LA NOCHE DE 12 ANÕS (2019)

A film by  Álvaro Brechner

Cast:  Antonio de la Torre, Chino Darín, Alfonso Tort

English title: A twelve year night

1973, Uruguay falls into dictatorship. Three political opponents are secretly imprisoned by the new military power. Thrown into small cells, they are forbidden to talk to each other and badly nourished with barely have the essential toiletry , three men whose limit is pushed to madness, three hostage where the punishment is to break them of their humanities. The film tells the 12 years of imprisonment lived by three the most famous figures of contemporary Uruguay.

Here are twelve men who are confined in a small cell and submit to the atrocities that are inhuman. Solitary confinement is the worse case scenario they said you can not go more than 30 days without talking with to someone or you will go crazy. A haunting story of 12 years of incarceration in the life of Jose Mujica (Antonio de la Torre) and his two camarade, Mauricio Rosencof (Chino Darín) and Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro (Alfonso Tort). In 1973, Uruguay in taken by a military dictatorship. Members of the guerilla known as Tupamaros are considered traitors to the country. They are caught and thrown in jail and persecuted. Some of them were kidnapped by the military to subject to inhuman condition and psychological torture. They are moved from time to time to different cells. But those three men are finding ways to even talk to each other sort of and to not submit to those atrocities. There was one funny scene in the toilet with a prisoner who wanted to take a shit but could not squat do to one arm was in cuff high by the pipe. You will laugh your ass off, how stupid are the military. Álvaro Brechner here made sure not to let up on the tension throughout the film. There are the occasional flashback that does not revealing to much which was a smart move here. Keep in mind that those men were incarcerated for twelve years of pure psychological torture. Those are men you will not see men like them now. Great film here not to be missed.

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LES SORCIÈRES DE SALEM (1957)

A film by  Raymond Rouleau

Cast:  Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Jean Debucourt

English Title: The Crucible

Salem, 1692. Industrious farmer, John Proctor, has made love to 17-year-old Abigail, a young woman that he and his wife have taken in. Well his wife is frigid and john has needs. His wife finds out and tells Abigail to get out of her home. Abigail wows that she is going to get revenge. She accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft and manipulates younger girls to support her claims of seeing spirits. The town’s minister and politicians are now going to war against witchcraft and will clean Salem of it by hanging witches.

Here is a jewel of a film based on a true story . Signoret won the 1957 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress and Mylène Demongeot was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer in the same year. In the 1957 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Best Actor Award was given to “all actors of Les Sorcières de Salem in collective, and especially to Yves Montand. Not too bad here for a film. Screenplay adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre from the 1953 play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller.

It is 1692 in Salem John Proctor is the only member in the town’s assembly who resists the attempts of the rich to gain more wealth on the expense of the poor farmers. John got caught by his wife who is sick (well back in those days that is what they called it but she was frigid) with the maid Abigail which in turn got fired and left the Proctors. Abigail wanted her revenge and when a group of women are accused of witchcraft seeing her opportunity Abigail manipulate Mary and other girls into whitcraft which they will accused a bunch of people of being witches and sorcerers. Outstanding performances by the actors here. Mylene Demongeot which at the time was a new to the scene of acting is seductive, maleficent, and sensual. Simone signoret is astonishing as well. It is a powerful film worth seeing.

EXFILTRÉS (2019)

A film by  Emmanuel Hamon

Cast:  Swann Arlaud, Finnegan Oldfield, Jisca Kalvanda 

English: Exfiltrate

A true story, Rakka, Syria, spring 2015. Faustine opens her eyes to the hell she has thrown herself into with her 5 year old son. In Paris Sylvain the husband of Faustine is disturb by the news of his friend’s wife who is now sent a distress message to her husband. Two activists will attempt to extract Faustine and her son which is going to be a high risk operation.

Exfiltrated, inspired by an incredible true story, shows the resourcefulness of a group of young people to exfiltrate the woman that fell into a pitfall. Rakka Syria a hostile environment and trying to exfiltrate a young woman and her son not only it is going to be delicate but also very dangerous. A French woman and her young kid who made this mistake to be with the dangerous Daesh. We learn early on in the story that this young woman who is social worker in the ghetto converted to Islam a few month back. She naively believed in the promise by Daesh to make Syria a new world. There is a difference with Faustine here she is already married, most women who comes is promessed an husband. Most men who convert to Islam and see that is not what they sign up for seems to escape without a hitch. But no women can escape once there are in. It has not been done. They are killed or if they want to stay alive they do what they are told. Also it is costly to get them out. Sylvain and his two activists with the help of his boss are going to try the impossible because the state does not want to do a thing, well it is too risky for them. Seriously? Hamon has shot this film like a documentary and it works here. An ensemble cast to does their job well here. The director does its job here for a subject that is delicate but is not going to be solved any time soon.

UNE INTIME CONVICTION (2019)

A film by  Antoine Raimbault

Cast:  Marina Foïs, Olivier Gourmet, Laurent Lucas 

English: Reasonable doubt

Since Nora attended the trial of Jacques Viguier, accused of the murder of his wife, she is convinced of his innocence. There is no doubt in her mind that that Viguier is innocent. She ask a lawyer to reopen the case and together they will fight against an injustice.

Based on a true story the dossier Jacques Viguier where a judge reopened the case to see if he could get Viguier off the charges of killing his wife. Well they didn’t have a body let along the murder weapon. To make it more interesting the director will use a fictional character, like the character of Nora (Marina Fois) and real life, lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti played by Olivier Gourmet. It is not just a trial movie here but also the team-up with Nora and the judge trying to dig up 100 hours of taped conversation. Ok here at the trial is a man who is convicted of the murder of his wife and to make it interesting there is the other story, the one of Nora helping the lawyer. She becomes obsessive and even neglect her son and her job as a cook at a restaurant. And yes there is a twist in the story. Three great actors here make their mark. It is a joy to see those brilliant actors especially Marina Foïs whose character is passionate and obsessive in getting Viguier off his charges.

