thu 25/07/2024

French cinema

Blu-ray: Army of Shadows

One of those rare films that leaves you speechless after the closing credits, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows (L'Armée des ombres) sounds on paper as if it shouldn’t work.Melville’s penultimate film (it was released in 1969), this World War 2...

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Blu-ray: Chocolat

Claire Denis’ 1988 debut is a sensual madeleine to her Cameroonian childhood, with its taste of termites on butter, sound of birdsong and insect chitter, and the camera’s slow turn and rise into vast vistas. It’s also a colonial reckoning, setting...

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The Taste of Things review - a gentle love letter to haute cuisine

Awarded the best director prize at Cannes last year, Anh Hung Tran has served up cinema’s latest hymn to gastronomy, The Taste of Things. Tasting (and smelling) what’s on the screen is obviously impossible, but even so Tran provides as total a...

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The Innocent review - muddled French crime comedy

Thespians and thieves have often pooled their resources in movies, notably in the work of Woody Allen. Since acting is basically a form of lying, goes the joke, actors dine at the same Runyon-esque table as people who nick stuff, and this French...

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Blu-ray: Earwig

Even more than David Lynch, to whom her work has been compared, director Lucile Hadžihalilović is a strange agent between this world and the dreamworld.From her debut feature, Innocence, an adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s symbolist novel about pre-...

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Mother and Son review - 20 years with an erratic ma

In French, this film is called Un petit frère (“A little brother”), and for once it may be that a film’s English title is an improvement on the original. The fitful and fragmented second feature by Léonor Serraille is about a multi-tasking migrant...

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Blu-ray: Le Mépris (Contempt)

It’s an odalisque to arouse envy in Titian, Boucher, Ingres, or Manet.Filtered amber, white, and blue lights successively bathe Brigitte Bardot, crowned by that golden cloud, as she asks Michel Piccoli, her co-star and screen husband in Jean-Luc...

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Full Time review - Laure Calamy as a driven single mother

Full Time opens in darkness. All we can hear is the sound of a sleeping woman breathing. It’s one of the few quiet moments in a film that follows Julie (Laure Calamy) as she scrambles to manage her life. Divorced with two young children, she...

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Blu-ray: Fill 'er Up With Super

This almost forgotten, naturalistic 1976 road movie lets four young Frenchmen off the leash in a cross-country trip from Lille to Cannes.Car salesman Klouk (Bernard Crombey) is forced by his oppressive boss to ditch a promised weekend with his wife...

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Pacifiction review - portending hell in paradise

Paranoia seeps into paradise in Albert Serra’s Pacifiction, a scathing critique of French colonialism on the Polynesian island of Tahiti. Acting on rumours that his overlords are about to resume nuclear testing in the region and fearing his...

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One Fine Morning review - Léa Seydoux stars in Mia Hanson-Løve's poignant love story

In the first scene of Mia Hanson-Løve’s wonderful One Fine Morning, Sandra (Léa Seydoux in a minimal, nuanced performance), is trying to visit her father, Georg (Pascal Greggory), in his Paris flat. But, stuck on the other side, he can’t find the...

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Jean-Luc Godard (1930-2022)

Paris, 16 March 1960 – and cinema ruptured. The first public screening of the 29-year-old Jean-Luc Godard’s debut feature, A Bout de Souffle, breathed life into an arthritic medium, announcing a new world of possibility.Its story, of a French petty...

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