TEL AVIV ON FIRE (2019)

A film by  Sameh Zoabi

Cast:  Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal, Yaniv Biton

Salam, 30, lives in Jerusalem. He is a Palestinian and an intern on the set of the hit Arabic series “Tel Aviv on Fire!” Every morning he crosses the same checkpoint to work in Ramallah. One day, Salam is arrested by an Israeli officer Assi, fan of the series, to try to get away, he claims to be the scriptwriter. Taken to its own trap, Salam will be imposed by Assi a new scenario. Obviously, nothing will happen as planned.

Salam (Kais Nashif) a Palestinian living in Israel, he’s working as a production intern on the TV series named Tel Aviv On Fire, set in 1967 on the verge of the Six-Day War, it is clear that he is here because his uncle is a producer of the series and tries to rekindle the relationship of an ex girlfriend. Salam is here on the set as a person who reviews the authenticity of the language spoken. When he goes back home, Officer Assi , fan of the series ask him if he is the screenwriter, and bang Assi read the latest script and demand that he writes the story as he sees fit. To top it all off the next day the original writer had enough and leaves the set. Salam’s uncle promote Salam to screenwriter. Ho! boy. Salam here has no inspiration and has writer’s block. but you will not believe that is going to happen.

The director here is being conscious and careful about the ongoing issues about the Israeli and the palestinian, and balances the humour and the narrative perfectly well. Here Palestinians and Israelis has to live together regardless of the past and it is not an easy thing to do. Salam here is in his neck but seems to try to get his head above water. He is trying to get his old flame back in the process. Making a series is a hard thing to do and is a lot of work. Nobody seems to be on the same page. Here Salma is trying to make everybody happy will he succeed at getting his old flame back and will he succeed in writing a successful ending. Well see the movie.

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MON BÉBÉ (2019)

A film by  Lisa Azuelos

Cast:  Sandrine Kiberlain, Thaïs Alessandrin, Victor Belmondo

English title : Sweetheart

Heloise is the mother of three children. Jade, her “youngest daughter”, has just turned eighteen and will soon be leaving the nest to continue his studies in Canada. Jade’s departure approaches, and in the stress that this represents, Heloise remembers their shared memories, those of a tender and fusional mother-daughter relationship, and anticipates this departure by playing the apprentice filmmakers with her IPhone, so she has memories to look back to when Jade is gone …

Nearly three years after “Dalida”, more than ten years after “LOL “, the director Lisa Azuelos returns with Mon Bébé going back to the family theme that she does so well especially the mother daughter relationship. It is filmed with ease and grace and I so love that. Extremely well writing, entertaining, well casting need I say more. Ok I will say more first Sandrine Kiberlain delivers the role beautifully well has great chemistry with Thaī Alessandrin who is a new comer I think and to top it all off Victor Belmondo the grandson of Jean-Paul Belmondo is in this film. A bit of a autobiographie in there somewhere like her film LOL. The director here admitted that she was faced with the departure of her own daughter who like in the film has decided to study in Canada. So she decided to write it finally but under a form of fiction. It is an emotional film but not too emotional with some moments of pure beauty. We know that the last child that is going to leave it is going to be difficult for the mother to let her go. It is hard for a mother to let go her child into to the world the mother wants always to protect her child don’t matter what. Azuelos avoid the clichés here and what a terrific film she directed. You will have a good time guaranteed.

SYNONYMES (2019)

A film by  Nadav Lapid

Cast:  Tom Mercier, Quentin Dolmaire, Louise Chevillotte 

Yoav, a young Israeli, lands in Paris, hoping that France and the French language will save him from the madness of his country.

Here is a film when you will get out of the theater you will feel amazed, seduced, marked, impressed, shaken, moved or you are going to hate it period. Here is a man who is a soldier lands in Paris. He is running away from his country and the crazy things that is going on there. he want no part of it. Yoav wants to be French and learn French. The first scene when he walks in this empty apartment has this beautiful meaning. He gets undressed takes a shower when he is done he goes to get his clothes but his backpack and clothes are gone. he is freeing and looks for his clothes from room to room nothing. he gets down the stairs and want to go outside but hold off and goes back upstairs knocks on doors to see if someone will help him, but no one does. He goes back in the bathtub and passes out. when he gets naked he is going toward a new identity, taking the shower washes out what he lived in Israel. A young rich couple finds him in the bathtub and shelter him give him some clothes and food. Now Yoav is some ready to survive in Paris and to try to be a French citizen. Dressed (often in an orange coat) in the streets of Paris, he wanders through words, synonyms that he shouts. He tries to stop and rest but he is restless wanders between Caroline and Emile. The film here is full of energy and Nadav Lapid finds the right balance to give it some new energy because a story about an immigrant has been done before so many time, but this one I got to admit is a little weird at times like when A photographer and makes him do things that are strange. The film is full of energy and Yoav is trying to find an identity in his quest but is he going to find it? Yes, the film has a perfect ending.

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.

REBELLES (2019)

A film by  Allan Mauduit

Cast:  Cécile de France, Yolande Moreau, Audrey Lamy

Without work or diploma, Sandra, former Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais, returns to live with her mother in Boulogne-sur-Mer after 15 years on the Côte d’Azur. Hired at the local cannery, she vigorously rejects her boss’s advances and kills him accidentally. Two other girls witnessed the scene. As they prepare to call for help, the three workers discover a bag full of money in the deadman’s locker. A fortune that they decide to share. May the adventure begins…..

English title: Rebels

Rebelles” is a dark comedy that reveals three ordinary women in extraordinary situations: jubilant roles for Cécile de France, Audrey Lamy and Yolande Moreau. The film is a little bit à la Tarantino and you will think later on you are in a sergio Leone film. Here is Sandra (Cécile de France), Marilyn (Audrey Lamy) et Nadine (Yolande Moreau) who is suppose to clean the machinery after work and where Sandra’s boss is going to attempt to rape her which Sandra is going to cut something off him and he will try to get away in pain while falling is the stairs to his death. Well here are are three feminist musketeers who are going to find a bag a money from their dead boss. Now the thing is how to hide the body and what to do with the money? Rebelles avoid anchoring the film in a defined context, are we in 2019 od 1999 we do not know. No gadgets, no hi-tech here and no clichées either. The director here has a great casting here, the actresses does a great jobs to embody everyday women who are going to find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Here is a dark comedy with girl power. This amazing film, awarded at Alpe d’Huez, surprises with its constant changes of tone. This explosive comedy contains some dark humor, but has some great gags.

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.