Saturday, July 15, 2006

More Movie News

France may have lost in the world cup finals but there is enough solace for francophile moviegoers this summer. Of course, you have to be in Manhattan, Chicago or other big American cities to watch these movies. Those misfortunate enough to be living in dark and barbaric corners of the world, please wait for the DVD transfer. Anyway, a slew of French films by noted film directors are all getting released at the same time. First up is Heading South by Laurent Cantet, whose previous efforts Human Resources and Time Out were highly acclaimed dramas (and none of which I have seen so far!) about modern corporate life and class struggle. Heading South is about a middle aged woman, played by the rather weird looking French actress Charlotte Rampling (link to a still), traveling to Haiti in search of sexual fulfillment. The New York Times calls it, "one of the most truthful examinations ever filmed of desire, age and youth." Here's another one of those "trend-watching" articles, that the new york times editors are apparently so fond of, talking to few old and middle aged women who went to the screening.

Also two of the most famous icons of French cinema Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu are coming together again in a film called Changing Times by Andre Techine. The premise looks very interesting -- old lovers are reunited after many years but their love remains unrequited. Here's the review from the new york times. Also a period film Gabrielle based on a Joseph Conrad story directed by Patrice Chereu starring the ever so glorious and often frighteningly intense Isabelle Huppert and a melodrama by Francois Ozon about a young man dying of a terminal illness, Time to Leave. Reviews here and here. A O Scott ends his review of Ozon's film with this paragraph:

We are aware, throughout, that Romain is fundamentally alone, a state he seems to find both terrifying and calming. Occasionally, in memory and in fantasy, he comes face to face with his childhood self, encounters that make him appear a stranger to himself, rather than providing any kind of resolution or understanding. “Time to Leave,” in the end, explains very little, choosing instead to emphasize the essential paradox that an individual’s life is never complete and always over too soon.

Also, the Taiwanese film Yi Yi is getting released on DVD by criterion. I remember watching it early last year (on what I now come to know as an inferior DVD transfer) and getting a hell lot of bored with it, at least initially. It clocks over three hours of running time and moves very slowly but once it ends it does make you feel as if you haven't seen just the characters or the unfolding of a story but you have seen life itself. It is like reading one of those great and fat nineteenth century novels... The NYT reports on the new criterion transfer. A O Scott claims, "In exchange for three hours of your time, ''Yi Yi'' will give you more life." Heh... not sure about that, check it out for yourself.

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