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dbdumonteil

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Girls school, 16 December 2014

Writer Colette was bisexual and she was denied a religious funeral;her novel,which contained risqué scenes ,had to be sweetened because of the censorship.The "Office Catholique Du Cinema " banned the movie :they gave it a 5, a rating reserved for the most scandalous works.

This is the chronicle -inspired by the writer's memories- of a girls school where man is almost always absent (except for the doctor played by Pierre Brasseur,particularly in the vaccination scene:does the girl faint because she's afraid of the injection,or because she falls for the handsome physician?)

The daring side of the novel was watered down but Serge De Poligny managed to keep a discreet lesbian atmosphere now and then.One of the teachers ,Miss Sergent (sic) (Margo Lion) is in love with her student Claudine (Blanchette Brunoy) and when another teacher arrives ,she gets jealous. As for the teenager,her heart is broken when she sees her new mistress flirting with the doc .A mistress who does not seem that much fond of men,and anyway the handsome man has a fiancée we meet at the fair.

Memorable scenes: Margo lion,showing her ridiculous bathing suit;Brunoy rowing away and meeting along the river a pair of lovers making love and two "lovebirds". Taking a rebel stand,she strips bare and swims in the nude.

The prize giving day ,now a thing of the past: the famous "Prix D'Excellence"(prize for coming first in the class):it's all terribly quaint ,but not short on charm.

The carousel,a possible metaphor for the ways of love which make you feel Dizzy.These last pictures ,which include the word "Fin" (the end) will make you think of "strangers on a train" .

Poligny's most interesting works,nevertheless,are "Le Baron Fantôme " and "La fiancée Des Ténèbres" ,romantic fantasy films.

A strong influence on Comencini, 16 December 2014

Proof positive that there was,in the fifties, an alternative to Joselito Jimenez's soupy melodramas.

"Amici Per La Pelle" depicts a pure friendship between two teenagers ,a friendship which will endure,even,as if one user wrote,they were never to meet again.Mario is the would be tough guy sure of himself,but the last scenes show he breaks like a little boy (the writers are to be praised for not taking the easy way out).Franco is introverted,extremely sensitive ;he comes from the upper class of the society (his dad is an ambassador) but his relationship with his pal never suffers for it.True friendship knows no class,no race...Even for the father,it's only natural that his son should be taken in by his friend's family when he is away (and it must be pointed out that Mario's dad is an artist ,verging on bohemian life):the key to Franco's character is the loss of his mother ,which may explain he finds it hard to relate to girls.Now that his dear mother still lives on in his heart,he invents an imaginary girlfriend .

There's a stunning chemistry between the two young actors.

This movie had a huge influence on Luigi Comencini's later works which deal with childhood: "Cuore" ," Voltati Eugenio" and mainly ,mainly,'Incompreso" (it's no coincidence if his two young heroes are a consul's sons and their mom's dead).If you have liked "Amici Per La Pelle" ,Watch them.

NB:Geronimo Meynard's career ended with Freda's "Giuletta E Romeo "(1964) ,but time had taken its toll,and he was far from being as convincing,as moving as he is in Rossi's delicate drama.

Rumeurs (2014) (TV)
These two, 14 December 2014

This TV movie gets off to a most auspicious start : a rumor is spreading through the Streets of a small town:in the high school,a woman,a gym teacher, may (or may not) have an ambiguous relationship with one of her (female) students .Besides,the teenager runs away,which fuels the gossips.

Ingrid Chauvin,an athletic attractive actress, possesses mystery and charisma going for her,and the part was tailor-made for her ;unfortunately,after thirty interesting minutes,there is no more room for doubt concerning this love.Which is downright embarrassing.The writers try to make up for it by making their heroine a persecuted person :her car is burned,her colleagues talk behind her back,the PTA woman is obnoxious,she breaks up with her lover -who still loves and trusts her-,a car almost got run over her .Only one of her old friends shows some compassion and support,proving once more you should not go by appearances.The ending,borrowing from Wyler's "the collector" and too many serial killer stories,does not make any sense.

Like this? try these......

Les Risques Du Métier ,André Cayatte,1967

The children's hour ,William Wyler ,1962

L'amour nu (1981)
She has lost a flipper...., 14 December 2014

Yannick Bellon has always been a director interested in burning subjects:homosexuality ("La Triche" ,ecology ("L'Affut) ,rape ("l' Amour Violé ",probably her finest achievement) "L'Amour Nu" deals with breast cancer but it is not to be taken at face value;it is actually a movie about femininity and its values ;a breast ablation is a tragedy for a still young woman when confronted with the picture she must give to the society :magazines,fashion shows,advertisements,movies,are everywhere to remind her .

The characters move in a privileged world:she's an UNESCO interpret and her love is an oceanographer:not exactly the girl and the boy next door and it gives the movie a harlequin romance side .The problems are often skimmed over and the story suffers accordingly.Nevertheless,it is partially saved by the actors' sensitivity :Marlene Jobert and a non -Professional ,Jean-Michel Folon,a famous drawer.

