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Le goût des autres (2000)
I found a remarkable naturality in this film. Acting and direction are superb. Agnès Jaoui is really wonderful both as an actress and as director
I had never seen in my life a film more natural than this one. People act as in real life and despite this the film is not boring at all.
There are subtle details indicating all kind of emotions: fear, depression, anxiety, joy, resignation.
A country which counts with decisively overacting actors like Gérard Depardieu (I never could support him except in Jean de Florette), Jean-Paul Belmondo and Robert Hossein or others like Michel Serrault, Lino Ventura and even Alain Delon who tend to overaction combined which unnatural and studied unexpressivness, had given us two remarkably natural performances in two recent films, namely, Human Resources and this one.
In Human Resources the end of the film is very poor. In The taste of others the end is more emotive though not completely convincing.
The script is good, but the story in itself is not too much relevant. If this would not have been the case I think this film should be among the best films in history.
I loved the work of Agnès Jaoui both as actress and as director. She is very young and undoubtly brilliant. I hope to see many excellent films of her in the future.
I recommend this film for all those who like good acting and direction even when the story is not of prime level.
In my opinion, in "Amistad" Anthony Hopkins shows his best ever acting performance.
I liked this film. It has for my standards at least 8 points out of 10. Thus I disagree with AMG rating giving it only 5 points.
But the most remarkable thing in this film is the outstanding characterization of former President John Quincy Adams performed by Anthony Hopkins.
In fact, I don´t think that Anthony Hopkins is a very good actor. Besides in "Amistad" I only liked his acting in "Howards End", not even in the famous "The Remains of the Day" nor "The Silence of the Lambs", as I think that in both films he overacted too much. It is true that Hannibal Lecter could only be characterized by overacting, but this doesn´t change my appreciation.
In "Amistad" he transmits very soberly and properly the excentric personality of the former President. Remarkable is his simple answer to Cinque (Djimon Hounsou has here also a very good acting performance)when this one asks "Which words did you use to convince them?" He simply says "Yours" as only John Quincy Adams in the whole world could have said it.
Naturally, the search of justice, the fight against slavery and other human values are very important and they contribute - as well as the historical interest of this international affair - to my suggestion that the film is surely worth seeing.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Perhaps it is technically the most perfect film ever made
It is astonishing that a film made in 1939 should be considered technically the best ever made film.
But technology has not progressed so much in the sense this film shines.
The shots are splendid, the action is magnificent, the pictures are natural and complete, people are filmed just closely as the script requires, actors direction is wonderful.
It would have been, in my opinion, the best ever made film if the sequence of emotive scenes would have been more solid and acting would have been perfect instead of almost perfect. I think that there are five films that I could put over this one, for different reasons, mainly due to better scripts, perfect acting or to originality: Fred Zinnemann´s "A Man for all Seasons", Léo Joannon´s "Le Defroqué", Serguei Bondarchuk´s "War and Peace", André Cayatte´s "La vie conjugale" and David Lean´s "Lawrence of Arabia". But only the last one and in a restricted sense - due to its impressive war scenes - the russian "War and Peace" could compete technically with "Gone with the Wind".
The famous burning of Atlanta is the best shot ever made. I could say absolutely insuperable.
Direction is very good, though I have learned that Victor Flemming was not the main responsible for it as he was not the only director hired by producer David O. Selznick and that direction was more in the hands of the latter than in anyone´s else.
Acting is not outstanding but I could say very good. Personally I liked the acting performances of secondary actors Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard more than the supposed to be fascinating Clark Gable´s and awarded Vivien Leigh´s and Hattie McDaniel´s performances.
Even with such minor limitations "Gone with the Wind" is a masterpiece and the fact that it belongs to 1939 is really incredible.
In 1964 Peter O´Toole was the only actor in my opinion that could represent exactly the character of Jean Anouilh´s King Henry II.
In 1963 I went to the theater in Buenos Aires to see the magnificent play of Jean Anouilh "Becket or the honor of God".
I loved it very much. In fact, I saw it thrice within a couple of months. But nevertheless I felt disappointed with the outcome of the portrait of King Henry II, performed by Lautaro Murua, the best actor in Argentina - actually he was born in Chile - in the last fifty years.
It was not because the performance was bad. It was excellent. But Murua only could transmit the coarse side of Henry´s personality, not his noble side. He did not have the physique du role.
