Drama

JUSTIN DE MARSEILLE (1935)

affiche justin de marseille maurice tourneur

A film by Maurice Tourneur

Antonin Berval, Pierre Larquey, Alexandre Rignault 

Justin is a bandit with a big heart: he protects the weak and it is worth it  to him to be respected and appreciated by a great majority of people of Marseille. The only shadow on Justin’s board is Esposito, a dark character with the head of a band of dangerous criminals.

Maurice Tourneur is one of French cinema’s important directors who enjoyed tremendous success not only in France but in Germany and USA too where he made some major films. Studio Pathé has  released an important DVD box set which features some of his best known films Justin De Marseille is one of the earliest successful gangster film in French cinema. Tourneur here had sa lot of success in America as well he reinvented story telling. He influenced a lot of directors. “Show the people anything, but show them something,” he declared in an interview. Story telling had to be done right. As for this story it was done right, the thing is that I love the most is the landscape to how was Marseille Back then. I went back a few years ago and did it aver changed. It is about the rivalry of two gangster and how they are going to battle it out. Justin here help the one in need but keep in mind he is a gangster who deals drugs or even steals it from his rival gang. In the mix there is a girl who just got in Marseille and looking for a job but ends up in bed with one of the rival gangster. A terrific film here with one happy and confident loving by the people of Marseille Justin, who thinks this is all fun a games. Funny at times and well filmed with some beautiful scenery. If you can get the coffret I suggest it is worth it.

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CESSEZ-LE-FEU (2017)

CESSEZ-LE-FEU (2017)

A film by Emmanuel Courcol

Cast: Romain Duris, Mathilde Courcol-Rozès, Arnaud Dupont, Céline Sallette

English: Cease fire (translation of the title)

1923. George (Romain Duris) , a hero of the 1914 war fleeing his past, has for four years led a nomadic and adventurous life in Africa when he decides to return to France. He finds his mother and his brother Marcel, a war invalid walled up in silence. Unable to regain a place in this post-war period when life went on without him, he meets Helene (Céline Sallette)  a sign language teacher with whom he forges a tormented relationship …

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It is to pay tribute to his grandfather that Emmanuel Courcol, who is the first feature film and who is known mainly as co-screenwriter of the films of Philippe Lioret, had the desire to address this Historical period. 1914-1918 is the first “modern” war, infamous for the physical consequences it has left the soldiers. On the other hand, few specialists have studied the psychological consequences of this type of conflict, what is now known as “post-traumatic stress disorder” due to the impossibility of returning to civilian life. The opening scene Has this raw realism that is enough to account for this bloody horror. Then everything calms down. We are in 1923, five years after the end of the war. One discovers a Paris where people are moving on and forgetting the war. The money of the wealthy flows freely, the carelessness of this new society, has an insolent luxury of the hideous and above all the arrogance of the new generation that is spreading  out everywhere. For Georges, a wounded, ex-soldier  and lonely man who no longer finds his place in this world which he does not recognize, it is unbearable. So he goes to Africa, well for some reason I will not mention he see the film he goes back to France. Georges’ brother did not recover well from the war. There George meet this free-spirited independent  woman who is maybe going to be good for him or not. Emmanuel Courcol is showing us an elegant and sober look on a painful period of our history. He also paints a precise picture of a contrasting period, magnified by the illuminations of Tom Stern, who transports us from the trenches but in France and Africa as well. There are superb colourful costumes as well as a beautiful scenery of the countries. Very good for a first film, I will give you a warning some of you will not like this film. This film is about relationship and the soldier coming back home not knowing if they are going to be integrated  in society again.

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EL HOMBRE DE LAS MIL CARAS (2017)

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A  film by Alberto Rodríguez

Cast: José Coronado, Eduard Fernández, Miquel García Borda

English : The Man with Thousand Faces

Francisco Paesa, former Spanish secret agent, is committed to resolve a case of embezzlement of money likely to lead to a state scandal. The man sees the opportunity to enrich himself while avenging the government that betrayed him in the past. Then begins one of the most incredible political and financial intrigues of recent years: the true story of a man who deceived a whole country and knocked down a government.

God dam!! what a film. Genius I might have. Here is a smart, captivating and brilliantly  film. The film is technically remarkable. In the beginning, we get lost a bit, then the magic takes shape. Filmed in France, Singapore, Switzerland and Spain, Director Rodriguez out did himself in this film. With a budget of 4,5 millions Dollars this film has an enormous success all over Europe. Based on Manuel Cerdán’s book, that the director appreciated, back in the 90’s Rodriguez decided to adapt the book into a screenplay. It was the biggest financial scandal in Spain, back in the 90’s. Here Rodriguez set the pace from the beginning of the film with some cool rhythm music.  The film has this narration and even depict the financial jargon so you can understand better the event that took place. Here the english title is going to be “Smoke and Mirrors” it is far from the traduction. Who cares see this film that is brilliantly filmed where the 90’s was recreated beautifully well even the costumes by Rodriguez.

