when the matriarch becomes in need of a transplant, the whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas.
When a fresh young police academy graduate from provincial Le Havre volunteers for the high pressure world of the Parisian homicide squad, his schoolteacher wife is reluctant to go with him. He moves into a rooming house that caters to single cops as he embraces his fellow officers as an extended family. He becomes close to an Arab officer and his boss, a very professional but lonely, middle-aged female detective who is also a recovering alcoholic. Routine police procedure gives way to an intensive search among the city's homeless for an undocumented Russian immigrant who may be responsible for a series of violent crimes. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reflected in window as Vaudieu and Solo exit the church. See more »
[He approaches Commandant Vaudieu and Antoine, who are sharing a marijuana cigarette]
Excuse me, can I have a drag?
[Antoine pauses and looks at Vandieu, who assents. He gives the joint to the stranger]
[He takes a long drag]
[Returning the joint]
This place is crawling with cops.
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Competent French crime story, but Nathalie Baye is not Helen Mirren
A rookie detective discovers a world of woe chasing seriously dangerous immigrant Russian thugs in Paris and Nice in this competent French crime drama. His boss is a veteran female police commander making a comeback of sorts after alcoholism had blown her off course for a while. For her performance here as Commandant Caroline "Caro" Vaudieu, Nathalie Baye won her second César Award as Best Actress of 2006 (her first was in 1983 for "La Balance"); at 58, she is a veteran of roles in more than 75 films, and her turn here is very good, if not entirely convincing.
By pure coincidence, later, on the same day I saw this film, I watched the last episode of "The Final Act" on PBS's Masterpiece Theater. This presentation, purportedly the last production in the "Prime Suspect" series, starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison of New Scotland Yard, offers useful comparisons with the French film. "Prime Suspect," of course, set the gold standard for contemporary narrative crime films and has had a splendid 14 year run from 1992 to this past weekend.
The parallels between the protagonists in "Petit Lieutenant" and "Final Act" are extraordinary. Both chief detectives are older women who have suffered through grief, loss and the ravages of the bottle. Both have obvious streaks of vulnerability. And both have something important left to prove: each needs to redeem herself in police work after previous humiliating periods of compromised functioning.
What stands out most in the comparisons is that Mirren's DCI Tennison is tougher than she is vulnerable. She sustains the respect of the men on the force because she can be as brassy and authoritarian as the best of them. And they respect this, never questioning her orders. Miss Baye's Commandant Vaudieu, on the other hand, has a more impassive, retiring personality. And thus her character is less believable than Mirren's, less likely to have risen in the ranks to the very top of a demanding and decidedly tough, not to mention misogynistic, profession. Several actors on Vaudieu's police team are splendid, including Jalil Lespert (the rookie cop, Antoine), Roschdy Zem (Solo) and Antoine Chappey (Louis). (In French, Russian & Polish) My grades: 8/10, B+ (Seen on 11/25/06)
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