I must say that I liked his performance very much more than Duilio Marzio´s characterization of Thomas Becket. Marzio is not a bad actor, but representing Becket is a very difficult task, as we should see later.
After my third view of the play, I guessed it might come soon as a movie. Who should be King Henry was my first wonder. Immediately I choose for myself a young actor who played the main role in David Lean´s "Lawrence of Arabia" and just have acted in a minor film, namely "Lord Jim".
I was delighted when before a year later the film was released precisely with Peter O´Toole in the role of the King. The version was excellent, though again I had to complain about the characterization of Tomas Becket, this time by Richard Burton. I think it was the only Burton´s poor performance throughout his remarkable career.
The fact is that Anouilh´s Thomas Becket is an intellectual youngster full of mannerisms, intending to be a cynical play boy and a smart chancellor at the same time and later he has to become an energic and virtuous archbishop. The script leads dangerously to fall either into an overacting and almost effeminate characterization (Marzio) or to inexpressive acting (Burton) in order to avoid it.
I must say that my choice for Thomas Becket was the American actor George Peppard, but I was not very sure about it, mainly because Peppard was not British. Nevertheless I don´t think that his characterization would have been very much better than the one Richard Burton finally performed. Even today I wonder if there is an actor capable of showing the exact personality of this particular Thomas Becket. Perhaps Daniel Day-Lewis, as he is so versatile, but I´m not quite sure.
Instead, Peter O´Toole´s characterization was really outstanding. His performance was so good as in "Lawrence" and later on in "Good bye Mr. Chips" and again as King Henry II in "Lion in winter". And he was noble and coarse at the same time. Wonderful choice!
Another comment I want to add is that - as far as I know - "Becket" has not been seen again in Argentina since 1964, nor in TV nor in videos. I can hardly imagine that there does not exist a video of this excellent and valuable film.
Le défroqué (1954)
"Le défroqué" is a very rare jewel in film history, though most of its magnificence is due to the best acting performance I ever had seen in my life, that of Pierre Fresnay, even bett
It is unusual to see a film where the performance of a single actor is so good that one can feel that the film would be of little interest, if any, without his presence.
Despite a not outstanding direction - in fact, there are many scenes that seem to have been shooted too quickly and carelessly -, a seemingly low budget, a strange plot about a man who wants to take the place of a defrocked priest and another week points, the presence of Pierre Fresnay is so impressive that one gets shocked from the very begining to the terrible end.
I have never seen nor can iomagine for future a better performance, even Paul Scofield acting in "A man for all seasons".
Actually the end could be considered even ridiculous if Fresnay were not playing the transtorned priest who returns to Church by performing a crime.
"Je suis Maurice Morand, prètre catholique" ("I am Maurice Morand, a catholic priest")is said with such a brilliancy that one may forget the madness that conducted to that end.
The other impressive thing this film has is a single scene in wich Morand - who despite being a defrocked one is stil a priest - consacrates in a cabaret a huge amount of vine turning it into Christ´s blood.
Gérard - the man that wants to return Morand to the Church or replace him by himself - has to drink it if he doesn´t want to leave it in the cabaret. He does so in mid of cheers and applauses from people who think that he is simply drinking three of four litters of vine.
In next scene, the dialoque between Morand and a garbage collector is also remarkable. "Do you carry away men too?" asks Morand, who hates himself for what he has just done. "That would be too much work" is the smart answer.
The rest of the film is not worth commenting but it is certainly worth seeing due to the very strong and strangely emotive atmosphere created all the time.
I think that "Le défroqué" is a very strange film, but has to be seen by all viewers - if the are good catholiques it is mandatory - because it is a very rare jewell in film history.
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Fred Zinemann´s "A man for all seasons" could be considered the best ever made film
It is difficult to choose the best ever made film. One does not know which are the definite parameters for making a choice. The plot, the director´s work, the acting, the emotives scenes?
The outstanding acting of Paul Scofield (the second best ever I saw in my life, the best being Pierre Fresnay in Leo Joannon´s "Le defroqué", also a film with a religious plot), the emotive scenes between Scofield and his daughter played by Susanah York, the remarkable script based on Robert Bolt´s play are the main reasons for my choice.
This film is not the exact transcription of Bolt´s masterpiece. Later Charlton Heston did this and I like his outcome very much, but I prefer the Zinemann´s work.
I think that everything in this film is outstanding. Though not technically so perfect as "Gone with the wind" or "Laurence of Arabia", it is the most emotive and delightful film I ever saw, so I consider it the best.