Reviews written by registered user
|4623 reviews in total|
This work met with utterly divided responses from the critics,most of
whom praised it to the skies,and from the audience who was taken aback
by a non-conventional movie and turned their back on it ;after all,it
came from Alain Cavalier,who till "Therèse",was an "accessible"
"Libera Me "(1993)puzzled the audience :no dialog,no music,no settings,hardly a screenplay;"La Rencontre" disconcerted his former fans even more.
"Le Paradis " is ,in an avant-Garde form,what "Thérèse " was ,in a more traditional -although refined- style;it has some moments of brilliance,but also some boring fortune cookie philosophies;some sequences are even irrelevant:the girl who meets her biological dad who gives her a soft toy.Using toys and things instead of human beings ,Cavalier convinces (the bird ,epitomizing the prodigal son ,who in the end cannot escaped from the creator's infinite hand ) or bores (the toy robot fighting in a war -against his demons?) We attend some kind of "Q and A " game in which two persons (we only see one of them) hint at biblical (and Greek) characters and concepts ;two scenes of the Genesis are "played :Adam and Eve and the sacrifice of Abraham.
The movie begins with the death of a baby peacock which is buried:the subject is mortality but ,as we learn in Sunday School,it's the way to luminous immortality (but can't immortality be too long to live?).
Undeniably,the movie exerts a fascination on the viewer who watches it in some kind of trance.But as far as faith is concerned,you will be better off with "Thérèse" ,one of the best "religious" movies ever done. Even more amazing,Cavalier's Pre-Therese movies did not display spiritual concerns ,the two first ones were even overtly political.
A short made of four small segments:
1)"Mann Für Alles " (= a man for everything): A woman married a very peculiar man:he washes himself and he shaves with a burning torch;he also spits fire,which is useful to get fried eggs;but when he tries to kiss her,she asks him to get rid of the fire within him first....
2)"Carmen Die Ewige" (=Timeless Carmen)a couple of dancers in a boisterous flamenco ,to the Bizet's operetta arias.
3)"Histoire D'Amour" oder " Eine Liebegeschichte " (= love story);certainly the most pleasant sketch ,played by puppets : a brush is in love with a feather duster ;when the parents are fast asleep ,Romeo-Brush puts a ladder to get to Juliette-Feather Duster but he chooses the wrong window;however everything will work out all right in the end ,for in a cradle ,two baby-brushes are sleeping....It has to be seen to be believed ,but I'm not making anything up!
4)"Das Meisterwerk " (= the masterpiece) A star(?) has so many clothes she finds it hard to choose one .Nevertheless,she visits her favorite designer ,Georges Le Beau,who hates women ("Ich Hasse Frauen" is written on the wall);an anticlimax after the charming third segment,in spite of Liszt's " Hungarian rhapsody".
The title is either a misnomer (such a title would promise a tour in nightclubs or shows ) or a joke.Probably the latter ,though the connection between the four bits escapes me,I fear.
Joel Seria is not your average director;his first movie,about two girls
playing games not exactly their age set the tone :not particular about
details,colorful,bad taste (he might be some kind of French John
Waters),and a desire to shock his audience,his seventies movies hold up
pretty well for those whose taste runs that way.
Unfortunately,his eighties efforts does little but expose the worst of the man's weaknesses.Let's pass over his abysmal "San Antonio Ne Pense Qu'a Ca" (1981),one of his last two theatrically released works.
"Les 2 Crocodiles " is somewhat better than the Dard adaptation ,but its qualities have little to do with Seria's directing and his desultory screenplay;it's his two principals 'own excellence which salvages the general disorganization (and coarseness)of the flick.
Jean-Pierre Marielle is the director's favorite actor ,and his pairing with Jean Carmet (both were featured in the excellent " Dupont-Lajoie",Boisset's 1974 film)is a good idea indeed :the smart man vs the naive one (and both look the part) has often been a good subject : De Funès/Bourvil in Oury's comedies ,Gassman/Trintignant in the unsurpassed Risi's "Il Sorpasso".....
Marielle and Carmet are so good actors that they sometimes overcome the paucity and the weakness of the script;the chemistry between them is so obvious that they make the final (overblown) unexpected twist almost normal.
It's also "normal" because of the disgusting misogyny which runs rampant in the whole story:if they are not strip teasers ,all the women we meet are ugly nymphomaniacs (Dora Doll cast as a fat farmer),monstrous romantics (the bride waiting for her groom),shameless old ladies (the incontinent mom),you name it.... Let's notice a liking for scatology too.
