Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Demain Tout Commence

Posted: April 10, 2020 in 2016, Dramedy, France

This is a bad movie.

The story is ridiculous. The jokes aren’t funny. The characters are unappealing. It’s a waste of time and talent.

A playboy receives a visit from one of this many girlfriends. She shows him his daughter, hands her over to him and leaves. In a search to find out where she lives he arrives in London, where he stays until his kids is about 7 or so and the mom suddenly turns up.

Nah. Skip it.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5078204

Camille – **

Posted: February 22, 2020 in 2019, Drama, France, War, XX

Camille is a young journalist who made it her ambition to be a war photographer. She is not that successful until she arrives in the Central African Republic, where a civil war is about the erupt between Muslims and Christians.

With little experience and strange looks from more established journalists she gets attached to some local students who allow her into their world.

When the violence erupts she has her first pictures published, which helps the French intervene in the country’s mess. The muslim Séléka, who – according to this movie – are raiding villages, murdering and raping christians, are stopped by the international presence. But this leads to christian Anti-Balaka gangs who take revenge at the muslim population. It’s confusing if you don’t know much about the civil war and this movie doesn’t do anything to help you understand it better. 

No. The focus is on this young woman. A girl really. But rather than giving some kind of insight on why she chose this path, we just get to observe her as she kinda takes sides with he Anti-Balaka. Just because she got connected to one of their new leaders, who she met as a student on her initial journey. 

The movie reminds you of Ghosts of Cité Soleil, where we also get to see how young European women feel the need to be part of some ‘exotic’ nation’s internal problems. We never get to learn why Camille prefers life in danger than staying at home with her family and friends. The town of Angers must be really boring for someone to want to risk getting killed almost every moment of the day. The movie ends with her saying she feels happier in the war zone. Maybe that’s true. We don’t know. She got killed. So we can only guess. 

It’s an interesting movie. It’s based on true fact, but fictionalized a bit as a lot needs to be assumed. The acting by the main actress is good. Not so much by the many extras. And as mentioned before, we don’t get to learn that much about Central African Republic at all. 

Tu viens, tu prends et tu parts. You come, you take and you leave.

This one line in the movie is quite powerful, because it is the truth. It’s said to Camille as a comparison to the French colonizers from not that long ago. It’s amazing how the woman can get the trust of these young people who are her age and live in a total different world. They may be as ambitious and as intelligent and also dream of leaving the place to look for happiness and recognition abroad. But they definitely don’t have the same opportunities. 

Somehow this movie could have been much more. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt9678892

 

 

The northern French city of Roubaix has a great art museum in a former Art Deco swimming pool and there’s a shopping outlet on former textile factory grounds. But apart from that, it’s a hellhole. To use Trump vocabulary.

So, it’s a surprise that a movie gets released set in this unappreciated part of France.

Not watching the trailer, not reading the synopsis and just going for the positive movie title will leave you horrified.

This is not a delightful movie. It’s dark. And depressing. And makes you never want to go to Roubaix at all. The city’s tourism office will not have approved.

No.

The great Roschdy Zem is a police officer in this marginalized town and leads a team that has to go out at night dealing with marginalized town acts of crime and despair. The first half of the movie just shows a series of things that can go wrong at night. Cars being set on fire, girls being raped, thefts, burglaries and arson. The second half of the movie focuses on two women being accused of having murdered their old age neighbor.

It’s a weird movie and the second half would have worked better as a stage play. The dialogues are well written and the acting is okay, but as a movie it totally falls flat.

Roschdy Zem cannot save his movie. But he is impressive. As always.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8359840

Mon dieu! My god! Why ????

Watched this sequel with my mom, who really enjoyed the first movie and was interested in what happens next to the catholic French family whose four daughters have each married interculturally.

There’s NO use watching this ‘comedy’ if you haven’t seen the first one. And there is NO use watching this ‘comedy’ if you want to laugh at all.

The set up is kind of okay. Once all four daughters got married, the parents decide to visit the countries of each of their sons-in-laws. Now, this would have been a fun movie maybe. But no, they return after 5 minutes in the movie and learn that each of their kids want to leave France! So, they want to make sure they can convince their kids of staying in their beloved country.

It’s simplistic patriotic bullshit. Sugarcoated as being tolerant towards other cultures. Irony and Sarcasm just aren’t a French thing. And, just like in the first movie, every jokes is EXPLAINED! How unfunny is that????????

The title says: whatever did we do (again) to God (to deserve this)…. exactly.

The first movie made 150 million euro worldwide. (without a release in the US!)  This one made 70 million or so. Like my mom says: they can continue making movies of this family.

My God! Mon Dieu!

www.imdb.com/title/tt6556670

Grâce A Dieu – ***

Posted: December 12, 2019 in 2018, Drama, France, XXX

Francois Ozon is a remarkable director. He is one of the more versatile directors out there and often excels. His latest movie tackles a pedophile (better formulated: pedosexual) case in the diocese of Lyon. The movie is setup really well. Maybe it’s a spoiler to mention it, even though it has nothing to do with the story, but it’s quite fascinating to watch this drama as a three acts, referring to three main characters who are each introduced in a new act. All of them have one thing in common: they were abused by a priest who joined them during scouts camps. When one of them, now a father of five, realizes that the priest is still working with kids, he wants to confront him. This leads to a complaint, which leads to an investigation, which leads to contacting an other victim, which leads to more complaints, which leads to the founding of an victim organization, which leads to… etc…

It’s very well acted (by every single person in the cast) and incredibly well told. The characterization is excellent. You don’t get everything explained, which leads to a weird tension, but makes sense. Quite a remarkable feat. It’s a difficult topic and even though the actual story isn’t spectacular or complicated, it’s really well told with lots of intimate acting and images in an exceptionally non-judgemental way. Maybe, the best movie of 2019.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8095860

Mon Frère – **(*)

Posted: August 19, 2019 in 2019, France, Social Drama, XX1/2

French cinema dares to put unprofessional actors in front of the camera and it almost always works. Why doesn’t Hollywood take these risks? Because the actor’s guild would complain? Who knows. Somehow in France, established actors praise the work of debutants and don’t mind sharing the screen with them in supporting parts.

