Michel Saint-jean

Michel Saint-jean

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The Monk [Le Moine] Review


Very Good
This 16th century freak-out is ravishingly beautiful to look at, but it's also turgid and relentlessly grim. So what's essentially a dark supernatural thriller will only really appeal to arthouse audiences.

Left on the steps of an isolated Spanish monastery as an infant, Ambrosio (Cassel) has grown up to be a celebrated priest, wowing the population of nearby Madrid with his radical sermons. But he's haunted by visions, as well as a dark secret kept by an oddly powerful woman (Francois). Meanwhile, young Antonia (Japy) is being wooed by the sexy Lorenzo (Noaille), a match her mother (Mouchet) approves but worries about. And no one has a clue that all of their fates are intertwined.

Continue reading: The Monk [Le Moine] Review

The Page Turner Review


OK
Drained bourgeois chill is so 2001. Denis Dercourt's debut thriller The Page Turner has the ethereal calm of a "Sounds of the Ocean" mix tape and it doesn't seem the least bit interested in disrupting that tone. With its demented psychosexual ramblings and robust flourishes of music, this would-be Chabrol rip-off (without the humor and panache) has a certain charm about it, but that doesn't constitute a successful exercise necessarily.

As a young butcher's daughter, Melanie had talent at the piano. Her father would stay up and listen to her play while saving up enough money to possibly send her off to an academy that deals in gifted pianists. Her audition gets sabotaged when one of the instructors, Ariane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot), allows an autograph hound into the recital, breaking her concentration. She goes home, locks up her piano, and puts her little Mozart statue in the closet.

Continue reading: The Page Turner Review

Lemming Review


Excellent
The plight and paranoia of young marriage (and adulthood) has found a giddy practitioner in German director Dominik Moll. Moll's second film, With a Friend Like Harry..., took a very direct approach to the idea by using the return of a high school friend as a way to look into the boredom and grind of young parenthood, while also using the friend's sensuous fiancé as a point of catharsis. However simple that may seem, Harry was one of the best films of 2000, and now Moll is back with a much trickier proposition in Lemming.

Alain Getty (Laurent Lucas) has a nice job at an engineering firm where he is designing a new kind of webcam that can help in everyday tasks. His wife Benedicte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) hasn't found a job yet and is still unpacking their things when Alain agrees to allow his boss and his wife to come over for a dinner. His boss, Richard (Andre Dussollier), arrives at the house with a jovial aura but his wife (Charlotte Rampling) has the disposition of a scorpion. That night, they find an injured lemming in their sink pipe. Since a lemming tends to only live in Scandinavia, it freaks Alain out big time. Things don't get any better when the boss' wife commits suicide in the Gettys' house, which prompts Benedicte to take a very strange turn in mood.

Continue reading: Lemming Review

With A Friend Like Harry Review


Very Good
Filled with a tantalizing air of suspense, With a Friend Like Harry is an unusual yet well-balanced mix of dark comedy, French thriller, and surreal drama. As I was watching the film, I found myself groping for its message at each turn of the plot. Its ultimate effect is comparable to Claude Chabrol's La Cérémonie, with all its violence and commentary on class delineation.

In With a Friend Like Harry, two former schoolmates accidentally meet in a roadside bathroom. Michel (Laurent Lucas) is on vacation with his wife Claire (Mathilde Seigner) and their three little daughters. He is harried and haggard, far from enjoying this so-called vacation: an endless ride with whining and screaming kids in an un-air conditioned car. Harry (Sergi López) is everything Michel is not: Sleek and self-contained, he doesn't seem to be burdened by anything except good memories and a load of money. Within minutes, Harry invites himself and his girlfriend, a corpulent, springy bun named Plum (Sophie Guillemin), to Michel's house -- to reminisce about the good old school days Michel himself can barely remember.

Continue reading: With A Friend Like Harry Review

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Michel Saint-Jean Movies

The Monk [Le Moine] Movie Review

The Monk [Le Moine] Movie Review

This 16th century freak-out is ravishingly beautiful to look at, but it's also turgid and...

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With a Friend Like Harry Movie Review

With a Friend Like Harry Movie Review

Filled with a tantalizing air of suspense, With a Friend Like Harry is an unusual...

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