Archive for the ‘France’ Category

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

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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

When it comes to documentaries that expose almost extinct cultures, this one needs a recommendation.

Sure, it’s a bit voyeuristic and sure, it’s all planned and maybe even scripted, but this episode of a French tv series that explores the ‘unknown world’ is fascinating. It has a very positive vibe, the mutual interest of the members of the tribe and the French visitors is genuine and it’s shot really well. We never get to see the camera and sound man. Nor do we know how big the crew is. But they do a great job. The use of drones is extraordinary. The aerial views are fascinating. But the close-ups as well. The tribes people are very photogenic and not camera-shy at all. We don’t get to see the translator either, so it really feels like the conversations happened in a very easy and simple way.

Not even halfway through this documentary you have lots of empathy for the main characters. There’s the documentary maker who is the reserved, observant, relaxing leader. There’s the uncomfortable celebrity who is confused and scared, but very respectful and curious about this different culture. He’s a comedian, famous in France, unknown elsewhere. Apparently his experience was much harder than what we get to see. But it’s easy to imagine his discomfort. We have two members of the tribe who steal the show. A short guy who is very clever and interested, intrigued in learning about our culture. And a tall guy who looks like an androgen diva, but is extremely confident.

By the end of the documentary, you get as emotional as these four people who need to say goodbye. It’s easy to condemn these documentaries. But this really feels like it’s done with respect. A hundred years from now all these culture will be gone. So they need to be documented. Even if it means they get introduced to our culture. They aren’t naive and stupid. This is probably not the only tv team they’ve encountered. Maybe they over-exaggerate showing their traditional ways of life. Maybe it’s real. That doesn’t matter.

When you visit Swaziland, the guys and girls who come and perform a ‘traditional’ show all arrive on their motorbikes with jeans and change into native clothes. That’s how it is in 2018. But this is a really good episode and it makes you want to watch all the other episodes of the show.

And the soundtrack is great with songs by Belgian artists like Balthazar, Oscar And The Wolf and Girls In Hawaii. A bit bizarre to hear them in this exotic landscape, but still cool.

IT’s online on youtube. Check it out if you understand French.

Django – (*)

Posted: December 19, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Drama, France, Holocaust, Musical

Crap movie #1

There aren’t many movies dealing about the deportation of Roma & Sinti during the Second World War, so somehow, someone thought it would be great to use the story of the most famous Sinti musician, jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, as a tool to make an audience aware of this horrendous fact.

Okay, it’s understandable. Django Reinhardt is probably the only known Sinti in the world. But still, the story shown in this movie is not correct. He lived in France during the war and was quite successful, even when Paris was occupied by the nazis. In fact, there were some nazi officers who liked his music (when gypsy music and jazz were banned by the nazis).  He tried to escape, yes, but never managed to leave the country. So, this story is fictional! Oops. Spoiler. In this movie, Django leaves Paris, with the help of a weird character that is not only one of his lovers, but also works for the resistance and prostitutes herself to the nazis. He ends up near the Lake of Geneva and waits for a possible escape, while a nearby gypsy camp is under the threat of being deported.

This movie doesn’t work. The musical scenes are too long and not captivating at all. We don’t really get to learn anything about this jazz legend. All the side characters don’t really matter at all. The nazis are portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The editing is bad. There’s no drama, no tension, no emotion. It’s bland.

Here you have a jazz artist who is successful in a town that is occupied by people who hate his kind and the music he plays. Yet, he remains successful and is left alone. Now that’s a story worth telling. Not his fictional escape to Switzerland.

Another ‘famous’ Sinti is Marianne Rosenberg, a singer who’s only popular in Germany. Her father survived the death camps, so maybe that story would have more fascinating and a better source to make a Schindler’s List for the Romani people.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6247936

A Jewish girl has been in lesbian relationship for about 3 years, but hasn’t come out yet to her conservative parents, who already have to deal with a homosexual son and his non-Jewish boyfriend. The chef of the local restaurant that she loves to go eat at with her colleague invites her to a Senegalese party where she’s having a blast, away from her lesbian partner and her conservative parents. But then the inevitable happens: she falls for the chef, a black muslim. Now what?

As far as French comedies are concerned this is quite a funny take on the multicultural and pluralistic society we live in. However, it’s tackling too many issues at once and in the end doesn’t tackle any of them at all. The movie isn’t politically correct (which is great), but it’s also quite superficial and focuses a lot on stereotypical behavior.

Sure, the dilemma of the main character (marrying her lesbian partner or starting an affair with a black muslim) is confusing, but you can always say it’s a french movie. This is not Hollywood. If you’re easily offended about the representation of jewish people, muslims, blacks, lesbians, gays, racists, anti-Semites, then skip this one.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6290418