Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Divorzio all'italiana (1961)
Definitely a classic film, but not just an Italian classic! "Divorzio all'italiana" centers itself around Ferdinando Cefalù (Mastroianni), a 37 year old baron in a small town. Although he's a baron, his life is not completely perfect as his father has squandered much of their money, and his extremely clingy wife Rosalia stands between him and the only thing he loves, his 16 year old cousin Angela. To add salt to the wound, 1960's Italy does not allow couples to divorce, which leads Ferdinando to seek desperate measures. After a town scandal erupts, when a woman murders her cheating husband to protect her honor, Ferdinando is inspired to set up his wife with a lover in order to kill her and "protect his honor." The rest of the movie chronicles Ferdinando's attempts to find someone who would fit the bill.
"Divorzio all'italiana" is a satirical look at Italian society and its seemingly backward laws which force people to do stupid things and its fallibility at justice. In its social commentary of Italian laws/society, Concini, Germi, and Giannetti (the writers) create well fitted, stereotypical characters that are much needed in order for the message of the film to get across. Ferdinando plays the evil nobleman, Rosalia as the annoying wife, Angela as the desirable secret teen lover, etc. The beauty of the story not only lies in it's scathingly funny humor, with Ferdinando's clever plotting and hallucinations of killing his wife, but also in its ability to transcend time. Nowadays there are no laws that forbid divorce in most societies, but even though that crucial point does not relate to modern audiences, the film is still able to conjure emotions for the characters' plight. Another great thing about the film, is the idea of a protagonist character with typically antagonist characteristics. Ferdinando is definitely a bad man, but the story plays with the audience in making them want Ferdinando to succeed in his plot. To add to the underlying theme of the film, the failure of Italian laws, is the theme of "justice" whether it be from the law or from a simple reversal of fate. Definitely watch the film up to the very end, as it closes with an ironic yet justified twist of fate for the characters involved.
Le placard (2001)
not that "big laugh funny" but more of a "clever funny"
Le Placard is funny, but its humor is not the physical humor like some treasured American comedies. The plot revolves around a boring accountant, François (Auteuil) who is about to get fired. Everyone finds him to be a terrible drag, including his ex-wife (who he still loves) and his teenage son. Distraught and determined to jump off his balcony, his new neighbor stops him and helps devise a plan to keep his job. All François has to do is allow his co-workers and boss to believe he is "out of the closet." The plot itself is very humorous, but in a very clever way. It is not a film for audiences who expect comedies to revolve around outrageous situations that would normally never happen. Le Placard's humor lies in the silly, yet slightly understandable reactions of François' coworkers to his new identity. As a comedy, the film did its job and provides many laughs and snickers. The plot is universal in the sense that homosexuality is something people tend to tip toe around. Overall, Le Placard was a well made film and definitely a good French comedy to pick up.
2 Days in Paris (2007)
So it's not a Hollywood Action Movie, GET OVER IT!
Have audiences gotten to the point where only bad acting can keep their attention, as long as there is either violence, sex, or both? I'd say yes if you don't appreciate "2 Days In Paris." Certainly not a film for those who are not interested in a true reflection of a relationship and would rather see a fake reality play out on the screen. "2 Day in Paris" revolves around a French woman and her neurotic New York boyfriend on a 2 day stop over (from a trip to Venice) in Paris en route to New York. The two claim to love each other and have been together for two years, however events throughout their 2 day stay in Paris pushes them to reflect on their relationship. Jack (Goldberg) gets to know more about Marion (Delpy) as the two day stay progresses, as he meets her family, friends,and a slew of ex-lovers. Within two days, Marion and Jack's true colors are revealed as they try to figure out how well do they really know each other. This question is probably one of the most important questions about human relationships out there, yet we as people never ask it. This is where I feel that the film loses its audience. Although Delpy does a flawless job at the writing and directing of the film, the subject matter may fly over the heads of moviegoers who are not use to a film that examines relationships and emotions not of superheroes but of normal/regular people like us all. Because of that, it has lead to claims that the film is just a "talkie" and is "boring" which are certainly not the case. The only flaw (a very minor flaw though) of the film would probably be Delpy's ever common behavior of being a bit too preachy, which ends up getting written into the script. An example of this is Marion's tangent against a prejudice taxi driver, which she ends up fighting. The only reason why it is a flaw is because you lose a sense of Marion as a character, and instead you just see "Julie Delpy playing a role and saying what Julie Delpy believes/feels." Besides the select moments that she outshines her character, Marion, Delpy and Goldberg's performances were extremely good. Delpy's acting was so natural which in turn made the dialogue come out as something you would really hear in the real world. Adam Goldberg brought the comedy to the film and had a hilarious yet natural neurotic behavior that made his character so lovable. The film is a lot of dialogue, but refreshing and smart dialogue which was reminiscent of "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" (two other Delpy films). The heavy dialogue and deep reflection may not be everyone's cup of tea but still very important in our time where people have more of a relationship with their technology or with lovers/friends/family whom are a step away from being strangers.
Belle Epoque (1992)
cute, nothing more
I recently watched Belle Epoque, thinking it might be wonderful as it did win an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. I was a bit underwhelmed by the predictability and simplicity of the film. Maybe the conflict I had was that from the time the movie was filmed to now, the plot of a man falling for beautiful women and eventually falling for the good girl has been done so many times. Aside from predictability of the plot, some scenes in the film felt really out of place with the storyline (ex. a certain event at the wedding). At times the film was a bit preachy in it's ideas and in relation to the Franco era the film was set in and the Church. The only thing the film had going for it was the cutesy moments, the scenery, and the character of Violeta being a strong, independent woman during times when women were not really associated with those characteristics.
