At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of accolades alongside his name. All six of his feature films have won major awards, including this one, which like several others tackles a dysfunctional family with style, humour and unflinching nastiness. This one also features a stellar cast at the top of their game, and a situation that's almost painfully easy to identify with.
It opens as Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) arrives at his rural family home for the first time in 12 years to tell his family that he's dying. But he finds it difficult to get the words out. His mother Martine (Nathalie Baye) is chirpy and excited, his older brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel) challenges everything everyone says, and their younger sister Suzanne (Lea Seydoux) is curious to learn more about this brother she never really knew. And then there's Antoine's eerily patient wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard), who quietly observes everything until she understands what Louis is struggling to tell everyone, long before he can say it out loud.
Yes, this is an exploration of how awkward it is to go home again, falling back into old patterns of behaviour that make it very difficult to be yourself and say what needs to be said. And also how hard it is to understand the experiences and lifestyle of people we were once very close to who have moved on. The film is based on a play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, which is apparent in its closed-in location and the series of pointed conversations. And Dolan opens this out cleverly, using visually stunning camerawork that continually isolates the characters' inner thoughts and feelings in contrast to their outer actions. In other words, it's immediately clear why Louis left these people behind.
Continue reading: It's Only The End Of The World Review
Gaspard Ulliel - 69th Cannes Film Festival - 'It's Only The End Of The World (Juste La Fin Du Monde)' - Photocall at Palais de Festivals, Cannes Film Festival - Cannes, France - Thursday 19th May 2016
The Marquis of Mezieres (Magnan) is only mildly annoyed that his daughter Marie (Thierry) has fallen for suave warrior Henri (Ulliel), even though she's promised to his brother (Domboy). Then a better offer comes along, and the Marquis offers her to Prince Philippe (Leprince-Ringuet), son of the Duke of Montpensier (Vuillermoz). Leaving Marie with his loyal mentor Chabannes (Wilson), Philippe rejoins battle alongside his old friend Henri in the war between the Catholics and the Huguenots. But Philippe soon becomes jealous of Henri, as well as the flirtatious Duke of Anjou (Personnaz).
Continue reading: The Princess Of Montpensier Review
In 16th century France, wars were raging between the Catholics and the Protestants. Heiress Marie de M'ziSres is forced into marriage by her father, the Marquis de M'ziSres to a man she has never met, Prince Philippe de Montpesier. Marie refuses at first, because she's in love with her handsome childhood friend, Henri de Guise.
Continue: The Princess Of Montpensier Trailer
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.
Continue reading: Paris, Je T'aime Review
The Lecter character has appeared in five different films now, which by my count is four too many. Brian Cox gets credit for first playing the imprisoned killer in Michael Mann's underrated Manhunter. But Lecter didn't become a household name until Hopkins sank his teeth into the role for The Silence of the Lambs. Since then, Hollywood has strained its muscles beating every dollar it could from this dead horse of a character. We've endured the Jodie Foster-free sequel Hannibal and Red Dragon, an unnecessary Manhunter remake with Hopkins in the Lecter role.
Continue reading: Hannibal Rising Review
Yvon, who is on the run from both the Germans and the French, takes the family to an abandoned country chateau, which he has broken into. Over the course of a few weeks they begin to live in the chateau as a makeshift family. Yvon befriends Odile's son (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) and - much to the chagrin of Odile - becomes a father figure to the boy. And in time - even though Odile is Yvan's senior by many years - they both fall for each other.
Continue reading: Strayed Review
Although it starts off like a war film - opening in the muck and mire, as all good war films must - and gives us plenty of reason to understand why these soldiers shot themselves in the hand (a sort of purposeful self-stigmata), A Very Long Engagement is really about a woman trying to find her lost love. The woman, Mathilde, is played by Jeunet's muse, Audrey Tautou, and though she doesn't here have the near-angelic glow he gave her in Amelie, she's plenty captivating nonetheless. Mathilde fell in love with her childhood friend, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), and we see their romance in flashback, all frolicking in their picturesque village, swooning episodes atop a lighthouse and innocent carnality. Then the war comes, and poor, fresh-faced Manech is sent off to the front, later to be one of the five hurled into no man's land by a callous military bureaucracy determined to make an example of them. After the war, Mathilde refuses to accept what seems obvious to everybody else, that Manech is dead, and she launches on a journey to dig up every last piece of information she can about the case and find out what happened to her one true love.
Continue reading: A Very Long Engagement Review
Fleeing the June 1940 arrival of Hitler's army in Paris, a pretty young war widow (Emanuelle Béart) and her two children are rescued from dive-bombing German fighters by a cocky, reckless teenager (Gaspard Ulliel) -- and his inbred instinct for survival quickly becomes the family's salvation in "Strayed," a drama of fugitive subsistence and uneasy camaraderie from French director André Téchiné ("Alice et Martin").
Much to the discomfort of Béart, who clings idealistically and insistently to the conventions of civilized society as the world falls apart around her, the courageous but disconcerting young man leads her family far off the beaten path, convinced that nowhere is safe to hide until they stumble upon a remote and abandoned chateau.
Over the course of several weeks as squatters (or maybe it's months -- the film's timeline is unclear), an uneasy new family unit forms as Béart's 13-year-old son (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) takes a brotherly shine to his emotionally unpredictable savior, whose elusive, paranoid behavior suggests he may be a deserter. But while the young man's looting of empty villages becomes their sustenance, his volatility and cache of weapons taken off dead soldiers keeps the mother on edge.
Continue reading: Strayed Review
Diamond Dogs was released on this day (May 24) in 1974.
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Forest Live at Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent is on between 14th and 16th June.
Add this guy to your playlist ASAP.
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Fleeing the June 1940 arrival of Hitler's army in Paris, a pretty young war widow...