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C’EST BEAU LA VIE QAND ON Y PENSE (2017)

c'est beau la vie quand on y pense

A film by Gérard Jugnot

Cast: Gérard Jugnot, François Deblock, Isabelle Mergault

English: It is a beautiful life when we think of it. 

Loïc le Tallec, in his sixties, never really took care of his son. When his son dies in a car accident Loïc is devastated. He learned that his son has a donor’s card and his heart is in a body of an other young man. Loïc try to find him.

Nothing original here but it is a nice little comedy where you are going to learn a little bit about the Bretagne a region north-west of France. All of this in the magnificent scenery and capricious weather of Bretagne. Of course there is comedy here and the film is a little predictable. But it is easy to watch even fun and the beautiful scenery plus the actors are fine here. Touching and funny, this comedy about a father in search of redemption is a skillful mix between laughter and emotion. It is a beautiful fable like in France we know how to make deep in humanities and optimism. voila no more no less.

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LADY MACBETH (2017)

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A  film by William Oldroyd

Cast; Florence Pugh, Christopher Fairbank, Cosmo Jarvis

1865, Rural England. Katherine (Florence Pugh) has a unhappy life of a loveless marriage with a Lord (Paul Hilton) who has twice her aged. One day, she falls in love with a young groom who works on her husband’s land and discovers passion.

The focus of the story is Catherine of course. Here is an adaptation of a 19th century Russian novella, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. When her husband and father-in-law leave their estate on a business trip, Katherine is left alone with the  staff, and embarks on a steamy affair with the groomsman, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis). Well at the beginning of the films she has trouble to just to her new life with her husband. Katherine isn’t exactly subtle about her cheating, so it does not take long for the star to find out about it.  But her personal maid Anna (Naomi Ackie), is a little scared because she knows she’ll be the one punished for her mistress’s indiscretions. Lady Macbeth has  a complex study of gender, class and racial politics, with  the difficulties of having all three intersecting. It is like she is rebelling against her husband who is unable to satisfy her and her needs.  The actress here is standing out which she is fairly new at this acting thing but delivers a role of a life time by nailing it dead on. As for the rest of the cast they have done an outstanding job as well. Not an easy thing to act with facial expression without saying a word. Light on dialogue, as the director tell his story in a cinematic fashion, with subtle gestures, wicked smiles and nervous faces and beautiful photography. Voila!!!

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FENCES (2016)

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A film byDenzel Washington

Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson

The man is that he is one of the world’s great talkers. He, Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington)  enters the screen as this nice dude talking  with his friend Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and teasing his wife, Rose (Viola Davis). Rose and Bono have known each other for years. Troy is by turns funny, provocative, inspiring and hurtful, but sometimes is quiet as hell. There are plenty of speech here with of course the occasional profanities. It is from a play from August Wilson. Denzel revived the play by playing in it then wanted to direct it on film, and what a beautiful film it is. No couple is perfect here as you are going to find out as the story goes one . It is well paced with plenty of dialogue.

Troy, 53 years old and employed as a sanitation worker, has a physical assurance of the athlete he used to be. Well he has speeches how great he was in baseball. When in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the major-league color line, it was too late for Troy he has a bitterness against Corey his son. He wants his son to do better than him and not the same mistake he has done. But troy here is bitter about a few things. Yes he went to jail , got out but came out bitter and cruel at times. Rose here solves problems her husband has created. The relationship will create friction a times but one event will create a monster of a friction here where Rose who is played beautifully well by Viola Davis who got an Oscar for the role is trying to solve the problem but is angry as hell at Troy. A the end of the film you will know who Troy is . It is a most painfully, beautiful and honest film.

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Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

CORPORATE (2017)

CORPORATE

A film by Nicolas Silhol

Cast: Céline Sallette, Lambert Wilson, Stéphane De Groodt

What don’t you understand? we do not want you any more. So quit already. Yes it it going on all aver the world This sort of comportment in the corporate world.

Emilie Tesson-Hansen ( Cécile Sallette) , the human resources manager of the financial department of the Esen Group loses her cool to a long time suffering employee she set a series of events that will follow. For starter the suicide of this particular employee. You see Emilie is from the humans resources and has to tell the employee that they are trying to get rid off without touching employment. She is train for that. her entire professional world and her perception of herself that’s about to turn upside down. Cécile Sallette incarnate her character beautifully well. Emilie does her job well and has no problem with it but when the incident occur then she begins to question herself. They used the strategy that is called Ambition 2016 plan that uses behavioural evaluations to target those who resist change. But when the boss (Lambert Wilson) is afraid that is going to backfire and they are going to point the finger at him he is using Emilie as his escape goat. First film by Niclas Sihol here who has written the screen play has done a great deal of research here to know how the system work plus the lingo that goes with it.  voila c’est tout.

CORPORATE (2017)

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