Some movies are so thoroughly mediocre that you just want to yell at them to be better. That is the case with the French romantic comedy To Each, Her Own. The story is bursting with ideas, so many ideas, in fact, that it could’ve been something great. Instead, To Each, Her Own, much like its protagonist, wants it all. By trying to speak to so many ideas, the movie ends up saying very little. The ambition of director Myriam Aziza (who also co-wrote the script with Denyse Rodriguez-Tome) is admirable. However, her Netflix film badly needs someone who can rein in the unwieldy script [ . . . ]
Read full review at THE DAILY DOT: Netflix’s ‘To Each, Her Own’ Is An Ambitious, Overcomplicated French Film
Winner of the Caméra d’Or and the Queer Palm at the last Cannes Film Festival, the Belgian Lukas Dhont continues his exploration of the theme of the body (started with his short films Corps perdu and L’Infini ) in this first feature-length light on an apprentice trans dancer who wants life to go faster.
Lukas Dhont plunges her protagonist, Lara (delicate Victor Polster), 15 years, into the world of ballet, a medium that has a very fixed idea of the body, between canons of beauty and frozen vision of what must be the masculinity and femininity. While working very hard, literally exhausting herself to fulfill her dream of becoming a star dancer, Lara does everything to ensure that the operation to bring her body in line with her gender takes place quickly … If it does not avoid some pitfalls on the representation of transidentity (Polster is top, but we regret that the role of a trans person is once again entrusted to a person cisgender, a sequence towards the end of the film is a little too sensationalist), the film is worth first of all because it finally shows what has not been seen in cinema so far:
In this part, which takes the form of a sweet portrait full of empathy (Lara is of all planes, and Dhont succeeds with subtlety to stick to his emotions), the most beautiful sequences are those which stage Lara with his father (Arieh Worthalter) and his little brother in moments of cohesion that are both of great simplicity and perfectly moving. Lukas Dhont knows how to instil a sensitivity and sweetness that sometimes reminds Céline Sciamma’s cinema. But this wadded cocoon has a dark counterpoint. Grueling discipline, brutal transphobia … Through Lara’s body, against which all the violence of her dance school, a highly competitive microcosm, clinically shown, Lukas Dhont reveals in their excessiveness the norms that would model, conform, but which suffocate and ruin; they are all the more exacerbated here that her heroine is both teen and trans. During training sessions, the filmmaker masks moments of weakness and films his face most often impassive, with the right look, dignified and focused. It is this tenacity to assert oneself, to refuse to let one’s identity fade away, that one will not forget.
Source TROIS COLEURS
Abbas, a French teacher, has fled war in the Central African Republic in order build a new life in France. While waiting to be granted refugee status, Abbas daily life takes shape: his children go to school and he works in market where he encounters Carole, who is moved by the courage of this man still haunted by the ghosts of his past.But if asylum is rejected, what will become of Abbas and his uprooted family? And what will happen to Carole, deprived of the home that she’d believed she had rebuilt with them?
Source: A Season in France (2017) – uniFrance Films
“The Apparition” sounds like the title of a horror movie, and this is not a case where the United States distributors of this French film have goosed up the original language title, which was, yes, “L’apparition.” There are several points in the movie during which the viewer can see the story line veer into genre territory, as when some of the characters, a disparate group convened for an investigation, discuss the possibility of working with an exorcist.
But the movie, directed by Xavier Giannoli, in fact aims for tragedy (which it nearly achieves) and enigmatic spirituality (and here’s where there’s a problem). Vincent Lindon plays Jacques, a journalist whose best friend and colleague is killed, practically right next to him, in the Middle East. At home nursing a blown-out ear, and PTSD, he is summoned by a Vatican representative. A young woman in rural France, Anna (Galatéa Bellugi) has seen a vision of the Virgin Mary, and is being celebrated by locals — and now, tourists on pilgrimages — as a potential new Bernadette of Lourdes. The church wants an investigation, to which the local priest sheltering Anna has strident objections.
Mr. Lindon, who carries his powerful masculinity with canny reserve, is superb as a man inquiring into a faith he had previously thought had nothing to do with him. But Ms. Bellugi is a real find; she inhabits her character, who, even as she hides her secrets, is so genuinely beatific that you can hear it in her breathing. Which makes it even more of a shame that the movie, which for two hours is an absorbing, detailed procedural, becomes so willfully diffuse in its final 20 minutes.