Back with a vengeance, 14 December 2014

There's a good beginning:Jeanne has just won a prize for her latest detective story,but her husband ,a superintendent ,claims he is the true writer using a female pseudo.Naive Ann does believe her hubby helps the Third World :in fact ,he sells weapons here there and everywhere ;during a lunch with Muslim clients where she ridiculously keeps a low profile and acts as the maid ,she discovers the harsh truth.

It was intended to be a feminist manifesto,but if so,then it signally fails in its purpose,for the ending is downright reactionary. And if the writers blame the arms dealers,they do it cowardly.

As for the story ,it is entirely implausible and hardly entertaining.Only Girardot and Victor Lanous play their game well,but it's a waste of breath.

Health is worth all the gold in the world ., 9 December 2014

René Clair is the only director of the French golden age I do not dig;this is one of these directors the new wave embraced without a moment's hesitation whereas they trashed most of his colleagues ruthlessly.

Hindsight is less favorable;"Tout L'Or Du Monde" is not even granted one star in the "Dictionnaire Des Films " and the reviewer wrote that it is unworthy of his masterpieces .

But I do like Bourvil;anyway is there anybody in France who do not like this actor?And because he is in it,I watched it.In fact ,the critics were too hard :Bourvil plays three parts :the father,and the two sons -the second son appears in the last ten minutes- ;as there are no special effects,they are never in the same shot.

All Bourvil had to do is act naturally:he is cast,as often ,as the country bumpkin ,gullible and apparently dumb ,but actually smarter than the chic businessmen and stubborn to boot.

An estate developer discovers ,by looking at the graves in the cemetery,that in a small village ,people live longer than usually:so he wants to buy all the properties around to build a residence,complete with casino,fountain of youth .But they run into difficulties when they want to do peasant Bourvil and son away from their farm that is passed down from generation to generation.

The songs are not an improvement on those of "Le Million" and " Le Dernier Milliardaire" ,but there is a good spoof on the scandal sheets :"France Dimanche" is renamed "Paris Dimanche ",and,should we believe these idiots ,make the broad mass of French people as happy as the stars of their article :"everybody's happy" ,a shrewd Philippe Noiret assures.

This is certainly not a masterpiece ,but Bourvil ,Philippe Noiret and Claude Rich make it worthwhile.You can notice Françoise Dorléac,Catherine Deneuve's late sister ,cast as a journalist.

Secret beyond the door, 8 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A Gothic tale ,which shows a strong RL Stevenson influence ,which should not be missed if ,by chance ,you had the opportunity to Watch him;in Risi's huge filmography ,it is one of his most overlooked (and underrated) works;whereas "Il Sorpasso" is known and praised around the world,quite rightly so,"Anima Persa" remains a sleeper .

Let's forget the bland young couple ,the weakest side of the movie.Risi put the weight of his movie on Gassman and Deneuve and they carried it brilliantly.

Deneuve seems cast against type in this part of a still attractive but jaded faded woman;her last sequence has got something of Bunuel's "Tristana" .But the stand out is Gasman -who shone in "il Sorpasso" fifteen years before- in a thankless part ,who achieves the incredible feat of having us believe the unbelievable ;such is the talent of the man!Set in a baroque decadent palace in Venice,where the couple seems mummified ,in an atmosphere which sometimes recalls Roman Polanski's "Le Locataire" released the same year.

Risi's movie triumphantly renews the hackneyed subjects of the split personality ,of the mysterious closed door leading to the forbidden room ,and of the fall of the House Usher.

Tonnerre (2013)
The rolling thunder view., 8 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Tonnerre" means thunder,but it is the name of a town in Morvan where the movie was made on location;it is much to the credit of the director to have taken advantage of his rural snow-clad landscapes .

As for the story,it is (roughly) that of a love triangle,but with endearing characters,two of whom are losers .

The hero is a rocker down on his luck,broke,who occasionally strums his guitar and mumbles a song (in English),but this side of the character is not convincing.As he is short of the readies,he lives with his dad -played by an amazing Bernard Menez ,a former maths teacher turned comedy actor in the seventies- who still thinks he can seduce women . Maxime ,our failed rock star falls for a journalist,Melodie ,who is much younger than him.But she cannot save him,cause ,as she writes him,I cannot save myself.She has another lover ,a football player called Ivan ,which drives Maxime mad.

In the white country ,this is finally a dark story;there is a depressing conversation between the loser and one of his friends,Hervé (played by a non-Professional actor in a very workmanlike way) ,about suicide :although downhearted ,he finds the strength to carry on through his two little girls.As for Maxime,he tries to escape a dead end,but if even at the end of the movie ,love seems to have been good to him (Melodie clears his name),he remains a beautiful loser ,who has found peace of mind but whose future is still bleak.

The subject is derivative but the director plays his game well and interest is sustained throughout.

