All 3 entries tagged Feature Film
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October 30, 2008
- Ensemble, c'est tout
Claude Berri’s 2007 Ensemble, c’est tout is a predictable, yet charming, romantic French work of fiction based on Anna Gavalda’s novel which goes by the same title.
Audrey Tautou (Amélie) plays the role of Camille, an endearing but feisty young cleaner, at odds with her family and living alone in a cold under-roof room. Her encounter with a neighbour (Philibert, played by Laurent Stocker) leads to her being taken in by him when she falls ill. Things are, of course, not so simple when she comes face to face with Philibert’s angry, handsome, Casanova-type, over-worked and under-paid housemate, Franck (Guillaume Canet, Jeux d’enfants). Franck does however have his soft-side which we witness in his attitude towards his grandmother (played by the exceptional Françoise Bertin) for whom he would do anything.
The personality clash between Camille (Tautou) and Franck (Canet) progresses, predictably, into a story of romance which runs parallel to the issues raised by the declining health of Franck’s grandmother. The four protagonists complement each other in an odd way, creating a whole unit in which they are all stronger than as individuals.
Altogether, Ensemble, c’est tout is enjoyable, fun and romantic, but remains an anticipated story which is not intellectually stimulating.
October 22, 2008
- Cinema Paradiso
- Not rated
Cinema Paradiso is a heart-warming tale, full of Mediterranean emotion, about the progression of a young boy (Toto) through life and its associated trials, joys and tribulations. It is set in a small town in the beautiful sun-drenched isle of Sicily, Italy. The focal point of the town is the local cinema. Young Toto develops a friendship with the grizzled and charming projectionist Alfredo, played wonderfully by the late Phillipe Noiret. They both share a mutual love for the cinema and much of Toto’s youth is spent cute-ishly pestering Alfredo to teach him the techniques of cinematic projection. The film recalls a somewhat romantic pre-war age, where the cinema provided a gathering point for the whole community who share their fascinations of the outside world and big-screen characters.
As Toto ages into adolescence, he takes on the role of the projectionist but the focus of his attention turns to the beautiful girl Elena. Here enter themes of love and passion, as Toto awkwardly and ineptly tries to attract the mysterious young woman. However, Toto’s life begins to dramatically change when he is drafted into army service. It is from here that the film draws on another key theme, nostalgia. Toto finds the life of a soldier difficult, and longs to go back to the community and woman he loves. In one of the most moving passages of the film, Alfredo encourages Toto to leave the village and use his creative talents to liberate himself from the constraints of small-town Sicily, and explore the world. It is extremely poignant and somewhat resonant for many young people. The film ends as it starts, with Toto, now a famous and respected figure in the film industry, returning to his beloved home town for Alfredo’s funeral. Toto finds that Alfredo has left him a present and the subsequent and concluding scene is perhaps one of the most moving in cinema. The beautiful piano-laden score, written by Ennio Morricone adds to the overall poignancy and emotion of the film.
The film is a fantastic alternative to the often sterile, monotony that appears from Hollywood, and provides a great foundation for exploring contemporary Italian and European cinema. The film focuses on numerous themes, which the audience can instantly engage with: love, regret, nostalgia, passion, friendship. It will play to all your emotional senses. It will fill you with happiness, make you laugh and I can guarantee it will make even the hardiest of souls cry.
June 12, 2008
- Gegen die Wand (Head-On)
Provocative, charged and beautiful: Gegen die Wand (Head-On) was the first German film to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for 18 years, and rightly so. After a distinct lack of internationally and critically acclaimed cinema coming from German directors since Fassbinder et al., Fatih Akin breaks free from the mould of miserablist 'migrant' cinema to bring us a story about a female German-Turkish protagonist that refuses to revert to stereotype in portraying the complexities of a diasporic German-Turkish identity. In fact, Sibel's background is just that: at the forefront of the film is a wonderful love story. Sibel and Cahit meet in a rehab clinic and, in a desperate bid to escape her controlling father, Sibel asks Cahit to marry her (Why me? I'm a bum! - You're Turkish!). Their life as roommates is far from wedded bliss; as they take their relationship to the next stage, it becomes violent, jealous and passionate, and an event one night leads to their lives taking an entirely different turn. The chemistry between the two characters is superb, and if there is ever a film that makes you want to lift the images off the screen and admire them as wonderfully composed photographs, this is it.