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Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
The bride was some kind of blonde
Kill Bill after killing Zoe, a spoof modern western based, among many things, on The Bride Wore Black by Truffaut in 1968... Interesting filming and characters... splendid choreography in a Japanese garden ... it' s Tarantino alright and it is entertaining... but style alone does not make a movie memorable.
Les possédés (1988)
An excellent franco polish production, prophetic.
Dostoievski was a giant and a master painter of the Russian soul. This film is a good rendition of his work, altogether prophetic (on the Bolcheviks) and coined with pessimism.
The Slavic twist that Wajda brought to the picture is essential. Madness, brittle human relations and utopia are the key ingredients among which a pleiad of very Russian characters evolve. None of them seem to be part of the real world, they seem more rooted in the realm of philosophy.
Reading Dostoievski and Tolstoi could have avoided many ugly things indeed.
30 ans (2000)
Subtleties and and few yawns...
30 odd years of the theatrical life of a group of friends. They meet in the wake of the coup d'état in Chile. Jeanne mysteriously appears in 73 and just as enigmatically she fades away in the early morning.
This film is about the permanence of love and sex, the ups and downs of a small theater, the vicissitudes of life the last 30 years in France. It is about growing up, compromising, understanding the other or not... but in the end it's just a lukewarm broth, rather insipid.
Prison, trial and the stake
Part II just as good as part I, far from the boisterous and epic portrayal usually made of Jeanne the maiden. This movie places her in a simple attire and gives a sense of how simple people can resist to lofty minds often intoxicated by their political urges and ready to twist facts as long as it serves their objectives.
When sophisms prove not enough then comes the resort to brutal strength and the execution of the innocent young maiden. This is about the triumph of warriors who have enrolled their Church but who both find themselves defeated in the face of history. Everybody remembers Jeanne nobody knows the names of her tormentors.
Cours privé (1986)
Major perversion among minors
A sexy professor enters a rich kids high school, seduces some of her colleagues and,... some of the pupils. She almost plays the role of the mysterious stranger of Theorema (Pasolini). However there is a dark secret about her, she is too young to let some distance between her and her pupils, too good looking to be ignored.
This is a story about saphism, discretion and the call of flesh. It's a perfectly chaste movie which deals with a subject seldom discussed in the mid 80's.
The first of a long series
Maigret is an iconic character in Belgian literature and French cinema and TV. Picpus is the first movie of a long serie spanning over 60 years and more...
Not surprisingly Picpus is widely ignored. It was made during the war and as most movies made under foreign occupation it has been left aside... Too bad because the plot is interesting.
I say the plot (based on Simenon) since the acting leaves somehow to be desired... but here again 1943 was a time when the best actors were often elsewhere or could not play.
A modern version of Picpus would be interesting and bring new colours to an old film noir.
Life in a grand canyon
We have seen this before, humanity giving back a taste for life to those who have lost it. Hope and goodness bring back those who are standing on the brink of the great chasm. The film is at the antipodes of Hollywood studio stews and is obviously more inspired by a current European wave which gives a spiritual, almost theological, insight of human life through carefully chosen characters of ordinary background.
Don't expect much action, life is not always a whirlpool. Japon is earthly, poetic and sometimes a bit raw. It could be boring to some viewers as well.
Les novices (1970)
Of virtues and mainstream morals...
Imagine a nun (Bardot) with great legs running into a working girl (Girardot)... The nun is very humane and therefore understanding, she gives a little bit of help... in order to fulfill the needs of her neighbours... and the prostitute is quite astute... Probably offensive to a lot a bigots this comedy is rather entertaining. It also gives a youthful and spritely image of France in the early 70's.
Callas Forever (2002)
A really tragedy...
Much heralded in France (Ardant does look a bit like Callas and Zeffirelli is an acclaimed film director) one could have expected this film to be, if not outstanding, at least decent and fun to watch...
Unfortunately it turns out to be a third rate melodrama, with a few interesting scenes but dramatically lacking in finesse. In the end it leaves a taste of bitterness, Maria Callas deserved better than that !
Le journal du séducteur (1996)
Almost surrealistic, almost good
Left bank Paris as a backdrop, seduction, love and sex among young philosophizing students, a shrink... that is all too banal to be great.
Nevertheless the movie manages to create an atmosphere all to itself, a sense of mystery yet a predictable one,... some kind of witchcraft perhaps ? Actors act naturally, Jean-Pierre Léaud is himself, as usual, Amalric is bewildered by sexuality, Melvil Poupaud is a dark soul (not very funny as his grand mother puts it !) and Chiara Mastroiani is very Parisian, both brittle and charming.
Nothing is too serious, not even life since it seems so easy to get away with murder. There is undoubtably a whiff of witchcraft in the Latin Quarter.