Gilles Taurand

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Sister Review


Excellent
A bracingly honest approach to flawed characters makes this small-scale Swiss drama thoroughly involving. And moving too. Most intriguing is how the writers and director have transformed what's essentially a rather dark, bleak story into something involving and emotionally resonant, all without ever turning sentimental.

It's set at the foot of a spectacular Alpine ski resort, where Simon (Klein) spends winter days travelling up and down the slopes, grabbing whatever isn't locked down, then selling the stolen goggles, gloves and even skis to help support his sister Louise (Seydoux). They live in a tiny flat, but Louise is annoyed that she has to take care of Simon, and she's usually off with yet another boyfriend. So Simon begins to turn to other people for a sense of family, including a ski-lift chef (Compston) who helps him with his scam and a foreign woman (Anderson) who seems like the ideal mother.

In their scenes together, Klein and Seydoux have a remarkably authentic chemistry that includes tiny jealousies, rivalries, private jokes and a fierce loyalty to each other. As we learn more about their past, this takes on new meaning that's both warmly touching and darkly chilling at the same time. These two may have a difficult life, but they're enjoying it as much as they can. And their complicated relationship is packed with moments of tenderness that undercut the resentment.

The film is shot in an off-handed way that pulls us into each scene. The great cinematographer Agnes Godard captures the staggering beauty of the Alps along with tellingly intimate moments, contrasting their grim block of flats with the soaring natural scenery. And while some of the side characters feel a little contrived, they help us understand Louise and Simon in ways that catch us aback. This is a raw, unusually sensitive portrait of two people whose personal connection drives them crazy even as it gives them hope.

Rich Cline

Dry Cleaning Review


OK
Two married French sticks-in-the-mud try to keep a dry cleaning business running while their lives degenerate into a boring daily grind. To spice things up, they decide to check out a brother-sister drag show, only to inexplicably get caught up in a kind of threesome with the male counterpart. Far less interesting than its subject matter would suggest, Dry Cleaning is scarcely more enthralling than its title. (Also of note: the subtitling is pathetic.)

Continue reading: Dry Cleaning Review

Strayed Review


Good
Strayed is set in World War II during the German occupation of France. The setup is simple; a woman named Odile (Emmanuelle Béart), along with her two children, escapes a convoy that has been air attacked by German airplanes. They spend the night in the forest and the next day meet a teenager named Yvon (Gaspard Ulliel), who takes them to safety.

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

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Gilles Taurand Movies

Sister Movie Review

Sister Movie Review

A bracingly honest approach to flawed characters makes this small-scale Swiss drama thoroughly involving. And...

Strayed Movie Review

Strayed Movie Review

Strayed is set in World War II during the German occupation of France. The setup...

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