Margaret Menegoz

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Margaret Menegoz, Emmanuelle Riva, Michael Haneke and Susanne Haneke - The Consul General Of France, Mr. Axel Cruau, Honours The French Nominees for the 85th Annual Academy Awards - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 25th February 2013

Margaret Menegoz, Emmanuelle Riva, Michael Haneke and Susanne Haneke
Margaret Menegoz and Michael Haneke
Mr. Axel Cruau, Margaret Menegoz, Emmanuelle Riva, Michael Haneke and Susanne Haneke
The Consul General Of France, Mr. Axel Cruau and Margaret Menegoz
Mr. Axel Cruau, Margaret Menegoz, Emmanuelle Riva, Michael Haneke and Susanne Haneke
The Consul General Of France, Mr. Axel Cruau and Margaret Menegoz

Amour Review


Extraordinary

A striking look at a long-term relationship, this film is an antidote to those who are tired of shamelessly sweet depictions of retirees, such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or Hope Springs. Meanwhile, it's perhaps the most emotionally resonant film yet from Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, who specialises in crisp explorations of the darker side of humanity (see The White Ribbon or Cache). By contrast, this Cannes-winner is a clear-eyed drama about ageing that completely avoids manipulation and schmaltz, but is still deeply moving.

The story takes place largely in one apartment in Paris, where Georges and Anne (Trintignant and Riva) are enjoying their golden years. Then one night, after attending a concert by one of Anne's former piano students, she has a small seizure that's just the first step in a slide into partial paralysis. Georges is happy to care for her, and they still have moments of happiness. Even when their daughter (Huppert) barges in and tries to meddle with their decisions about the future. As Anne's condition deteriorates, Georges gets help from his neighbours (Agirre and Blanco) and a nurse (Franck). But he never feels that taking care of Anne is a burden.

Unsurprisingly, Haneke tells this story without even a hint of sentimentality. Even though the premise lends itself to big emotions, he keeps everything quietly authentic. The flat itself almost becomes a character in the story, with each outsider's arrival as a kind of invasion. Scenes are captured in his usual long, unbroken takes with no background music to tell us how to feel. Instead, we experience the situations along with Georges, and we understand why he takes such a practical approach, refusing to overdramatise even the most emotive events.

Continue reading: Amour Review

Danton Review


Excellent
Long before we arrive at the time and place where Andrzej Wajda's captivating Danton takes place, democracy itself had failed. Has it gotten better since the days of guillotines and powdered wigs? The answer is muddled, but behind it all still lurks the fear of that blade, its finality and the power that gives whoever holds the rope from which it hangs.

Georges Danton, the titular Parisian political firebrand who was put under the blade in April 1794, is played here by the incomparable Gérard Depardieu, and it may very well be one of the mighty, imposing actor's best performances. Danton returns to Paris to decry the Reign of Terror that, under the hand of the Revolution, had claimed countless lives and allowed the Committees to continue to do what they want without bowing to scrutiny or criticism. Instead, rather quickly, the one-time revolutionist was jailed along with several other politicians and accused of trying to bring down the Revolution.

Continue reading: Danton Review

Caché Review


OK
A low-rent setup for two penthouse-level thespians, Michael Haneke's Caché is somehow rigorous yet formless, absolutely exacting in its procedure, yet seemingly bereft of intent and meaning, scrupulously acted for not much reason at all. Derived from the same nervous Parisian bourgeois milieu as writer/director Haneke's Code Unknown but quite a bit more tightly-packed, it's a thriller wrapped inside a moral lesson and presented with the glassy omnipotence of the true voyeur.

The story owes a debt on some level to that greatest of cinematic voyeurs, Hitchcock, whose corpulent presence seems constantly in the filmmaker's mind. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil plays Anne and Georges Laurent, a perfectly respectable married example of the modern Paris intelligentsia. She works for a publisher where she can set her own hours, while he hosts a literary TV talk show. They have a nice little flat and a nice son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). This is all filled in later, however, as the first thing we see is a static shot of the Laurent household which turns out to be a videotape Anne and Georges are watching which had been left on their doorstep with no explanation. Someone simply set up a videocamera across from their flat and filmed it for hours on end. Things escalate, of course, with tapes mysteriously appearing, soon with childlike drawings attached, of a face spitting blood, a chicken getting its head cut off. Someone starts calling for Georges, sending the tapes to his work, sending the notes to Pierrot at school. And there is no demand, no message, no anything but the constant surveillance and the feeling (soon proven) that the watcher knows more than the Laurents would like about themselves and their past, especially Georges'.

Continue reading: Caché Review

Koko, A Talking Gorilla Review


Excellent
What separates man from animal? The ability to construct a society? The ability to understand complex thought? Or is it the ability to speak?

