tue 29/11/2022

French cinema

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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Blu-ray: Pickpocket

Pickpocket regularly makes it into the list of best films of all times. It is a film-maker’s film, more of an essay on the art of cinema and a discourse on crime than a thriller. Much French art house cinema is characterised by serious intent and...

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We (Nous) review - a low-key look at life in the suburbs of Paris

Director Alice Diop read an article by Pierre Bergounioux in which he described how he began writing to draw attention to his overlooked neck of the woods – Correze, in central France. It was a lightbulb moment for her: “My approach as a film-maker...

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Blu-ray: The Soft Skin

The 400 Blows (1959) and Jules et Jim (1962) established François Truffaut as an outstanding and original director. His next film, The Soft Skin (La peau douce) from 1964, was not in the same league.Although it displays many of his story-telling...

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Everything Went Fine review - classy French family drama

French filmmakers do family dramas so well, and none better than François Ozon when he is on form, as he is on Everything Went Fine.André (veteran charmer André Dussolier) is a wealthy industrialist and art dealer who, after suffering a debilitating...

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Blu-ray: The Last Metro

The Last Metro (Le dernier métro), from 1980, is without doubt one of François Truffaut’s best films: a story beautifully told, strong on character, sometimes funny and always profoundly moving. Most of the credit has gone to Truffaut and co-stars...

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Vortex review – an old couple's road to nowhere

Life, opined Thomas Hobbes, is “nasty, brutish, and short”. In Gaspar Noé’s Vortex it’s not short enough for a dementia-afflicted octogenarian psychiatrist (Françoise Lebrun) and her addled film critic husband (giallo auteur Dario Argento), whose...

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Blu-ray: Round Midnight

Among the plentiful bonus items in this Criterion Collection Blu-ray of Round Midnight, the last one is a surprise. It shows Dexter Gordon in his prime, back in 1969.He’s doing the thing for which, purely as a jazz musician, he’s best known. We see...

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Blu-ray: Jules et Jim

François Truffaut’s Nouvelle Vague masterpiece revolves around an endlessly mutating love triangle, set in a world that encompasses the hedonism of the Belle Époque, the horror of the First World War, and the book burning that ushered in the Nazi...

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Happening review - searingly intimate, furious abortion drama

France is a female dystopia in Audrey Diwan’s immersive illegal abortion drama, set in 1963 and based on Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel.Anamaria Vartolomei is Anne, the first girl from her rural family to go to college, where she is a modest...

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Blu-ray: The 400 Blows

Many groundbreaking cinema classics remain frozen in a particular zeitgeist, but François Truffaut’s first feature, from the early days of the French New Wave, is not one of them. Released in 1959, The 400 Blows (Les 400 coups) is so adventurous in...

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The Night Doctor review - down and out in Paris

Elie Wajeman’s moodily lit film noir is, among other things, a great advertisement for the French healthcare system. Doctors in Paris do home visits! Even at night, and even for minor troubles such as a painful leg or stomach upset. It costs...

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