Séria 's decision to call it quits (and to work for TV later on)was entirely appropriated;Nevertheless,he made a short come back in 2010 with "Mumu" starring Sylvie Testud.
A fable on the timeless proverb:money can't buy happiness.There's
nothing like family life with a good wife and loving children,the city
means evil,better staying on your farm in the country ,like your
fathers have always done.
A good farmer wins the lottery and realizes that time is passing him by.Helped,so to speak,by an army buddy and his girlfriend Dominique and a pack of so called friends,he begins to live a wild life .Those snubs despise the peasant and they use him as a cash cow.Himself is ill at ease in this selfish world of self-interested parasites and sycophants .
A pleasant little comedy,which sometimes drags on -the "Dolce Vita" scenes are mostly filler- with an intrusive pedestrian music.But in the end,proof positive that bright lights and big city are not worth an acre of good earth (hence the title:"Les Arpents Dorés" = the golden acres)
It begins with lines written by Jean Cocteau ,warning us against the
selfish intellectuals,who leave the true life out.
The movie is a long flashback ,the scene of Morill leaving his hosts' desirable mansion is filmed twice,from the outside ,then from the inside.In between the hero remembers....he was a playwright's and his wife's guest ;it takes the form of a very long interview with a literary critic who arrives when the tragedy happens.....
The playing is extremely sophisticated ,and the whole movie could be performed on stage .In its form,it shows the influence of the notorious French Nouvelle Vague and there are static shots aplenty.
Directing is icily impersonal and devoid of real emotion ;who cares for this love triangle?
The playwright,who has no son,writes a drama in which the father kills his son ultimately;his young guest suggest he begin his drama with the crime and he study his wife's reactions and how he can cope with it.Morill could be his son:not only his host wants to mold him ,but he also uses him as a literary "guineapig" ,the main character of his new work;they hint ,in the first part ,at the realistic side of a literary work ;but a book remains a book,and should not be a matter of life ;living in a intellectual fantasy is a blind alley . "Writing can be a hell of a sickness" says Morill to a desperate intellectual full of self-importance whose life is finally an hypocrite imitation (his wife uses this epithet)and who threw away the most precious things .
You have been warned:this is uncompromisingly highbrow stuff,sometimes heady,sometimes a headache.
Maurice Labro is an odd-job man of the French cinema:his career is
unambitious ;he should not mistaken for Philippe Labro,a younger
director from the seventies.
Like Julien Duvivier before him ("L'Homme A L'Imperméable"1957 ),he tries to put Fernandel in a comedy -cum-film noir screenplay (based on an American novel)that just does not suit him;one also feels a Billy Wilder influence (particularly "some like it hot")
A stand -up comic,down on his luck,winds up in Las Perlas ,a town where gambling is king and where there are ten slot machines for one inhabitant (or tourist);his likely stories are not appreciated by the audience and he is booed off the stage on the first night;undaunted,he carries on,basing then his sketches on gaming clubs ready to bleed you dry (the story of the two newly weds is a rather good moment in a poor script).
The cast is rather good and ,besides the star,features seasoned actors such as François Maistre,Jacques Monod,Marc Michel ,the hero of Demy's "Lola" and sexy Perrette Pradier;there's just one problem:how could the audience believe they are Americans? Also handicapped by frequent use of Dirk Sanders' dancers, which slows down an action which is not that much very exciting in the first place .
Raoul André had already directed a story of abducted child in "L'Homme
Et L'Infant" in 1956 ,a movie starring Eddie Constantine and Juliette
"Clara Et Les Méchants" (= Clara and the villains) aka "Bourreaux D'Enfants (=child beaters) is more of the same : a rich kid ,daughter of an oil tycoon ,lives a life of luxury with private tutors and porridge and kipper for breakfast ;dad is busy caring about his big business -we never see him- and mom is a socialite ,who puts her girl to bed before enjoying a society party.Bad guys kidnap the heiress ,to get a hefty ransom ;of course all of them are two-bit gangsters and pretty soon the little silly goose leads her kidnappers by the nose ...The scene where the girl is in bed and dreams of a magic merry-go-round might have promised a bit of fantasy but the ponderous gags and the villains' witless unfunny lines drown all poetry out.
Talking about poetry: the young star ,Minou Drouet ,was a whiz kid ,a child poetess in the second half of the fifties .Her talent was much debated (Jean Cocteau said:"all children are poets but Minou Drouet"),and gossips claimed that her adoptive mother,a teacher ,wrote the poems;today it's still a mystery,but Minou Drouet never became the French Shirley Temple and she was never to make another movie.