According to the lessons of Koko, a Talking Gorilla, it's the lattermost of these. Barbet Schroeder got amazing access to several days of training sessions with the now-famous Koko, the gorilla who was taught American sign language by the time she was six and eventually learned several hundred words, plus the ability to use a rudamentary computer to "speak" aloud.

Continue reading: Koko, A Talking Gorilla Review

Summer Review


Bad
Eric Rohmer has never been one for getting to the point. In Summer, the listless Delphine (Marie Rivière) wanders through a summer of abortive romances and holidays, looking for love all over France. How do we know it's summer? Because title cards tell us of every single day that passes. Eventually she goes home, lonely and unfulfilled. Stay awake through this 90-minute exercise in conceitedness (which presumably tells us how the modern world makes us all sad and pathetic) and you'll be rewarded with... well, with nothing. Congrats, more meaningless cinema under your belt.

Continue reading: Summer Review

The Time Of The Wolf Review


Good
What is it about French filmmakers and the word "wolf?" This is the second French film in three years to ostensibly cover the lupine species... even though it doesn't really.

Director Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) offers a tantalizing setup this go-round, yet he ultimately does nothing with it. Here's the gist: A family arrives at their vacation house under suspicious (and weirdly hazy) circumstances, only to find squatters living inside. Soon Haneke reveals that some (unexplained) apocalyptic event has transpired, scattering people across the countryside. What happens when people try to survive a nuclear winter (or thereabouts)? Does soceity break down or does it rebuild?

Continue reading: The Time Of The Wolf Review

Caché Review


OK
A low-rent setup for two penthouse-level thespians, Michael Haneke's Caché is somehow rigorous yet formless, absolutely exacting in its procedure, yet seemingly bereft of intent and meaning, scrupulously acted for not much reason at all. Derived from the same nervous Parisian bourgeois milieu as writer/director Haneke's Code Unknown but quite a bit more tightly-packed, it's a thriller wrapped inside a moral lesson and presented with the glassy omnipotence of the true voyeur.

The story owes a debt on some level to that greatest of cinematic voyeurs, Hitchcock, whose corpulent presence seems constantly in the filmmaker's mind. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil plays Anne and Georges Laurent, a perfectly respectable married example of the modern Paris intelligentsia. She works for a publisher where she can set her own hours, while he hosts a literary TV talk show. They have a nice little flat and a nice son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). This is all filled in later, however, as the first thing we see is a static shot of the Laurent household which turns out to be a videotape Anne and Georges are watching which had been left on their doorstep with no explanation. Someone simply set up a videocamera across from their flat and filmed it for hours on end. Things escalate, of course, with tapes mysteriously appearing, soon with childlike drawings attached, of a face spitting blood, a chicken getting its head cut off. Someone starts calling for Georges, sending the tapes to his work, sending the notes to Pierrot at school. And there is no demand, no message, no anything but the constant surveillance and the feeling (soon proven) that the watcher knows more than the Laurents would like about themselves and their past, especially Georges'.

Continue reading: Caché Review

Our Lady Of The Assassins Review


Bad
Inner city intrigue in Colombia never looked so lifeless. This violent, gay, 45-years-difference love triangle set in Medellin is a complete misfire from the first frame (it's all done on chintzy video) to the last. City of God it ain't.

Continue reading: Our Lady Of The Assassins Review

Tricheurs Review


Excellent
Gambling and addiction are common -- maybe too common -- themes that appear regularly in the movies. But gambling addiction hasn't ever found much of a thematic foothold, despite some noble failures.

Barbet Schroeder's Tricheurs (aka Cheaters) is an underseen and unappreciated masterwork, writ small and perfectly crafted to devastate. The story follows Elric (Jacques Dutronc), a serial gambler who plies the casinos on the island of Madeira and never seems to win. Rather, it's not that he can't win, it's that he doesn't know when to quit if he does. Elric plays roulette, the game with the worst odds but which carries the highest potential payoff: $35 against a $1 bet. All it takes is a couple of big wins before Elric blows his funds on wild bets and promptly loses it all.

Continue reading: Tricheurs Review

The Season Of Men Review


OK
The Season of Men is a ponderous portrait of Arab women slowly freeing themselves from tradition, each generation getting just a touch more gutsy than the one before it.

Aicha (Rabia Ben Abdallah) is the matron who starts the domino effect. After being married to Said (Ezzedine Gennoun) for some time, she decides she doesn't want to wait for the one month of the year that he returns, as is the custom of the village. Said finally relents that if she bears him a son, the family will move to the city with him. It's the dream of every woman in the village, each wife takes turns to joyfully brag about it even knowing the chances it will actually happen are slim.

Continue reading: The Season Of Men Review

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Margaret Menegoz Movies

Amour Movie Review

Amour Movie Review

A striking look at a long-term relationship, this film is an antidote to those who...

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The Season of Men Movie Review

The Season of Men Movie Review

The Season of Men is a ponderous portrait of Arab women slowly freeing themselves from...

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