NB: for rock fans :while the two couples are dancing to a syrupy tune,you can spot sleeves of Neil Young's "on the beach ,"John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" ,Bob Dylan's "Nashville skyline" plus two other albums by Santana and Simon and Garfunkel.

Good Lord's worn out shoes, 30 November 2014

In the movie,these worn out shoes are people who worked all their life for almost nothing .Less pessimistic than former Brisseau's works such as "Un Jeu Brutal" or "De Bruit Et De Fureur",it's nonetheless a rather difficult work:Brisseau is like mercury,in a word:elusive.

There will probably be as many different comments(and I mean different) as there are users who will write about it.I think it is a fable which deals with an unfair society.

Fred is a generous guy ;he is the person Neil Young depicts in "Heart of Gold".He gives all his savings to the needy:but saints are a nuisance to live with at home ,and in the world we live in,it takes a lot of faith and a total commitment to succeed(in France ,people like L'Abbé Pierre);no compromise is possible:her wife can't go on living like that and his boss fires him.He could take to the road ,as Bunuel's "Nazarin" did,but he does not have faith.So he turns into a modern Robin Hood ,stealing from the rich and giving to the poor ; with his new girlfriend, they become idealized Bonnie and Clyde.

Maguette,the mysterious black man they meet along the way, brings his strange wisdom;he tries to deal with the golden rules of society ,just to prove how absurd they may be: a royal heir in his native Africa,he can turn into a lawyer or into a chief inspector of schools:for that matter,you must remember that Brisseau was a former teacher and he is hard on his colleagues:what's the point of studying a ditty such as "Comme D'Habitude " (a song which enjoyed countless covers as "My way") ?Maguette,the would be inspector urges the students to rebel in a sequence probably inspired by Vigo's "Zero De Conduite". The failure of the state education,as far as the underprivileged pupils are concerned, shows in Fred's total ignorance:in the Provençal country,his girlfriend teaches him reading ,writing and arithmetic :he seems fascinated by the division algorithm. The final is a travesty of a trial ,for Brisseau does not seem -like many of his compatriots - to believe in French justice anymore either :the concurrency of sentences is nothing but a joke on French law.

Some people play their game well,as is the case with Jacques:played by an excellent-smiling but almost deadpan- Philippe Caroit whose appearance is much too short ;dressed up to the nines ,he shows his crooked pal that when you cut down on works ,the profit you make is nil.Elodie,Fred's ex-wife makes no mistake when she chooses him to live a life of luxury :her metamorphosis into an elegant sophisticated socialite is stupefying.That's safe establishment.

And ,all in all,it's the good grandmother who's the last word :her wisdom makes sense ,as she justifies her grandson's behavior .And the choice of Paulette Dubost whose career spans the whole century (she was supporting in "Hotel Du Nord" in 1937 ,in "Lola Montès" in 1955 or in " Le Dernier Metro" in 1981) ,what a fine idea!

Le bal (1931)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
La Folie Des Grandeurs, 27 November 2014

The first user wrote about the poster,so I'm going to write about the movie itself.

It's a small gem,based on a story by Irene Nemirovski,and it really deserves to be watched.

First of all ,it is Danielle Darrieux's debut :she was not yet 14 then!Little did one know she would enjoy such a brilliant career ,and to this day ,the longest ever in France :I saw her ,a few months ago,in "Pièce Montée" (2010!! 80 years after "Le Bal" ) in which she stole the show from her co-stars ! Darrieux is still a gamine,but she rises to the occasion .

This is a marvelous satire: two middle-class notions dealers live happily with their Darling girl;the depiction of this cozy life is exquisite:dad dipping his croissants in his coffee,the family having lunch in the restaurant on Sunday (chicken is the obligatory dish),the piano lesson with sour-tempered cousin ,an old maid.

But a inheritance turns these nice people into snob Nouveaux Riches;although the aristocracy invites them,the 'Tout-Paris ' laughs behind their back;for the counts,dukes,ministers ,ambassadors et al ,they are nothing but a laughing stock .

They do not realize it ,and they think they are part of the chic world: Madame wants to flirt again and although she tells her daughter she's too young to attend the society parties ,she 's actually afraid the handsome earl she gets a crush on might discover she has already a fourteen-year old daughter.Monsieur uses the subjunctive imperfect and wears a monocle.

They invite their would be new friends for a ball (hance the title),in their desirable new mansion ("it looks like a railway station" says the cousin),but their daughter,sick and tired of being forgotten by her once loving parents,throws the invitations into the Seine.

The last sequences climax the movie,as the two snobs are waiting for their 200 guests who never show up .All the servants and the musicians they hired to impress the high society ,all they try to do backfires on them and the husband winds up ,dancing with the old broke cousin ,to a popular tune.

In its form,this comedy can be considered a musical and Darrieux herself sings several old-fashioned but charming tunes such as " C'est Le Dimanche " ;a little Freudian ,she declares "I'd like to marry a man like you,dad".And she proves that "out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes forth truth".

Very funny!


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