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Fanny Ardant and Franco Nero - 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - 'Obsessive Rhythms' premiere - Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic - Sunday 6th July 2014

Fanny Ardant and Franco Nero
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Fanny Ardant

Fanny Ardant - 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - 'Obsessive Rhythms' press conference - Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic - Sunday 6th July 2014

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Fanny Ardant
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Fanny Ardant - Rendez-Vous with French Cinema: 'Bright Days Ahead' screening held at the Curzon Soho. - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 23rd April 2014

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Fanny Ardant - Bright Days Ahead premiere at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. - Toronto, Canada - Friday 13th September 2013

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Fanny Ardant Friday 22nd May 2009 2009 Cannes International Film Festival - Day 10 - 'Visage' - Photocall Cannes, France

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Fanny Ardant, Ming-liang Tsai and Laetitia Casta

Paris, Je T'aime Review


Good
One would like to think that there at least a few other cities in the world besides Paris that could have inspired a film as varied in the types of cinematic pleasure so ably delivered by the anthology piece Paris Je T'Aime -- but it seems unlikely. This isn't due to an unavailability of good stories or locations in many other great metropolises, but more because being able to dangle the possibility of shooting in Paris in front of the world's greatest directors is going to be so much more enticing. Also, there are few other cities besides Paris that come with such a powerful and multifarious wealth of preassociated images and emotions for both filmmaker and audience to both draw upon and react against. So what could have been a collection of short films with a few highs, several lows, and a lot of muddled in-betweens is in fact a remarkably and consistently imaginative body of work, practically giddy with energy, that only rarely touches the ground.

Project overseers Emmanuel Benbihy and Tristan Carné wanted to create a cinematic map of Paris, with each short film representing one of the city's 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods). They ended up with 18 films, none of them more than a few minutes long and directed by a glittering, international roster of filmmakers. While none of the films here are anything approaching masterpieces, hardly a one is in any way a chore to sit through, which has to be some sort of an accomplishment.

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Nathalie Review


Good
In Anne Fontaine's Nathalie, we're barely treated to the cozy spectacle of Parisian bourgeois respectability of married couple Bernard (Gérard Depardieu) and Catherine (Fanny Ardant) - he's a well-off businessman of some kind, she's a doctor, they move in comfortable circles - before it gets broken up by Catherine's discovery that Bernard has been having an affair. Of course, this is a French film, so when Catherine tells her mother about Bernard's serial philandering, she responds only, "What a nuisance." One can be forgiven for thinking that, even taking into account the Gallic factor, Catherine's mother lacks in the empathy department.

What makes Nathalie different than your run of the mill tale of infidelity is what Catherine decides to do after receiving this news. She frets a bit about her husband, but instead of tossing him out or simply shrugging and getting on with things, she's left uneasy, pining with curiosity. Fortunately, there's a house of ill repute just around the corner from her office, so Catherine decides to do a little field research on what makes men do these sorts of things. Popping into the "private club," all tacky red décor and overly made-up girls, Catherine drinks whiskey straight and gets to know the prettiest girl in the joint, Marlène (Emmanuelle Béart).

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Afraid Of The Dark Review


Weak
Sure, I guess blind people can be scary to a little kid, but this baffling attempt at using that setup as the premise for a horror film goes utterly nowhere. The problems begin with frame one, with a kid (Ben Keyworth) who lives with cop dad (James Fox) and blind mom (Fanny Ardant), who teaches at a school for the blind. There's some kind of serial killer on the loose (preying on blind people), and it ends up being Lucas -- a budding voyeur -- to try to solve the case. Er, sort of. Wandering and overly symbolic, this is one mess of a film that ends up making little sense at any point along the way.

