Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Long Distance Flight Movie #6

Heard people around me laugh while watching Raid Dingue, a French comedy by the guy who made Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis. Not sure why they laughed so much. Yes, it’s a comedy. But the jokes lack subtilty. And are very repetitive. And most of them don’t work. The daughter of the minister of interior has one ambition: to become a member of the national special force unit. She’s stupid though and clumsy, tactless and stubborn. But she is the daughter of a minister and gets admitted to the boot camp. She’s assigned to an experienced officer who wants to get rid of her as soon as possible. Of course, they end up liking each other. And she will turn out not to be that clumsy and stupid. But before that happens, there’s a seemingly endless series of scenes alternating from very bad to kind of funny. Sure, there are some laugh out loud moments, but unfortunately they are rare.


La Fille De Monaco – *

Posted: July 30, 2017 in 2008, Drama, France, Romance, Thriller, X

A lawyer receives protection from a body guard, sent by the son of his client in a murder case. It takes a while, but after a few days there is a connection between both men who like each other’s company.  And just when you think the story will evolve into a gay romantic adventure in Monte Carlo, a young fresh actress appears on screen who steals the heart of everyone. She has her eye set on the lawyer, but dated the bodyguard in the past…

Intriguing plot synopsis.

Poor execution.

Roschdy Zem (the bodyguard) is quite impressive, as always, but he looks lost in the bizarre dialogues and the crazy story that leads to nothing good at all. This was probably set up as a mix between a romantic comedy and crime thriller, but there’s is no romance, no comedy, no crime and no thrilling element….


Patients is a quite a unique movie experience about a young man who is paralyzed after a silly diving incident in the swimming pool and tries to live with the fact that he’ll never be a professional basketball player or physical trainer anymore . The synopsis may not be all that appealing, but go see it anyways. It’s really well done.What makes the experience great (and appealing for a different kind of crowd that usually watches ‘disease of the week’ movies) is the storytelling. It’s not politically correct, it’s not sensitive, it’s not overdramatizing… It’s just very real. It also has a lot of humor as well (even though the references and jokes get lost in translation). And it’s filled with great tracks ranging from modern instrumental tunes to heartfelt rap.  Because of its multicultural cast, it may appeal to an audience that normally can’t relate to stories of disabled people. Just because in general they are always white. The main character in this movie is also white, but the rehabilitation centre that he stays at is very bbb (beur black blanc – north african, black, white). It’s sad that anno 2017 you notice this difference to other movies about disabled characters. But it makes it intriguing as well. The acting is very good. Especially by Pablo Pauly in the lead role. The topic is delivered in the most truthful way. The situations are real. The directing is brilliant. There are quite some original shots. The scenes are edited extremely well, especially during the musical intervals. In fact, this is great cinema. A must.

Based on an autographical book from the seventies, Un Sac De Billes tells the story of the Jewish family Joffo (and in particular the youngest sons Joseph and Maurice) during the Second World War. The family has a popular barber shop in occupied Paris and even has German officers as clients. But when Jewish people need to start wearing a yellow badge, the family decides to flee to unoccupied southern France. Not as one family, but split up. It’s quite a journey, but they make it to Nice, which is in the unoccupied zone and under surveillance of the more moderate Italians soldiers. Until Mussolini is disposed and the nazis come marching in and the family has to flee again.

This classical tearjerker is made for kids. They are the central characters and all focus is on them. It’s adventurous at times and there are some funny scenes too. But it also has some harsh moments that may not be suitable for kids (there is an execution by firing squad f.i.). The movie theatre was filled with adults though, a lot of seniors even. And almost everyone was sobbing. It’s not as good as Au Revoir Les Enfants, but it’s worth the watch. The period setting is praiseworthy and it’s not all that moralizing and pretty factual. The kids’ performances are good. But it’s in the supporting roles dat you see talented actors like Patrick Bruel or Christian Clavier shine.

Elle – ***

Posted: January 10, 2017 in 2016, France, Revenge, Satire, Thriller, XXX
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Elle is a French comedy thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Isabelle Huppert and it’s exactly what you think it will be. It’s very French, it’s very Verhoeven en it’s very Huppert. It’s La Pianiste meets Basic Instinct set in bourgeois Paris.

