A film by Emmanuel Finkiel

Cast: Mélanie Thierry, Benoît Magimel, Benjamin Biolay

English: Memoir of pain

June 1944, France is still under the German occupation. The writer Robert Antelme, major figure of the Resistance, is arrested and deported. His young wife Marguerite, writer and a figure of the resistance also, is torn by the anguish of not having news of him plus she has her secret affair with her comrade Dyonis. She meets a French agent of the Gestapo, Rabier, and, ready to do anything to find her husband. She seek help from an other man will she be able to find her husband and will he be still alive? 

Some of you will not like this film; It is the biography of Marguerite Duras and is a key figure on the French twentieth-century literary scene. Born in French Indochina in 1914, Duras studied and worked in France and lived in Paris during the Nazi occupation, and was in the Résistance. After all she won an Oscar for best original screenplay for the film 1959 film Hiroshima mon amour. But this film is told with a narration of literature. Her book was published in 1985 Memoir of pain finally comes to life at the movies. La Douleur flows like blood in the veins. Finkiel plays on the literary codes with a narration of Mélanie Thierry with a sad and depressing  voice. Thierry is act mostly with her facial expressions. She sees her relationship growing with Rabier. But also with Dionys (Benjamin Biolay). Finkiel allows us to wander, to merge into the spirit of Marguerite Duras. Duras is a faded flower that fights with her latest weapons as a resistant and writer that she is. She leads a troubled life. The film is a slow burner but a little long although I found it nice to watch a different view a view of a woman in search of her husband.





CARBONE (2017)


A film by Olivier Marchal

Cast: Benoît Magimel, Gringe, Idir Chender, Gerard Depardieu 

Just about to lose his business, Anthony Roca (Benoît Magimel), an ordinary man, develops a scam that will become the heist of the century. Gets in bed with criminals and overtaken by the crime, he will have to deal with betrayal, and murder.

Olivier Marchal likes squeaky leather, the smell of cold cigarettes, cops, gangsters  and the wicked atmosphere the bad neighbourhood of Paris’ suburb . This is normal, the French filmmaker was himself a cop, now converted into a director / actor , a fan  of the thriller genre and crime thriller.Which makes him one of the recognizable directors of the French cinematography landscape.

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A huge scam led by Antoine Roca (Benoit Magimel), honest entrepreneur but riddled with debts that would be around one million euros. In spite, a father-in-law (Gerard Depardieu) intractable and brittle, a marriage that goes to pieces and a company that is going under, Antoine decides to launch a scam that will pay him big. The breakout of the century revolves around a carbon tax fraud. Every company has its share of CO2 emissions. If it is not exceed a certain among of CO2, the companies receive an envelope from the French state to compensate. By mounting a handful of  dummies companies  offshore, it is easy to recover an astronomical sums within a few months.

The film opens with Antoine shot on the side walks reciting an Arabic proverb. Then we go back 5 months earlier. The thing is here os a man who’s life is beginning to be hell because of the business that his father in law left him to manage is going to fold if it does not find the money for the debt he owes. Here is a man who is desperate where his wife does not like him very much anymore not his father in law. He needs a million euros to get the scam stated but one you borrow money from the mob there is not going back. Antoine is maybe on the top of the world Money start flowing in , the women, the parting the fancy cars all that comes into play and will atrratc other criminals, but soon after that the decent in hell is going to follow. He is going to try to fix things but when all hell breaks loose there is no stopping it. Here money is king and Marshall demonstrate this very well. The cinematography is Neo-Noir setting here. A brutal film with a soft finish, and yes it is based on a true story.

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A film by Emmanuelle Bercot

Cast: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Benoît Magimel, Charlotte Laemmel

English title: 150 milligrams 

Here Emmanuelle Bercot, adapting Irène Frachont’s book with the help of Séverine Bosschem. Yes it is a formula whistleblowing film here and somehow we can’t get enough of them we still love to see those big company falls flat on their asses.

A protagonist to generate tension from the start, we track Franchont as she documents problems with a patient’s heart valve, heading with her into the operating room. Franchont becomes convinced that a drug used routinely for diabetes and weight loss is causing fatal heart defects and sets about recruiting people to her cause.  Here Franchont is this simple woman who is a doctor with good bedsides manners, has a family of three kids and a husband who support her, she is played by Sidse Babett Knudsen who is Danish but plays a French women. The film avoid the usual cliche here, Bercot shows her with a supportive family who help her out when ever they can. Bihan (Benoît Magical) and Franchont fires at each other because Bihan is pressure to give up and she will not. The tension is build slowly until the pot is about to explode. Scenes of research are given plenty of pace which brings me of the attention of details from the director. Knudsen is like a pit-bull with a bomb once she sink her teeth never letting go until the bomb explode.