Raoul André was a poor director,as a cursory look at his filmography shows :his first efforts are probably the most watchable ,particularly "Le Fiacre 13" a good old melodrama.In "Clara",he is unable to use talented Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret (then a team,like Martin and Lewis)efficiently.
This is the only theatrically released movie by Jean Canolle,who
essentially worked for the TV.
It is a moderately pleasant comedy,filmed on location in Corsica ;wide screen and color do the splendid landscapes justice and there's a lovely score too.
Maddalena's donkey has disappeared and it causes local politics problem in her village of Zingaria;when the animal is found again,it is also claimed by another person ,a bailiff from the village of Sainte- Marie .As the two villages cannot stand the sight of each other,it just makes matters worse .It will take a trial to solve the case .
With two exceptions,the actors are unknown,even for a French early seventies audience .Jean Lefèvre finds here one of his least mediocre part as the road-man who stutters ,except when he speaks to the donkey;he even speaks to Saint Sebastian,imitating Fernandel's Don Camillo with consummate skill. Tino Rossi is the guest star - and it would be his final film-but his song and his scene in Paris with a man from the government are mostly filler,as is the interminable elopement of a Romeo from Sainte -Marie and a Juliet from Zingaria.
Although the movie loses steam in its last third ,there are lots of things happening ,a stormy town council ,a turbulent populace before the court, a priest and his bishop,and a vet under pressure .
Zig and Puce ,flanked by their penguin Nestor,were two comics heroes
,created by Alain Saint-Ogan in 1925,the very first European comic
strip using speech bubbles;When he created his celebrated Tintin,four
years later,Hergé patterns himself upon Saint-Ogan .Hence his
historical importance in the Belgian comics school .
Zig and Puce have no parents or relatives (like Tintin) and they have a pet (like Tintin's Milou/Snowy);at the end of the short (37 min) they are asked by the wealthy couple who adopt Nénette to stay with them but they turn the offer down because they are independent.The young children of the twenties must have envied them :no school,foot loose and fancy free.
The screenplay may seem naive today (and it already was in 1953)but it was strictly aimed at the children market:Zig ,Puce and their penguin arrive in a circus where Nénette,an acrobat, is mistreated by the owner who flogs her;they help her escape from this miserable life and she tells them her story:she has lost her parents ( the flashback is the best moment of the short: the funeral is depicted by shadow-graph on the wall);the threesome and the pet help the gendarmes arrest burglars;afterward Nénette finds a new family and the heroes hit the road again.
In a long interview with Numa Sadoul,Hergé claimed Saint-Ogan's influence which spawned a whole school of drawers in Belgium :"La Ligne Claire".
Few people know it,but it is actually the second version (I would not
write "remake" ) of Japrisot' s thriller ;it was already transferred to
the screen in 1965(two years after the novel was released).The director
was André Cayatte ,an excellent old school artist too often ridiculed
by the overrated new wavelet;Cayatte was not in his field
,however,being known for championing any good cause going.He opted for
a "moral" ending ,not the ambiguous one of the English effort.Helped by
writer Jean Anouilh and two good actresses :Dany Carrel played both
Michèle AND Dominique Loï (smartly translated "law" in the English
version);and above all,it featured one of our greatest character
actresses,Madeleine Robinson.We can only hope that this movie will be
released on DVD some day.
By and large ,I'm not a fan of Japrisot whose plots are often complicated instead of complex and I do not put him in the same league as Boileau-Narcejac ("diaboliques","vertigo"),Frédéric Dard (whose "Toi Le Venin" broached the subject of the "double"in early sixties ),let alone Agatha Christie.
That said ," Piège Pour Cendrillon " is a different matter;the subject is not new ("Spellbound" , the contemporary " the third day " ( 1965) "shattered" and countless others dealt with amnesia );but the treatment,including four parts ,each one containing the same verb in four different tenses of French conjugation was downright disturbing;and the ending was all the more baffling since the mystery was not solved .(It was the reader who decided )
On the plus side,Kerry Fox took on Robinson's role with consummate skill ;Alexandra Roach as brittle Do is eye candy;but it's not all good news :with such a story,it would have taken a great director and (mainly) a talented script writer (Japrisot wrote himself the screenplay of the French effort).Adding an overt lesbian relationship between Mi and Do does not help ,today it's no longer risqué and even trendy ,à la mode, as we French would say;an intrusive music does not help either.Editing is botched.Whereas the story was essentially psychological thriller,this flashy movie fills its quota of topless women and sex ,neglecting the harrowing frames of mind of the heroine.
|Page 1 of 463:||          |