May 3rd 2015
So, the movie marathon for this week – reportage:
Le Havre (Aki Kaurismaki) 2011. I remember this one coming to the cinemas and I had always meant to see it back then. It is a delightful film about a community hiding a young African illegal immigrant before trying to get him safely re-united with his mother in England. This story is delicately intertwined with the shoe-shiner, Marcel’s (the boy’s protector) wife’s sudden illness and hospitalisation. It is a delightful, yet simple film which is so very French (right down to the in-joke about whether Mont St Michel is in Normandy or Brittany).
Me and You and Everyone we Know (Miranda July) 2006. With the discomfort of a Noah Baumbach film, this one goes everywhere with its young cast that you’d probably rather not see on screen (or is that just my sensitivities). It is quirky, strange, strained, awkward and so very arthouse. Its R rating is for good reason, and if you’re not a fan of seeing sexualised youngsters on film, I’d steer clear of it. I enjoyed it for all of its boundary-pushing. I think it deals with serious issues bravely and with a large dose of whimsy. It deservedly has won at lots of festivals and the main actress (along with being it’s writer and director), Miranda July is great.
HeartBreaker (Pascal Chaumeil) 2011. What is there not to like about a film with Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis trying not to fall in love? Especially as they’re scooting around Monarco. It had a flavour of the high jinx of the Ocean’s 11 series mixed with Audrey Tatou’s, Priceless that I watched last year. It is always cool to see things catching up with tricksters and tricksters speaking French, well you already know I’m in heaven there! It was also nice to see Belgian, François Damiens again. He was fantastic in Le Famille Belier and I loved him in Delicacy, with Audrey Tatou. He has made over 30 films since 2000 – he’s a machine!
Lourdes (Jessica Hausner) 2011. I have long thought I’d like to see the spectacle of this place in the south of France where hoards of pilgrims line up to see the site of St Bernadette’s apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes in the 1800s. This was a very meditative, if a little naive look at one pilgrim’s experience. There is minimal dialogue, and it moves slowly, but it is an interesting study of the place and pilgrims and basically, human nature – very quick to believe the unbelievable, however when it happens cutting down the tall poppy. This film got best film in Vienna, Warsaw and Seville, not surprisingly given those country’s Catholic heritages. If you’re put off by religion, Catholicism and miracles, don’t watch it. It was good armchair tourism for me.
Note: in 2015, I did visit Lourdes on a detour from my Via Tolosana walk.
Letters to Father Jacob (Klaus Haro). A topical film for this week, this beautiful Finnish film asks the big questions about pardon, forgiveness, compassion, and the power of love. It is the story of Leila, a pardoned life-sentenced prisoner and her new role of letter reader for the blind priest, Jacob. Once again, a contemplative, but deeply moving film about who benefits from our service to others. Also such a simple exploration and plea for understanding of the troubled lives of people who commit murder. Once again, lots of awards won for this one. The cover compared it with As it is in Heaven, and I’d agree it had the weight and skill of that film, however was rather minimalistic by comparison.
Well, that’s your lot for the week 🙂! Took me two weeks to get through that lot.