Beyond The Clouds Review


Good
Michelangelo Antonioni obsesses on the naked bodies of a good half-dozen Euro-stars in this wandering tour of western European sexual relations in various combinations. Based on a collection of his own short stories, Antonioni connects four such tales (infidelity, happenstance, old-fashioned horniness, etc.) with the narrative of a film director (John Malkovich) who's looking for a story to base his next movie on. We find we're lucky enough if we can just get one story out of this two-hour ordeal, which wanders aimlessly in art-house hell as often as it enchants.

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Don't Tempt Me Review


OK
Fairly ridiculous but often fun, this supernatural satire has Victoria Abril and Penélope Cruz as angels on opposite sides of the war between good and evil. (Abril's an angel for heaven, where all is in black and white and everyone speaks French; Cruz is a servant of evil, where everyone speaks Spanish or English and works slinging food in a prison.

The battle plays out over the soul of a pathetic boxer named Manny (Demián Bichir), who makes next to no impression in the film. All eyes are on the leading ladies and the jaunts through heaven, hell, and earth. Whether Abril's performing in a cabaret or Abril is eating lunch in her waitstaff's uniform, this bizarre production keeps you wondering, well, what the hell is going on in this movie?

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8 Women Review


Weak
It's certainly admirable for a writer and/or director (in this case both) to take on a variety of genres. To pull off quirky comedy (Warm Drops on Burning Rocks) and then turn to a story of subtle human pain (Under the Sand) with as much exactness wins kudos in the Respect department. Some points for the ingenuity to weave in a handful of enthusiastic, never-used musical numbers need also be awarded. Working with deservedly reputable chameleons like Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert doesn't hurt any either. So why does 8 Women (not to be confused with 8 1/2 Women) fail to provide the simplest escapist entertainment?

Before pondering this, the question of whether or not a frivolous film is acceptable needs to be addressed. Mindless eye candy is redeemable when a) at least one character is fun to follow; b) some of the humor is fresh instead of feeling like a bunch of regurgitated stereotypes; c) not every single scene or line of dialogue is predictable, including the supposedly surprising conclusion.

Continue reading: 8 Women Review

Swann In Love Review


Good
It wasn't until 1984 that someone tried to make a movie out of a Marcel Proust novel, and for good reason: Proust isn't exactly known for brevity, simplicity, or reader friendliness.

So leave it to Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) to adapt Swann in Love, a continuation of part one (Swann's Way) of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, series of seven volumes that span some 3,000 pages. (I'm hardly a Proust expert, so if I've got the exact ID of the original text wrong, forgive me.)

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8 Women Review


Very Good

An affectionate, sophisticated parody of Technicolor melodramas and musicals of the 1950s -- with a some mock-Agatha Christie thrown in for fun -- Francios Ozon's ironic, estrogen-overloaded "8 Women" is a cinema-couture candy whodunit, full of frivolous twists and frothy performances.

Set at a snowed-in country chateau in France where the man of the house has been found dead with a knife in his back, the artificially stylized film (sets are deliberately soundstagey, Dior-inspired costumes pop with color, characters are mock-'50s stereotypes) traps all its impeccably attired suspects in the house together (The phone line's been cut! The car has been sabotaged!) and slowly reveals each of their deep, dark secrets to fuel whimsical paranoid conjecture.

Could the killer be the man's well-bred bourgeois wife (Catherine Deneuve) who was never all that fond of him? How about their chic, beautiful, ostensibly virginal elder daughter (Virginie Ledoyen) or her tomboyish teenage sister (Ludivine Sagnier)? Perhaps his live-in mother-in-law (Danielle Darrieux) -- who had been faking the need to use a wheelchair for reasons unknown -- did it?

Continue reading: 8 Women Review

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Fanny Ardant Movies

Paris, Je T'aime Movie Review

Paris, Je T'aime Movie Review

One would like to think that there at least a few other cities in the...

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8 Women Movie Review

8 Women Movie Review

It's certainly admirable for a writer and/or director (in this case both) to take on...

8 Women Movie Review

8 Women Movie Review

An affectionate, sophisticated parody of Technicolor melodramas and musicals of the 1950s -- with a...

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