Jacques Nolot

Jacques Nolot

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Before I Forget Review


Excellent
Beauty fades, and so does everything else. That seems to be the pragmatic if depressing message of Before I Forget, an intense character study of a Parisian man who seems willing to let his life steadily devolve. At age 58, he's done and seen it all, and he can't muster the energy to keep going.

Pierre (Jacques Nolot), who has been HIV-positive for more than 20 years, made his way through much of his life as a hustler, or, to put it in more upper-class terminology, a gigolo. Attached for years to a wealthy older lover named Toutoune, who has recently died, he finds himself financially drained, cheated out of an inheritance from Toutoune, and pretty much adrift. He's concerned about his health but not concerned enough to go on a stronger drug cocktail out of fear of side effects such as hair loss. Flashes of vanity like this are amusing, even to Pierre, because he's certainly well aware that he isn't what he used to be.

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Under the Sand Review


Excellent
François Ozon has been busy the last couple of years dickering around with the crude sensationalism of Sitcom and Criminal Lovers, films that resemble biting the heads off chickens. This talented young auteur offers a welcome change of pace from this recent spate of puerile shock-value thrillers with the restrained, quietly haunting character study, Under the Sand. Ozon's latest feature returns to the quietly haunting rigor of his first international success, See the Sea: disturbing, minimalist, perceptive.

Much of the tension in Ozon's best work remains unspoken, or deliberately unexplained. In that spirit, he concocts a delicious mystery in the extended opening sequence as middle aged professor Marie Drillon (Charlotte Rampling, superb as ever) enjoys an annual summer vacation to the south of France with her husband of 25 years, Jean (giant teddy bear Bruno Cremer). They seem a happy couple, comfortable in their silences as they go about the routines of putting their chateau in order, cooking meals, sunbathing on the beach. Jean goes for a swim one day, but to Marie's shock, he never comes back.

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Porn Theatre Review


OK
Would you walk into a respectable movie theater to see a film called The Two-Headed Pussy? Probably not. That's why Jacques Nolot's skanky yet somewhat interesting film, entitled La Chatte à Deux Têtes in France, was renamed twice, first as Glowing Eyes for the international audience and then as Porn Theatre for us more literal-minded Americans. No matter what you call it, this slice of X-rated life, set on a typical afternoon in a particularly seedy Parisian porn house, is a chilly dose of despair leavened by a touch of humor.

The world-weary cashier (Vittoria Scognamiglio) at this theater of ill repute has seen it all, and the pigeons soiling her sidewalk are far more annoying to her than the parade of tranny hustlers and desperate perverts who head down the steep flight of stairs (a Hell symbol?) into the theater. She enjoys regaling the hunky young new-in-town projectionist (Sébastien Viala) with tales of her wanton youth while she knocks back shots of whiskey and sympathizes with the constant complaints of the bitchy drag queens who visit daily. One has to give her credit: She really seems to enjoy her work.

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Under The Sand Review


OK

Charlotte Rampling puts a dignified face on denial in "Under the Sand," a cinematic meditation on the multitude of emotions that come with the devastating loss of a loved one.

She plays Marie, a 50-something, upper middle-class woman whose comfortable life of familiar rhythms is thrown out of balance when her husband disappears while she's napping at the beach during their regular summer vacation.

Not entirely willing to presume he's drown, and somewhat tormented by the lack of closure, Marie returns to teaching her English Lit class at a Paris university and goes about her life imagining her husband is still alive. At dinner parties she speaks of him as if he stayed at home with a cold that night, which rattles her friends who don't know quite how to respond. When she goes home, she imagines him still there and conjures up daydreams of continued normalcy. When she's making breakfast she pours him coffee. When she's shopping she buys him ties.

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