SEULES LES BÊTES (2019)

A film by  Dominik Moll

Cast:  Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard 

English Title: Only the animals

A woman disappeared. After a snowstorm, her car is discovered on a road to a small remote village. While the police have no trail, five people know they are linked to this disappearance. Each has its own secret, but no one doubts that this story has started far from this mountain swept by the winter winds, on another continent where the sun burns, and where poverty does not prevent the desire to dictate its law. .

Around the unexplained disappearance of a woman, in a snowstorm, evolve five protagonists. Alice, the social worker (Laure Calamy). She goes from village to village in the mountains to provide assistance and give advice to the isolated farmers. This is what she does with Joseph (Damien Bonnard), this goat farmer who seems a little loss and lonely due to the fact that his mother died that summer. Alice is married to Michel (Denis Ménochet) who seems not too care for her too much and is somewhere else most of the time keeping up with his accounting so it seems. Also he also has a secret like his wife. I am careful not to reveal anything. Chance will put Marion (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) on the road, a young waitress who clings desperately to her impossible love affair with Evelyne (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). And may the adventure of those 5 protagonist begins.

Five characters, five points of view, five stories that intertwine, to finally converge to the mystery of the disappearance of Evelyne Ducat. A single plot to reveal each chapter with a new elements that will shed the lights on the investigation. The tension is never let go neither the suspense which the story is full of characters that are going united with them not knowing it. There is a beauty towards this landscape of beautiful snow in the mountains and the plains as the eyes can see that is impressive. A great casting to ad to this film and you have yourselves a terrific thriller with a great ending.

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.

JUSQU’À LA GARDE (2018)

Jusqu_a_la_garde

A film by Xavier Legrand

Cast: Léa Drucker, Denis Ménochet, Thomas Gioria

English: Custody 

The couple Besson divorce. To protect her son from a father whom she accuses of violence, Miriam demands sole custody. The judge in charge of the case grants shared custody to the father whom she considers to be flouted. Held hostage between his parents, Julien will do everything to prevent the worst from happening.

This first feature is a master piece and a stroke of genius . Xavier Legrand exceeds the conventions of a social issue and offers a clean film with a stifling atmosphere, which really takes guts. Xavier Legrand had been noticed by a short film, Avant de tout perdre (2014), Oscar nominated and winning the caesar. His first film here is beautiful it is like watching a ballet everything fall into place and the story is told perfectly well. It got noticed  all over Europe very quickly. Is a matter a fact LeGrand has won the Silver Lion for Best Director in Venice. The story is fluid and dark it even fells like a film neo-noir.

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The first scene takes place in a magistrate’s court, the lawyers of estranged couple Miriam (Léa Drucker) and Antoine (Denis Ménochet) debate their clients’ parental rights. Miriam is pushing for sole custody of their 12-year-old son Julien (Thomas Gioria), accusing Antoine of intimidation as well as violence against their older daughter Josephine (Mathilde Auneveux). There is a lot of dialogue in the first scene which in cinema we are not used too. Is Antoine really this jealous and possessive of his  former spouse who puts pressure on his ex and his children? Does Miriam do too much in the role of the victim, to the point of wanting to prevent a father from showing his love for his son and his daughter? And why was the medical certificate confirming the injury of the young Josephine signed by the only school nurse? Those are the questions that you are going to ask yourself. Everyone has their reasons. The director here does not let up the tension that is going to build thought out the film and who is going to blow out toward the end. You do not know where is it going, you are going to guess and be surprise of the outcome. Thomas Gioria the child actor here shines big time. The other actors are perfectly cast and do they deliver a stunning performance. Denis Ménochet here is glad to work in French because lately he has done more film in England than France. If I was not bilingual he says in an interview I don’t know where my career would be today. Here is a film that you can not afford to miss.

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