It surprisingly won two Golden Globes last night, so why longer postpone watching it? It’s been out on dvd for quite some time now and Moonlight or La La Land are only released end of January over here in Europe.

It’s fun! It’s unique! It’s hilarious at times, absurd at other moments, but most of all very subversive. The story fucks with your mind in the most perverted way.

A woman gets raped repeatedly and doesn’t want to report it to the police. From the very first scenes it’s clear this isn’t going to be anything like other rape victim stories. On the contrary. It’s very clear that this woman seems to get a kick out of being raped. And she has her own way of taking revenge.

It’s a really cool movie. Isabelle Huppert is amazing and her character is fascinating. Verhoeven is taking the ‘crazy protagonist’ to a totally different level, which hasn’t been explored that much or not at all. The humor is pitch black and works perfectly. The thrills are a bit of a disappointment and stop being relevant to the story after a while. However, the way Verhoeven introduces the possible attackers is clever: it can be almost anyone from the most obvious colleague who hates her guts to the least likely sweet ex husband… Hey the movie gets that perverted that you start thinking she got raped by her son! Yeah. That’s how fucked up your brain starts to work.

But in the end. It’s entertainment. It’s how Tarantino would make movies if he had grown up in Europe.

Does it deserve the two Golden Globes? Well… it deserves the extra attention it can get.

ps: the trailer gives a wrong impression about the movie’s colour

There’s something really charming about the story of Seyolo Zantoko, who decided to become the general practitioner of a rural town in northern France back in the late seventies. Graduated from the university of Lille, he didn’t care about returning to his troublesome home country Zaire and preferred to stay in France. However, being the only black person (and having the only black family) in a very conservative community wasn’t all that easy. Until of course, times change and people become more accepting.

The story is pretty straightforward, predicable and simple. But it’s a great tale.

A few years ago, rapper Kamini Zantoko scored a hit with a silly rap song about growing up as the only black guy in a small rural village. (see below) Someone asked him to write a script about his youth, which he did and with some help of others it has now turned into an entertaining movie with some drama and a lot of humor. It’s an homage to his father, who decided to take the risk (and the opportunity) to integrate in unknown territory for blacks.

It’s a great example of the many French dramedies that mix the multicultural society with la France provonde. Maybe it’s something Hollywood should start focus on. Try and see it with subtitles because the accents are quite difficult to understand (the African accent sounds perfect compared to the rural accent of the other characters).

Chocolat – **(*)

Posted: November 9, 2016 in 2016, Drama, Dramedy, France, Historical, XX1/2

Roschdy Zem’s previous movie Bodybuilder was flawed by a boring and non-intriguing story, bad acting and an uneven balance between drama and comedy. Chocolat is quite the opposite. It’s still flawed though, but at least it’s not mediocre. 

The movie title refers to a black entertainer who became quite a succesful artist in Paris during the Belle Epoque, a decade before the outbreak of World War I, when people like Toulouse Lautrec were creating billboards for all kinds of events and Paris hosted world exhibitions showing cultures from all over the world.

The man really existed. His name was Rafael Padilla and he was a former slave from Cuba who ended up working in a French circus and who eventually made it to the main circus theatre of Paris as a clown. So, it’s a true story, which makes it even more intriguing. The first black entertainer in France!

To play the character, Roschdy Zem chose the most popular black actor of the moment: Omar Sy. It’s a good choice, especially if you think about the similarities between both entertainers. They are both really popular, but nobody really takes them seriously. The big difference however, is that ‘Chocolat’ (the artist name of Rafael Padilla) could never prove  that he had some talent as a dramatic actor and Omar Sy makes it very clear: give him a dramatic part and he’ll be even more popular. Equally as good is James Thierréé as the clown who helped Chocolat become so beloved. He’s a mysterious and sad character with doule standards, who intrigues until the very end.

It’s a straight foward chronologically linear biopic which is loosely based on true events. A lot of what you see is fictional and several twists were added for dramatic purposes. But it works. This is not the kind of period piece where all the historical details have to be accurate. It’s a movie about an entertainer that needs to be entertaining. And succeeeds.