However, this time the lead actor may not be nominated for best newcomer at next year’s César ceremony as he’s gotten himself in a bit of a shitty mess earlier this year. Accused of manslaughter, he’s imprisoned as we speak. So, it’s quite ironic that he’s playing a kid that’s placed in a centre for young delinquents, accused of having killed his father.

MHD is a young French rapper, who even performed at Coachella last year (the first French rapper to ever do so). You may have never heard of him, but he’s one of those successful artists on streaming sites around the world, mixing trap with african sounds. He’s doing a great job in this movie. Clearly new to the acting game, he does deliver. His performance is honest and real and it’s quite brave to play a young delinquent of about 18 years old, when in fact you are a 25 year old rap star. But he’s not the only star. A lot of the fellow delinquents in the movie do an excellent job as well. Sure, their characters are stereotypical and a bit too much at times. Just like the actors who play the staff of the juvenile detention centre. But in the end it’s an intriguing movie.

It starts off as a semi-documentary about life in one of those centers, but then focuses quite fast on two young adults, hating each others’ guts at first, but then forming an alliance towards the end. Towards the end it loses its seriousness and realism and that’s a bit of a disappointment.

It sure has it flaws, but it’s worth the watch. It’s in movie theaters in France, but on Netflix anywhere else.

www.imdb.com/title/tt9095526/

 

Divines – *(*)

Posted: March 1, 2019 in 2016, Dramedy, France, X1/2

Hm.

This violent look at teenage girls in the Parisian ghetto choosing a life of crime over, well, the alternative, is over the top.

It’s not the new La Haine. It’s not the new Bande De Filles. It’s just not as good as reviews say it is. It’s an entertaining, sensational debut. Sure. And okay, the two actresses are a joy to watch and deservedly won the César for best newcomer and best supporting actress. And yes, there are some very good scenes in it (the ferrari dream sequence for instance). But because it’s so over the top, all realism is gone and so is all empathy for the characters and their situations.

But it’s refreshing to see girls kick ass and run the show. You’ve got balls becomes You’ve got clitoris. The drug dealing boss surrounds herself with half naked men. Etc… they could have taken that over the top as well.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4730986

Photo De Famille – **

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, Dramedy, France, XX

Flight movie #4

Two sisters and a brother start seeing a lot of each other when their grandfather passes away and their senile grandmother needs to be taken care of. They are all bizarre characters and thus intriguing for the viewer. Vanessa Paradis does a fine job as an overemotional single mother working as one of those living sculptures along the Seine, embarrassing her son in doing so. Camille Cottin is excellent as an energetic street worker who desperately wants a child. And Pierre Deladonchamps is good as the young brother, who works in a game developing company, but is suicidal and out of touch with the real world. This dysfunctional family has more interesting characters. The divorced parents for instance and the senile grand mother.

It’s a fun movie. It has weird humor. Maybe a bit un-french even. The editing is good; Some scenes are really short but on point. The storytelling works well in that not everything is told and explained. The short dialogues or shots are just very clear. Maybe it’s all a bit superficial and absurd, but it’s entertaining.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6665904

Chacun Pour Tous – **

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, Dramedy, France, Sportsdrama, X1/2

Flight movie #3

Several members of the basketball team that is selected to represent France at the Special Olympics in Sydney quit a few months before the actual games. The coach doesn’t want to lose his license and comes up with a terrible plan. The team is supposed to be existing of players with a mental disability (more specific: with an IQ less than 70), but he recruits several street players who are just in it for the money. All they have to do is pretend to be mentally disable and keep the fraud a secret.

It’s a terrible scam. Not only is it immoral, it’s also not well prepared at all. These new players can’t keep the secret of course and the press starts asking questions when the team performs really well.

The movie is based on true events. It was the Spanish team who only had two disabled people in the group. And they ended up winning the competition. A big scandal of course. Made into an okay and entertaining movie.

The makers really casted the actors well. It’s very easy to sympathize with these frauds. Some do it for the money, some for the fame, some just because they have nothing better to do. Only one is really troubled with the decision and feels guilty along the way. It’s very cliché, but the story focuses also about the team spirit and the fact that disabled and ‘normal’ people can work together just fine if they have the same goal.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8826496

 

 

Le Grand Bain – *(*)

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, France, Social Drama, X1/2

Flight movie #1

Both a hit at the box office and with the critics, this French dramedy disappoints. A bunch of male losers meet weekly for a practice of synchronised swimming. They pretty much suck at what they do, but it gives them some kind of satisfaction. Each one of them has their issues. The principle character, who just joined the team, has been at home with a depression for more than two years. He fits in perfectly and soon motivates the group to participate in an international competition.

It’s quite a tough viewing. There is little comedy. And the characters just aren’t intriguing or pleasant. Nor are the actors. Jean Hughes Anglade delivers a good performance, but others like Guillaume Canet aren’t remarkable at all. It’s also a silly story. It’s pretty unrealistic that they can enter an international competition without being part of a national organisation or so. Suddenly they are Team France and are off to Norway to compete with trained teams from around the world.

Not impressed.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7476116