I went crazy with the school’s foreign DVD library this week (they only have French, Spanish and German films though), so I took out loads and watched them. I spoke to the librarian, and she said that £700 worth of new DVDs have also come in this week, which is terrific, I’ve got lots of future weekend entertainment lined up without having to spend any money!
Anyway, this is what I saw: -
Swimming Pool (Francois Ozon, 2003)
Just what this film was doing under the French films in a girls’ school confuses me for two reasons; as it was neither foreign (there were exchanges of French in it but it was 70% spoken in English), nor a film for little kiddies with the heavy sexual content. I was personally a bit bemused by it, and not impressed by Ludivine Savignier’s characters’ sluttiness, but Charlotte Ramplings performance could freeze water; she is an actress of depth and versatility. Anyway, the overall product was a bit sloppy, but it was still on tenterhooks throughout. C+.
Un Coeur en Hiver (Claude Saulet, 1992)
Living proof that you can bung in as many talented actors as you like into a movie (Daniel Auteuil, Beart, etc) and even throw in something that the viewer is personally familiar with (the violin), and it still won’t guarantee you a good movie. Far from it; this was one of the most boring things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I get that Auteuil’s character was a cold bastard, but honestly, no sane man would reject Beart (he certainly didn’t in real life), and even if he wouldm why did he have to take 98 fricking minutes of my time to come up with that conclusion? Peh. E.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972)
Much better than the bland DVD display case would lead you to think, but still not as brilliant as some critics have made it out to be. This is an epic movie, beautifully filmed and directed with an “interesting” performance from Klaus Kinski that left me not knowing whether to be terrified or laugh. Anyway, excellent film-making, but I just didn’t “connect” with it. B.
The Page Turner (Denis Dercourt, 2006)
Bitter girl seeks revenge on the woman who (unknowingly) wronged her when she was little in this creepy psychological thriller. Much better than Un Coeur en Hiver, which also attempted to examine the inner psyche of a musician, this time a pianist. Deborah Francois, so good in another 2006 film, L’enfant is significantly less sympathetic here as the vengeful young woman. Taut and controlled, The Page Turner is a subtle film with some great touches, though I was expected a bigger finale. Recommended nonetheless. B+.
La belle et la bete (Jean Cocteau, 1949)
Beautiful and whimsical adaptation of the well-know fairytale, but I just prefer the Disney one for some reason. B.
Woyzeck (Werner Herzog, 1976)
I much prefer Klaus Kinski’s performance in this film, as the hapless soldier, bullied by all those around him and having a wife that cheats on him, driven to madness and murder. Not particularly fun to watch, but fairly powerful and disturbing in its own way, though the “killing” scene was so melodramatic I almost laughed. B.
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
Not as funny as it has been on previous viewings. I prefer last year’s Hot Fuzz. B-.
I also rented Les enfants du paradis but couldn’t get into it. I’ll probably see Cyrano de Bergerac this week, but that’ll probably be it on the foreign language film front, I’m gonna aim to see the Oscar contenders of ’08 this week.