Jacques Spiesser

Jacques Spiesser

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She's One Of Us Review


Weak
Christine (Sasha Andres) is an office temp suffering from some sort of spiritual malaise brought about by France's cold, impersonal capitalist society. Or is it just that she's a strange, socially retarded whack-job incapable of making friends or interacting with coworkers? Siegrid Alnoy's She's One of Us presents Christine's dilemma as an ambiguous mixture of aimless dissatisfaction and desperate alienation, yet the film is so infuriatingly languorous and studied that it feels like 3 Women (or Crime and Punishment, or any Alain Resnais effort) as adapted by Albert Camus. Alnoy seems to have a gripe against the dehumanizing modern world. Unfortunately, as far as one can tell from the director's debut, such displeasure is as unfocused and amorphous as her film's torpid, affected narrative.

She's One of Us' international title, For She's a Jolly Good Fellow, might have added a touch of wry irony to this ponderous pseudo-thriller. As it stands, however, Alnoy's formalized film plods along with an unwarranted air of profundity. Christine, her last name (Blanc) hinting at her overwhelming vacuity, shuffles wide-eyed from one high-rise office job to another, failing at each to make an impact on her disinterested colleagues. Determined to make nice-nice with someone, she latches onto her temp agency boss Patricia (Catherine Mouchet), lying about a shared affinity for collectible glass owls and repeating snippets of conversation she's overheard at the grocery store. For reasons unknown, Patricia begins to spend her free time with Christine, but things go haywire when, in a fit of embarrassed rage while at a local swimming pool, Catherine lethally lashes out at her new friend.

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La Truite Review


OK
There really are fish in La Truite ("the trout"): The film opens as Isabelle Huppert is bored silly squeezing semen out of a fish on the family trout farm. It's an allegory for her own mailaise, and within 20 minutes of screen time, she's abandoned her gay husband and is off to Tokyo with a wealthy businessman.

Ever the free spirit, Huppert's Frédérique has a vague Peter Pan syndrome crossed with exhibitionism. Since her youth (you can tell it's a flashback because she has really long hair), she's made a vow to always woo money out of men by playing neo-whore, but without having sex with them. Heading to Japan with a man (Daniel Olbrychski) she meets in a bowling alley (where else would she encounter him!?) is just this to the nth degree. There she encounters another man's wife (Jeanne Moreau), who tells her about satori, the "world of ecstasy."

Continue reading: La Truite Review

Black And White In Color Review


Very Good
Its message is more enduring in regards to war than in regards to race relations, but Black and White in Color is nonetheless a classic still worthy of its Best Foreign Film Oscar, won way back in 1977.

Released just in time for a wave of anti-French sentiment, the film follows a French colony in Africa's Ivory Coast on the eve of World War I. The Frenchmen discover that war has been declared, so they figure they'll do their part by attacking the German colony up the river. After all, they have six rifles, and one of them's an automatic.

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