Posted in French film

LES GRAND ESPRITS (2017)

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A film by Olivier Ayache-Vidal

Cast: Denis Podalydès, Abdoulaye Diallo, Marie-Julie Baup

François Foucault, in his forties, is a Professor of Letters at Lycée Henri IV, in Paris. A series of events forces him to accept a transfer of one year in a suburban school ranked REP + (The bottom of the barrel). He dreads the worst.

Olivier Ayache-Vidal, first time directing , offers us an enthusiastic vision of the educational environment which should give wings to teachers, students, parents and all those who rightly or wrongly feel that the school no longer fulfills its role of social status.

Yet François Foucault who is sure of himself uses sarcasm when his students who can even pass his class , you see  Lycée Henry IV is the best high school in Paris and his student can even get a decent score on their exams. You will see on facet of the character until Foucault goes get transfer to the auburn where the kids are the biggest pain in the ass and do not want to learn anything. François Foucault belongs to a family of intellectuals. His father, a man who is recognised and honoured by writing a book. So when Foucault goes to his new school when the students are agitated, he is going to figure out how to teach differently than he is used to. Well of course once he figures it out his colleagues are going to be jealous. Nothing new here but the film is missing z little imagination here but it is still entertaining and you will see first hand that it is not easy to be a teacher those days. Try to remember everyone ’s name is going to be a difficult task like Denis Podalydès shows us in this funny scene. Seydou (Abdoulaye Diallo) is the most rebellious kid here who will bring us some beautiful emotions. 

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Posted in French film

MONSIEUR ET MADAME ADELMAN (2017)

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A film by Nicolas Bedos

Cast: Doria Tillier, Nicolas Bedos, Denis Podalydès

How did Sarah and Victor get along for more than 45 years? Who was really this enigmatic woman living in the shadow of her husband? Love and ambition, betrayals and secrets nourish this odyssey of an unusual couple, where they are taking us on the great history of the last century.

Victor Adelman, writer. In 1971, he meets Sarah, a free spirited  and independent girl, to whom he does not attach any particular importance. On the other hand, Sarah is taken  by him. But later on would become the woman of his life. For 45 years, like all couples, they will experience ups and downs, joys and sorrows. He will make her suffer everything: his infidelities, his lack of inspiration, his perversity and even sometimes his contempt. She will become his  muse, his inspiration. Like all women in the shadows she will keep with the appearances. But we are not there yet. For now, it all begins with the end. We have just buried the famous Victor Adelman, who died in suspicious  circumstances. A young writer  proposes to write about his life life. To do this, he meets his wife who gives him what was almost half a century of living together with this unusual character.

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Can you live with someone for 45 years here, the good , the bad and the ugly is going to come out but the director here has put an element a little perverse with this  eccentric character, he put everything under a microscope the meeting the parent, the kids, meeting the future In-laws, the success the high and the lows etc…. Here the director does a great job at telling the stories in chapter and get straight to the point. It is a beautiful love story injected with comedy.

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Posted in French film

LA MÉCANIQUE DE L’OMBRE (2017)

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A film by Thomas Kruithof

Cast: François Cluzet, Denis Podalydès, Sami Bouajila

English title: The Eavesdropper

Contacted by a mysterious employer to transcribe phone surveillance , Duval ( François Cluzet)  accepts without questioning the purpose of this organization. But this simple work, if it allows him to regain a foothold in his life, will nonetheless place him very quickly in the heart of a political plot, and plunge him in spite of himself into the brutality and strangeness of the underworld of secret services.

For those who had the pleasure to see 3 days of the Condor, the conversation, and the life of others well now you have The Eavesdropper who is kicking ass the first film of 2017 and what a good way of starting the year.

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The film is very effective even if it is not without one or the other weakness. The first scene shows us our hero having a technical difficulty to find a file that is going cost  his job.  The scene is almost a gag . Is it because of that he lost his job?  Here in the story you assume that it is but you are not sure. It is left blank. The muffled and agonizing aspect of managing telephone tapping, the non-use of the Internet and computers gives a color and atmosphere essential to the film and contributes to the dramatization of the plot where an ordinary man is overtaken by the events. This man is a loner and needed a job so without asking to many questions he takes it so he can feel needed again. By the way it is not so far fetch here with the use of the typewriter because of the incident of the NSA our government as well as the Russian KGB are using typewriter as we speak when Kruithof wrote the script he had the ideas of doing an espionage film low tech. Due to the fact that our government are using typewriters again. This typewriter as well as the microcassette recorder are important in the film (there are even many images in macrophotography from inside them) adding a mechanical aspect that reflects on human beings and especially the hero Of the film brilliantly interpreted by Cluzet. But this interpretation owes much to that of the other roles, Simon Abkarian, Alba Rohrwacher, Denis Podalydès and Sami Bouajila in particular. Finally, the French audience will probably make connections specific to their country and to certain cases of espionage and international traffic! I know I did.

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Posted in Based on a true story, French film

OMAR M’A TUER (2011)

English: Omar killed me.
A film by Roschdy Zem.
Cast: Sami Bouajila, Denis Podalydès, Maurice Bénichou.
Based on a true story. June 24 1991, Ghislaine Marshall, a wealthy widow, is found murdered in the basement of her villa in Mougins, near Nice. An inscription on her door written with her blood reads, “Omar killed me” and automatically directs investigators to Omar Raddad, her Moroccan gardener who barely speaks French and is eventually sentenced to 18 years in prison, despite no evidence. Based on true events, the case of Omar Raddad outraged the media at the time and questioned the very integrity of the French juridical system against foreigners. The film tells two stories. The first one the investigation with the lock of evidence and Omar time in Prison. There was no trace of his blood on anything and when they did the DNA that was suppose to fear his name the judge refuse to believe that Omar is innocent. The frustration of his situation pushes Omar to do desperate things. I do not want to reveal too much if you din’t not know this story. Great film by Roschdy Zem.

Posted in French film

LA JOURNÉE DE LA JUPE (2008)

A film by  Jean-Paul Lilienfeld.
Cast:  Isabelle Adjani, Denis Podalydès, Yann Collette.
Sonia Bergerac (Adjani) is a French literature teacher in high school in a bad neighborhood. She increasingly resents the daily burden of violence and interaction with unmotivated students, even more so since the departure of her husband. During the rehearsal of a theatre play with one of her classes she finds a gun in a student bag struggle with a student for the gun and goes off accidentally and takes control of the situation and take hostage her class. She tries to teach the student about life. A very important thing that you should know, is the estate of Arab people living in France, their social phobia, and their lack of integration also facing racism and other issues. There is a little twist in the story. Great script, and dialogue. Beautiful performance by Adjani she won the caesar at the Cannes film festival. Most likely one of the greatest actress fem France.
A key point of the plot happened in real life even before the theatrical release. As in the movie, some students in France sent a request[2] to the Secretary of Education to propose that a Skirt Day be observed every year. The intent was to have the government issue a strong signal that it is legitimate for female teachers to dress with a skirt while teaching, instead of complying with ultra-conservative policies implicitly enforced by aggressive students.

Trailer in French