GRACE À DIEU (2019)

A film by François Ozon

Cast:  Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud 

English title: By the grace of god

Alexandre lives in Lyon with his wife and children. One day, he discovered by pure luck that the priest who abused him at the boys scouts, and has sexually abused children. He then embarks on a fight, quickly joined by François and Emmanuel, also victims of the priest, to tell their stories to the media But the repercussions and consequences of these confessions will leave no one unscathed.

Here is a director who can jump from genre to genre making movies. He always surprises audiences with the subject matter and always writes his films. Grâce à Dieu is based on the real case of Father Bernard Preynat who in 2016 was charged with sexually assaulting around 70 boys in Lyon. Two things here the pain of the three man that the priest inflicted on those victims and the second he film criticises the church’s silence on paedophilia. Great cast in this one Melvil Poupaud is Alexandre a wealthy Lyonnais banker who has found success with his wife Marie (Petit) and five kids. Dénis Menochet is less cautious about his confessions, bringing an explosive emotional part for this actor. Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud) who claims his whole life has been traumatised by what happened, making it difficult for him to deal parent’s divorce and destroying his ability to connect emotionally with women, plus had difficulties to learn at school. Other will join the cause as the film goes along. Ozon does a great job of tipping the balance with the graphic scene plus there are some flashback not too much that will speak for themselves. of course every countries all over the world has a least an incident like that and yet the church kept it quiet and moved the priest to some other parishes. Ozon who does not seems to disappoint as usual has done a great job telling the story.

SAUVER OU PÉRIR (2018)

A film by  Frédéric Tellier

Cast:  Pierre Niney, Anaïs Demoustier, Vincent Rottiers 

English title: Through the fire

Franck is a firefighter from Paris. He saves people. He lives in the barracks with his wife who is pregnant. He is happy. During an intervention on a fire, he sacrifices himself to save his men. When he wakes up in a burn treatment center, he realizes that his face has melted in the flames. He will have to relearn how to live, and accept to be saved in his turn. The question is will he accept. 

With l’affair SK1, Frédéric Tellier had plunged us with a realism striking in the daily life of an elite police. He plunges himself again into the realism but this time with the firefighter. This story based on a true story takes us with this nice looking man and his beautiful wife who has everything, Tellier here make sure that there will be two stories a love story and a man where is world is going to collapse and will struggle to get back on his feet. At the beginning you see the life of the fireman Franck Pasquier (Pierre Niney) who lives with his wife at the fire station in their own quarters the everyday life that Frank has to go through and the constant training in order to keep in shape. Frank here study to be a fireman and has to have his certificate in order to complete his training. Niney is is remarkable he trained with real firefighter (is a matter of fact the film was shot in the real firehouse) took on 19 pounds of muscles to play the part because the equipment that the firefighter has on them is about 50 pounds so you have to be in shape plus the pounds that he had to lose for the other half of the film. The film tells the story of Frank in stage for his recovery. The things he had to go through in order to get better. The emotional ride of what is going on inside himself and with his family. And finally the road to recovery. Franck is not a fireman like the others. Very demanding of himself and his colleagues, he is also ambitious and the bar is set as high as it can be for him. Training, discipline, he is a paramedics until he gets to the next level the one he is training for to become a firefighter. He knows the sacrifice he has to make even looking at his friend who can’t get there do to some health problem. But suddenly his world is going to crash. Did he believe to be invincible enough to brave the dangers to save his colleagues? Did he make the mistake of the beginner? Has he misjudged the risks? Frédéric Tellier brilliantly shows Franck’s double physical and psychological decent and the struggle to get back to the road of recovery. Which will bring us to the final act love that perishes or love that saves? Here is a story that is moving as well that will raise a lot of question beautifully told by Frédéric Tellier. 

L’INTERVENTION (2019)

A film by  Fred Grivois

Cast: Alban Lenoir, Olga Kurylenko, Sébastien Lalanne

1976 in Djibouti, the last French colony. Terrorists kidnap a school bus and get stuck at a hundred meters from the border of Somalia. France sends on the spot to take care of the situation a sniper special unit of the Gendarmerie. This team, who is heterogeneous and undisciplined, will conduct a high-risk operation that will mark the birth of the GIGN.

The intention of the filmmaker is double sided. This is obviously to pay tribute to the men in the shadow of the birth of the GIGN, and then to portray a long sequence of pure suspense and action, rather than to dwell on the complex geopolitical reality of this part of Africa. where the presence of France in 1976 is questionable.

Here is a team of gendarmes that are snipers they called them the special unit team at the time, who are going to Africa to try to save the school bus full of children by the border of Somalia and the french side. Here is an elite team that is waiting the order from Paris to take assault and get back the children safe back home. But the problem of bureaucracy in France that can’t take a decision because they are scared to start a war. So this team of snipers will prove themselves to be effective. This piece of history is not know in my country until now. The film is a beautiful tribute to those snipers who are expendable but not killing machine just trying to save life in any condition and never underestimate the price of every lives they will take away from the enemy camp. Here the director has master the suspense with an interesting casting, plus some great action scenes. And that is how the GIGN ( (Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale)  is born. GIGN in english National Gendarmerie Intervention Group. GIGN has been involved in over 1,800 missions and rescued more than 600 hostages, making it one of the most experienced counter-terrorism units in the world.