Combien tu m’aimes?
Bertrand Blier :: France :: 2005 :: 1h35
A uncomfortably solitary man wins the lottery and walks straight into his local Pigale prostitution bar and walks out with the emblem of desire, renting happy living. Monica Bellucci plays this incarnation of beauty in this lonely hearts hotel which is Paris, where all the characters dream of a life they do not have. The originality of the plot is further strengthened by the power of the dialogues which deal with the curiosity, selfishness and greed which comes with the naivety of these poor victims of social life. The theatrical caricatures are kissed to life in the burlesque drama they find themselves rolling into. For all those who want more theatre in their lives, a reminder that for happiness’ sake it is best kept on stage..
Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé
Stephane Brize :: France :: 2004 :: 1h33
50 year old bailiff who seems to live his life emotion- and expressionless, takes up Tango and meets a charming younger woman who wakes him back into social reality. The combination of an awkwardly silly and slow storyline, a poster which suggests the former, and a title which encourages suicide and alcoholism will not get your heart racing. For those who do actually manage to buy a ticket: A lot of the interaction between to two main protagonists, is purely physical – glances, movements, touches. Along with the intimacy of their interaction, we see a bit of both their sides. On her side, her fear-of-commitment experience is contrasted with an environment who looks on with a social eye. Curiously enough, on his side he is contrasted with a younger self (through his father and through his apprentice, who is brilliantly cast and played). A younger self who is not yet caught up by a numb reality. A younger self who still wanted to make something of his life.
Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne :: Belgium, France :: 2004 :: 1h35
Set in a depressing industrial suburb of Liège (Belgium), young down-and-out Bruno lives in the here and now, selling anything he can get his hands on to stay afloat. When his girlfriend Sonia comes onto the scene with their little boy, Bruno finds himself having to come to terms with this little one in a cruel world. Crowned at Cannes 2005 with the Palme d’or, the Dardenne brothers – not known for their lighthearted films- sign another harsh reality with characters who act first rather than try to think or feel. We follow the protagonist so closely that you can only hear the sounds (as he does) around him without seeing the action. It forces us into the skin of the protagonist, which is not a very welcoming place to be. Their baby is present throughout a large part of the movie, but we never really see him, as neither of his parents actually speak to him. He is there, but not much more than that. The baby is so helpless, the actual embodiment of a character still to come, that our protagonists do not really know how to deal with him. They themselves have no notion of a future in their animalistic approach to their being. A position which will have to change, if not by thought preceding act, then by instinct. An impressive, and worrying portrait.
Patrice Chéreau :: France, Italy :: 2004 :: 1h30
Within the comfortable Parisian walls of society dinners and lounge evenings, a couple reaches their breaking point. It seems as if they have never discussed their love before, and are both astounded by what they are confronted with, a reality other than the closely knit leisure life they had become so used to. With the always intriguing Isabelle Humbert in the leading role, the adaptation of Conrad’s novel shows occasional picture-perfect scenes, mixed with the some black and white and silent film era references. Surprisingly enough, it is hard to understand the motivations and frustrations of the protagonists in their idealized world, leaving you somewhat removed from what is clearly intended to be a very intimate portrait.
Me, You and Everyone we Know
Miranda July :: USA :: 2004 :: 1h30
Young artist falls in love with recently divorced man with two children. All the characters are struggling to make themselves a life in a social world- they interact with each other as they brush past each other in their daily lives. The characters are not noticeably realistic, nor is the interaction particularly credible, but if you consider the poster pleasant (as I do) than no doubt you will be comfortable watching the movie as well.
Entre ses Mains
Anne Fontaine :: France :: 2005 :: 1h30
Claire lives an uncomplicated life in Lille with her husband and daughter, until one day she meets the dark seducer Laurent, a meeting which develops into a creepy, complicated, impossible love. The movie is tense and oppresive, and carried by the great acting capabilities of Isabelle Carré (Caire) and Benoit Poelvoorde (as the frustrated seducer!). A psychological thriller lodged in the ordinary, which lacked enough substance to make an impression on me.
Ma vie en l’air
Rémi Bezançon :: France :: 2005 :: 1h43
Pilot instructor -in a simulator- with a fear of flying struggles to follow the woman of his dreams to the other end of the world. Our boyish hero of thirty is struggling with the complexities of simple adulthood. Experiencing a lasting-love means overcoming fears of failure, here mixed into the cocktail with his fear of flying. Oscillating between originality and cliché, this comedy (a first film for Bezançon) is light and funny.