LE CONVOI (2016)


A film by Frédéric Schoendoerffer

Cast: Benoît Magimel, Reem Kherici, Tewfik Jallab

English: The convoy.

A go-fast dynamic that does not upset the genre, but that effectively contributes with its cocktail of violence and paranoia.

A Go-Fast is organized of seven man in four cars with 1,2 tone of cannabis who goes from Malaga in southern Spain, going to Creil in the suburb of Paris. But Alex, Yassin Majid and the others, what would have been an ordinary convoy will become a disaster. Seven man but soon a woman, Nadia, a young French tourist who goes on a trip to Morocco, although she embarked on the adventure because she was the wrong place at the wrong time. Plus they transport something unexpected. Will they get to there and reach the border passed the custom without a scratch?

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A road movie voluble and nervous on highways leading from Spain to France, mix in some paranoia and you got a fast paced film thriller like a la French. A delicious scent that floats on the road of this thriller. Magical succeed here along in his car where later in the film he will encounter his destiny. The dialogue with the other young actors is fresh for the suburb of Paris and fly back and forth. The film will take a turn a sort of a twist but I knew that so it is a bit predictable but watchable plus an unlikely friendship will form towards the end.

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La tête haute (2015)

A film by Emmanuelle Bercot

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, Sara Forestier English title: Standing tall. 

Here is a great film by Emmanuelle Bercot, the film has open the Cannes Film Festival last week , the festival last 3 weeks as usual. she avoided the  clichés as she digs into deep  problems of psychological and social conditions of the youths today. Don’t look for an impressive hollywood story with cliché there is none here. by the way it is the first female-directed film to open the Cannes film festival since A Man in Love by Diane Kurys 30 years ago.

The gruelling story of Malony, an adolescent who get shuffle trough the French administration is appalling and deeply moving. And no you will not get bored. Newcomer Rod Paradot who has been spotted by a casting director outside of his high school carrie the film just fine and has done an outstanding acting job here , it is a draining and exhausting role. Catherine Deneuve who I saw walking her dog at St. Sulpice talking to a friend of hers is a powerhouse here, she plays a judge who refuses to give up on the kid who is violent has a lot of rage with anger who turn very quickly into a crying baby calling for his mother. The kid is destroying himself and those who are around him. His mother almost gave up on him but has problem of her own, she is trying to get rid of the drug problem that she has and do not know what to do with her son anymore. Malony is getting in and out of reform school like he is changing a pair of pants. He loves to steal cars and party until the dawn. Yann (Benoît Magimel) who is terrific here try to calm the kid down and help him as much as he can. There is a twist here but I am not revealing it. Actually there is two. The relationship with Tess, the daughter of a reform school teacher, that gradually starts to turn things around for the troubled teenager. The French administration doe not get to the root of the problem which Bercot shows here and down not drawn any neat conclusion.  A terrific film here not to be missed.




A film by Guillaume Canet.
Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Benoît Magimel.
Every year, Max, a successful restaurant owner, and Véro, his eco-friendly wife invite a group of friends to their beautiful beach house In the south of France . But Ludo, a party animal who circulates through clubs In Paris, inhales cocaine, leaves on his motor scooter, enters an intersection and — BANG! — is hit by a truck. which sets off a dramatic chain of reactions and emotional responses should they go on vacation or should they stay with their friend Ludo. So they decide to go for 2 weeks only instead of the all month. And you see how a bunch of friend lies to each other and cover up their lies. Until the news end their vacation And Until the moment when the truth finally catches up with them all. It similar from a movie that comes in mind the Big chill, the tone of the holiday in set up nobody thinks of Ludo who is said to be recovering. Max is a control freak and takes care of the entire vacation none of less his friend confesses his deep love for him, which though Max and irritate him also also he his at war with the war with the weasels who leaves in this house. The movie is 154 minutes long. It probably doesn’t need to be that long, but there’s an advantage to sinking into this milieu. Also keep in mind this is a french movie and there is a lot of wine drinking and eating after all that is what us french people do on are vacation beside going to the beach. I was drinking wine when I was watching the movie. There is one character we need to mention Jean-Louis. He acts as their godfather and wise overseer, takes them out on his boat and has a considerable presence; all the more impressive because Joel Dupuch is a non-actor and in fact a real oyster fisherman. enjoy this movie and have fun drinking wine while you are watching it. Do not forget the cheese and the baguette, I didn’t.