Cedric Klapisch

Cedric Klapisch

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Chinese Puzzle Review


Very Good

French filmmaker Cedric Klapisch keeps the tone light and the serious themes just under the surface as he revisits the lively characters from The Spanish Apartment (2002) and Russian Dolls (2005). Despite its comical plotting, the film remains grounded in real life, this time in an ethnically blended corner of New York City as the characters turn 40 and face major life changes. It's a relaxed, enjoyable romp that sometimes feels rather silly but continually catches the whiff of an important issue.

Our hero Xavier (Romain Duris) is living in Paris, exhausted by the surprises life won't stop throwing at him. The latest shock comes from his girlfriend Wendy (Kelly Reilly), who announces that she's taking their children (Pablo Mugnier-Jacob and Margaux Mansart) and moving back to Manhattan, where she plans to live with another man. Stunned, and knowing he can write anywhere, Xavier follows her and moves in with his old pal Isabelle (Cecil De France) and her girlfriend Ju (Sandrine Holt) in Brooklyn. Perhaps now Xavier might also be able to be in the life of the child he has helped Isabelle conceive to raise with Ju. So he finds a woman, Nancy (Li Jun Li), who will marry him so he can get an American visa. Then his ex-girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou) comes for a visit, sparking old feelings that complicate everything.

Yes, the scene is set for a wild farce of a final act as Martine, the immigration investigators, Isabelle and Ju and a variety of kids all converge on Xavier's new Chinatown flat. This wacky slapstick gets rather grating, since there are so many more interesting places this film could have gone, but it's funny and very nicely played by the cast of shamelessly charming actors. Each portrays a person who is incapable of making the most important decisions in their lives, which gives the film a loose sense of authenticity even if the events feel rather contrived.

Continue reading: Chinese Puzzle Review

Chinese Puzzle Trailer


Xavier Rousseau is heartbroken when his British wife Wendy leaves him for a man she met in New York and takes their two children with her. Determined to maintain contact with his kids, he flies over to America from France and attempts to become an American citizen in any way he can; from donating his sperm to a lesbian couple to marrying a Chinese woman. He meets Wendy's new boyfriend, who happens to be annoyingly nice and - to Wendy's irritation - highly sympathetic to Xavier's dilemma in moving to a foreign country, and he even has chance to reconnect with an old lover, Martine, who has come to visit him and wants to make a fresh start. As he tries to get his life back on track, things just keep getting harder and harder.

Continue: Chinese Puzzle Trailer

L'Auberge Espagnole Review


Good
A movie like L'Auberge Espagnole should feel like an embrace. You should be pulled into the close-knit environment of seven young, smart, sexy Europeans living together in a Barcelona flat (The title translates to "Euro Pudding"). You should feel the confusion of the movie's young protagonist as he struggles with his feelings for three women.

Though it is a solid movie with some astute observations, L'Auberge Espagnole constantly pushes you away like a busy parent on a deadline. The movie never makes a connection because it's too busy tackling too many subjects, instead of focusing on doing one thing well.

Continue reading: L'Auberge Espagnole Review

Russian Dolls Review


OK
Not to be confused with the Aussie romance Russian Doll, Russian Dolls is actually a follow-up to the L'Auberge Espagnole, a polyglot confection about a bunch of college roommates living in Barcelona for the summer and undergoing many (largely romantic) misadventures. Five years later we catch up with the characters, comprising most of the original cast (including the since-big-and-famous Audrey Tautou, though she's not on screen for long). Have they grown emotionally, professionally, or intellectually? Well, yes and no, and we'll trot all across Europe to find out how they have and haven't.

Though there are several minor stories here, one sucks up most of the screen time. We start with Xavier (Romain Duris), whose career as a writer hasn't exactly been a hit: He's now co-writing a TV soap opera. His love life looks pretty sweet, though: A parade of women who speak every known language. Unfulfilling, but quite interesting for the audience, no?

Continue reading: Russian Dolls Review

Un Air De Famille Review


OK
There are exactly three moments in this movie that are really worth watching, and one of them comes when a fashionable woman's choker is mistaken for a dog collar (an obvious joke I know, but always funny). The other two moments are the only two times that this relentless work of realism even begins to approach optimism.

Un Air de Famille, or Family Resemblances by its English title, is your typical under-drama from the French cinema. It is a single setting observation of the interactions of an estranged family at the weekly family dinner, when tensions begin to run high. I would mention the performances here, but they all kind of run into one melancholy melange, ultimately resulting in very striking resemblances between the characters, at least insofar as my opinion of them.

Continue reading: Un Air De Famille Review

L'Auberge Espagnole Review


Good
A movie like L'Auberge Espagnole should feel like an embrace. You should be pulled into the close-knit environment of seven young, smart, sexy Europeans living together in a Barcelona flat (The title translates to "Euro Pudding). You should feel the confusion of the movie's young protagonist as he struggles with his feelings for three women.

Though it is a solid movie with some astute observations, L'Auberge Espagnole constantly pushes you away like a busy parent on a deadline. The movie never makes a connection because it's too busy tackling too many subjects, instead of focusing on doing one thing well.

Continue reading: L'Auberge Espagnole Review

Cedric Klapisch

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Cedric Klapisch Movies

Chinese Puzzle Movie Review

Chinese Puzzle Movie Review

French filmmaker Cedric Klapisch keeps the tone light and the serious themes just under the...

Chinese Puzzle Trailer

Chinese Puzzle Trailer

Xavier Rousseau is heartbroken when his British wife Wendy leaves him for a man she...

L'Auberge Espagnole Movie Review

L'Auberge Espagnole Movie Review

A movie like L'Auberge Espagnole should feel like an embrace. You should be pulled into...

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L'Auberge Espagnole Movie Review

L'Auberge Espagnole Movie Review

A movie like L'Auberge Espagnole should feel like an embrace. You should be pulled into...

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