ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION with director Jeanne Labrune and actor Richard Debuisne
A very French interpretation of Ruth Rendell's novel A Tree of Hands. A tightly edited intersection of three women — mothers — and their sons, both living and dead. As these characters cross class boundaries with their obsessions and wounds, a "mad logic" takes on the appearance of "sanity." The three actresses playing the mothers jointly won the Best Actress award at the Montreal Film Festival.
You go out to run a simple errand, like buying a roll of plastic, and look what can happen. In this film, starring Nathalie Baye and Jean-Pierre Darroussin, it causes a circle of friends to spin out of control. Some break up, others break down, but at the same time something new is born. An accurate and amusing depiction of the chaos of modern day life in Paris, and the first in a triptych of "fantaisies," of which C'est le bouquet! is number two.
An early morning phone call from a forgotten ex-lover leads Catherine and her husband Raphael from one tumultuous event to another, causing him to lose his job and her, almost, to lose her mind. A very French satirical comedy, redolent of Keaton and Tati, but also of Musset and Marivaux, and with a tragic undertone at the end supplied by Rossini, reminding us that roses do not last forever.
French director Olivier Assayas departs from his usual dramas with Demonlover, a wild film about corporate intrigue, hardcore sex Internet sites, and Japanese animé. Wealthy business man Henri-Pierre Volf (Jean-Baptise Malartre) assigns Diane de Monx (Connie Nielson) to purchase TokyoAnime, a company at the forefront of three-dimensional pornography, after his former assistant, Karen (Dominique Reymond), is kidnapped. Diane, however, is actually a spy for a different company. Standing in her way is another headstrong business woman (Gina Gershon), and Diane's assistant, Elise (Oscar nominee Chloe Sevigny) who questions her boss' morality. Demonlover was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. — Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide
THE GLEANERS AND I: TWO YEARS LATER
A return to the subject from two years earlier, this work moves beyond a simple accounting of various players at a later time. In some ways a discourse on the media's and the public's craze over The Gleaners and I.
Four years ago director Benguigui came to the Festival to present her epic documentary Memoires d'immigrés. In Benguigui's most recent film she returns to an examination of Algerian immigrants in France this time using the narrative form. An intense, engrossing work that overcomes clichés.
LE CHIGNON D'OLGA
Julien and Emma's mother died almost a year ago. Both still live in the house where they grew up, in a small town in the middle of France, along with their father, Gilles. As summer draws to a close, all three are dealing with their grief in their own private way. In this subtle, funny, moving film, there is not one false note. A remarkable achievement by Jérôme Bonnell, who wrote and directed it when he was 23.
MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT
He who annually churns out a melodrama or mystery that spotlights the foibles, follies, faults of the bourgeoisie. He who has made previous films with Huppert (La Cermeonie). He who can make good films (Les Cousins, for one). He has made a film based upon Charlotte Armstrong's novel The Chocolate Web.
Lead actress Marie-Eve Bertrand's strong performance marks this 19th Century ghost story set in French Canada. When Yvonne's young romance is thwarted by her sister, she heads to the woods in search of a supernatural solution....
MY CAMERA AND ME
All Max has ever wanted to do is shoot God and girls and himself (with his camera, of course). Then he falls in love with a young blind woman named Lucie who only thinks of shooting him. A film about the mania of home movie-making, in this day of digitalia — what it's really about and where it can lead, God forbid! According to the screenwriter and director, this is not about movies, but about the power of images and memory.
A sensual and sumptuous "woman's picture" which is exhilarating in both style and theme. A curious cross between Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows and Golden Age Egyptian musicals from the 40's and 50's.
Cinephile warhorse Tavernier has made a film that has generated controversy in Europe. A "film of quality" which explores the relations of Vichy filmmakers and civil servants with the Nazis it has been labeled "revisionist" and "reactionary." Also Tavernier gives us his take on Cahiers du Cinema and the Nouvelle Vague.
SAME PLAYER, SHOOT AGAIN
Ten-year-old, freckle-faced Léon lives with his mother but continues to enjoy a close relationship with his father – so close that during an outing at the beach he senses the presence of a secret that his father is dying to tell him but doesn't know how. A short film that includes some striking visuals and is all the more eloquent because of all that's left unsaid.
SI JE T'AIME, PRENDS GARDE À TOI
In this movie it's the woman who has all the money and power, and the man is naked much more often than she is. Unfortunately, it drives this macho monster even crazier than he already was. Can the strength of their passion change him, and/or save her? A film that reveals a darker side of Jeanne Labrune, before she turned to her "fantaisies" and which poses some deeply troubling questions in this age of patent answers.
As with earlier Dardenne films, La Promesse and Rosetta, claustrophobic, hand-held camera work explores the lower classes. Gritty realism and authenticity. While daringly minimal, the Dardennes show the power of cinema.
TO BE AND TO HAVE
An evocative — rather than didactic — excursus into education at a rural single-class school in which children from kindergarten through the primary grades reap from and struggle through the learning process. As with his earlier film, Le Pays des sourds, which showed at the Festival three years ago, Philibert has a remarkable genius for establishing authentic exchanges with people of diverse abilities and experience.
WAITING FOR HAPPINESS
Sissako's first feature film, La Vie sur terre, wowed audiences at the Festival two years ago; his films are exquisite meditations on time — and waiting — and displacement. Again, using non-actors in a pleasurably non-linear narrative, Sissako has crafted a powerful and poignant work. Can one go home again?