Les chansons d'amour (2007)
SO GOOD you forget that it's a musical!
*contains minor spoilers after dotted line
I was really reluctant to see another Honoré-Garrel pairing, as the last one I saw (Ma Mère) was seriously awful, to add to it, Les Chansons d'Amour is a musical. Not being a fan of musicals AT ALL, Honoré flawlessly intertwined the singing, the acting, and the plot so well that without the singing, the movie would be totally incomplete (unlike other musicals where it's the obvious song & dance numbers that take away from the film). Another feat of this film, is the new representation of romantic love, between men, something we rarely see in film (if not stereotypical portrayals of gay men). After this film, you leave not seeing it as another "brokeback mountain type gay man's film" but as love between people, regardless of gender. Not uncommon of Honoré or Garrel's work, Les Chansons d'Amour is wrapped around a somewhat "taboo" plot of threesomes and young homosexual love. The overall acting was great, especially Louis Garrel. Garrel plays Ismaël so amazingly charming that you quickly fall in love with him. You begin to feel his pain, to the point where you completely understand why he does everything he does in the film. Not to be out done, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, played Erwann so seductively that you almost forget how weirdly obsessive his character is. At times, I found myself teetering back and forth between rooting for Erwann to win his love and for him to fail miserably. The only reason why I gave this film a 9/10 is for minor reasons and annoyance with some of the side-plots of the film. With that said, Les Chansons d'Amour has flown under the radars for too long (completely overshadowed by Brokeback Mountain, not nearly as good as Les Chansons d'Amour) and it would be a bad move to miss out on this fine specimen of cinematic storytelling.
The dynamic between Ismaël and Erwann is so complicated and unorthodoxly beautiful,that at the end of the film you leave completely unsure if Ismaël really loves Erwann, but you don't really care because you know that for the present moment they need each other, maybe not forever but for the "now".
Ma mère (2004)
c'est affreux! BAD film, decent S&M soft core
Usually the French are much better at tackling "taboo" subjects, but the way this film was done was AWFUL. I appreciate the works of Louis Garrel and Isabelle Huppert, which was the only draw for me to watch Ma Mère. I hadn't read the book the film was adapted from, but the hype was too much to ignore so I watched it. BAD CHOICE. Louis Garrel was decent, as decent as he could be in such an awful film. Isabelle Huppert's performance was not her best, a lot of long pauses and dramatic painful-staring-off-into-the-world stares that just got annoying after awhile. The film did a bad job at establishing the characters. At some parts, I felt as if the characters did things for no reason without ever providing much background to why they act that way and other characters just felt really unnecessary to the story. You leave the film feeling like you don't understand any of the characters, why they do the things they do, even worse you leave not feeling a single emotion of sympathy or hate or ANYTHING for the characters. I also found myself lost at a few parts due to two reasons. 1.) The way the movie was filmed was very distracting, as if someone with a hand-held home video camera kept zooming in and out of the actors faces and 2.) some shots were very dark which made it difficult to understand what was going on (especially at the end). I felt like the film strayed a bit from actually telling an unique story, and became more about nude shots and unusual sex scenes to seem more "daring" and "edgy." I didn't feel like I took anything from the film, or the point of the film. If you want to watch a good Christophe Honoré film, I would advise you to skip this and pick up Les Chansons d'Amour starring Garrel as well.
La misma luna (2007)
don't let the politics keep you away from this beautiful film
Do not let the idea of illegal immigration keep you from this film. If you are strongly against illegal immigration, I still recommend watching the film. Overall, it was done extremely well. So even if you are against the characters crossing the border illegally, the movie still won't disappoint. It's extremely touching and the main story is just a son trying to get back to his mother, but faces many obstacles (the border, money issues, untrustworthy people) on the way. It's a lot better than a lot of the American movies that have been coming out weekly. However many people have complained about the reality of such events and the protocol at the Mexico-US border checkpoint, my only advice is to remember that it is a FILM! it never said it was a documentary, so aside from the several "unrealistic" events, the film is lovely and i do recommend it for everyone. if you want to see the more realistic ongoings, please watch Wetback, a documentary on undocumented immigrants from their homeland and crossing to America.
Across the Universe (2007)
HORRIBLE!!! I can't stress it enough!
(contains minor spoilers) horrible. horrible. horrible.
the move dragged on forever. there was basically no plot at all, and characters of the film (ie Prudence) popped in and out of the story, without real background or explanations to why the character did so. some scenes of the film had no real purpose, (ie the circus) and completely confused the story more. the film tried to be something more than it really was, a piece of rubbish, with the talk about Vietnam and Civil Rights during the 1960's. i felt like it tried to copy The Dreamers in a number of ways. the overacting, done by Evan Rachel Wood reminded me of Jennifer Love Hewitt in that Enrique Inglesias video. much of the film didn't answer questions like "how did Max get hurt?" "why did Prudence leave Ohio?" "Why did Prudence leave New York?" "How did Lucy know where to call Jude's father to get him out of Jail?" "How the hell did Jude return the USA after being deported?" the whole movie was unrealistic, confusing, tons of plot holes, not worth the hype, utter waste of time.
it's a shame though, we needed a good movie about Vietnam and the happenings during the 60's. i'd appreciate a movie like that more, than this trash that really had no story. i can't even tell you what the film was about if my life depended on it.