The other thing I did in March was go to a few films showing in the French Film Festival. I’ve rather decided not to go to these little mini festivals that are held outside the Melbourne International Film Festival. That’s because the likelihood of finding yourself at a dud movie is much higher than at MIFF. And so it proved! But quality first. The best film I saw, and I think it is getting a general release, was Aurora. Directed by a woman, Blandine Lenoir, it was a film about women, lots of women, at different ages, their relationships with each other, mothers and daughters, friends, colleagues. Its about women’s lives, and how they manage as best they can in a pretty hostile world. There’s a great script, some really witty dialogue and all of it true to life. Lots of fun about menopause and the expectations placed on older women. It’s all held together really by a wonderful lead performance by Agnes Jaoui who also co-wrote the script. She’s mesmerising. You could watch her all day. All of the performances are great. I was pleased to see Thibault de Montalembert from Call My Agent a wonderful French sit-com on Netflix. Here’s the trailer.
The next best film was Redoubtable directed by Michel Hazanavicius. It’s a biopic of French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard and he (Godard) comes out of it as a right creep. It’s about a very short period in his life during the 1968 French riots. The film works because of the lead performances from Louis Garrel as Godard and Stacy Martin who plays his wife and onetime muse, Anne Wiazemsky. It’s based on her (Wiazemsky’s) book And here she gets what must surely be satisfactory revenge on his general pig headedness. Stacy Martin bears an uncanny resemblance to a friend of mine (Eliana are you reading this? Have a look). Godard also played a nasty part in the lovely Agnes Varda film Places Faces. So this account of his character rang true to me! Here’s the trailer.
I quite liked Barbara. It’s another biopic about a treasured French figure, the mononymous chanteuse Barbara. It’s directed by the actor Mathieu Amaric who I like but who I’ve seen in some shockers. He directed this as well as starring in it, as a director. His ex wife plays Barbara. It was an interesting film. It includes historic footage of the real Barbara in performance. She was obviously BIG in France. I liked the music which was just as well, because there’s a lot of it. It went over the top a bit at times. But overall okay. Here’s the trailer.
I also saw Mrs Hyde. Only because Isabelle Huppert stars in it and I knew it was probably mad. Which it was. It didn’t draw the connection between Mrs Hyde and the Jekyll character she became after being struck by lightning. Quite silly but I could watch Isabelle in anything. She’s wonderful. Here’s the trailer (only because of Isabelle).
If You Saw His Heart was a sad and depressing film but it stays with you and had some beautiful cinematography, so I’m including a trailer, but it was really depressing! But it starred Gael Garcia Bernal who is beautiful to look at. But so sad!
It also starred Marine Vacth who was unrecognisable from her role in Double Lover which I saw because I love the director Francoise Ozon. His last film Frantz was exquisite. But this was a misstep. No trailer. I also saw Ishmael’s Ghosts because it starred Charlotte Gainsbourg. Should have known it would be completely mad. I loved her in Melancholia but I think that is the only normal film she has been in. It also starred Mathieu Amalric, again as a director, and Marion Cotillard. And Louis Garrel played a small part. What were they all thinking is all I can say. Its the same with Two Is A Family which starred Omar Sly who was wonderful in The Intouchables. I thought it was terrible.