Tag Archives: French Cinema

Love (2015)

love
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Chanced upon Gaspar Noé’s Love last night when I was searching for a film to watch over solitary dinner. Could say it’s a total departure from the last film of his that I’ve watched — and then not exactly so. Strobe lights again but with Wes Anderson-style framing, colors and captions.

Read somewhere that Noé had said how this everyday violence in sexual gratification-addiction is more pervasive and real than the type of violence he had portrayed in his other films. For the most part Love is sexually-explicit (visually arresting AF but thankfully not in 3D) with an attempt at a Before Sunrise-type discussion towards the end of the film about (what else but) love in every indie director’s favorite park in Paris — the parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

Think I also spied scenes shot in the cimetière du Père Lachaise and then maybe along a stretch below the elevated viaduct of métro line 2 in the 18th arrondissement on boulevard de la Chapelle just opposite the hôpital Lariboisière (looks too grimey to be line 6).

The dialogue in addition to Murphy’s whispery soliloquy which dominated the film could have been better and more polished. For those who find it charming, there’s lots of English spoken with a French accent (watch out for the bizarre bit with French cops dishing out relationship advice).

Irréversible (2002)

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Bit of east Paris cameo there with a scene in the 7bis métro line (Buttes Chaumont to Pré Saint-Gervais) but I’m pretty sure this is not what people look for when they want to watch a French film set in Paris. You’ve got Zazie dans le métro (1960) and Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) for that. Not a film for the faint-hearted either since not everyone could stomach the New French Extremity genre. It’s definitely one of the most intense and brutal films I’ve watched in recent years, progressing from dark destructive vengeance to the relative calm of bliss and happiness but unfortunately, as the narrative is in reverse chronological order, it ends up being bittersweet instead. The only consolation: le temps détruit tout indeed.

8 femmes (2002)

8 femmes
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Other than the fact that I cringe every time someone breaks into song, it’s definitely one hell of a very photogenic mid-century murder mystery thriller, all melodramatic and whimsical.

The Science of Sleep (2006)

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Have to admit that this is a cheatster French film as a lot of the dialogue is in (French-accented) English. It’s whimsical and surrealist, all in all, so very Gondry in a good way. I still don’t get Charlotte Gainsbourg but the other characters i.e. everyone from the calendar printing company especially Alain Chabat more than made up for her lacklustre performance. Bonus point: The film was partly filmed in my current neighborhood in Paris !

Valley of Love (2015)

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My first French film of 2016 also marks my first Gérard Depardieu film, and I can’t stop staring at his bulbous nose. Not sure where this film is going half the time, if it is going anywhere at all, and a word of warning to those who aren’t too big on Depardieu (myself included): He’s mostly sweaty and pretty much naked (save for a pair of dignity-saving boxer shorts) in the film.