Saturday, October 18, 2008
So Much Art!
October has been bursting with art, both film and literature. I finally read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Perhaps because I've been depressed and sad, missing those who are gone, but reading about this child's rape and murder, and how she (in Heaven) and her family on Earth learned to come to terms with their grief and finally, with one another, was just what I needed.
While I was more passive and just watching films, I saw:
The amazing Discreet Charm of the Bourgeousie (Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie) (1972) by Luis Buñuel: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068361/. Is there a plot? I don't know, and I don't care. Six rather despicable people never manage to dine together, no matter how many times they try. Be warned, there is a body count! I wanted so much to know French for this film rather than rely on the sub-titles. My only criticism is that it could have been tightened, somewhat.
The funny The Valet (La Doublure) (2006) by Francis Veber (The Closet, The Dinner Game): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449851. Again, I want to know the French, not rely on the sub-titles, which seem to miss quite a few of the jokes. Veber likes to call his Fool by the same name each time, François Pignon. This Pignon is ably played by actor/stand-up comic Gad Elmaleh. The ever-great Daniel Atueil plays the evil magnate who winds the plot into action, and Kristin Scott-Thomas (who knew she speaks French with a perfect accent) as the wife who really wields all the power. Alice Taglioni as the supermodel/mistress shows she has heart and brains to match her beauty.
To Be and To Have (Être et avoir) (2002): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318202. Sensitive, gentle, beautiful documentary. Rather slow, but that is part of the beauty. A one-room schoolroom in the French countryside - sink in and soak it up. The children are wonderful, as is their patient teacher.
French Twist (Gazon maudit) (1995): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113149. Fun little French sex comedy.
Fucking Åmål (1998) -- redistributed in the US as Show Me Love (2000): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0150662. Absolutely satisfying as a Swedish coming-of-age film; wonderful music; the first feature by Lukas Moodysson. I adored both Alexandra Dahlström as the desperate and lonely Elin Olsson, and Rebecka Liljeberg shone as the equally desperate although popular Agnes Ahlberg. All the minor characters were excellent also. Only the conclusion of the film was lacking.
I'll add Tillsammans (Together) (2000) here, Moodyson's follow-up. Rather than focussing on small town teens, this film is a 1970s commune seen through the eyes of two reluctant additions, age 13 and 8 or so. When their parent's marriage falls apart, their uncle Göran brings them into the commune. The comedy is very gentle and humane, and also very familiar. We've met these people, and even when I didn't like them, I was rooting for their success. Very satisfying. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203166/ . Be warned - nudity and implied sex acts.