France’s ‘finest screenwriter ever’ Jean-Claude Carrière dies aged 89

Jean-Claude Carrière

French writer and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who penned some of the most memorable movies of the last six decades including “The Tin Drum” and “Cyrano de Bergerac”, has died at the age of 89

A prolific writer, Carrière, best known for his work with Luis Bunuel and Milos Forman, created some of the most memorable scenes in European cinema.

Belle de Jour was one of the fruits of his 19-year collaboration with the subversive Spanish director Luis Bunuel, who revelled in shocking audiences.

The pair won an Oscar in 1972 for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, adding to the Oscar Carrière had won in 1963 for best short film.

Fascinated by philosophy and belief

Carrière’s work ranged across cultures, religions and historical periods, from Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) — for which Gérard Depardieu gave one of the performances of his career — to Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) with Daniel Day-Lewis, to writing a book with the Dalai Lama.

Continue reading “France’s ‘finest screenwriter ever’ Jean-Claude Carrière dies aged 89”

French cinema club for English speakers goes online – but not for viewing in U.S.

Cinema lovers who struggle to watch French movies without English subtitles may rejoice as Lost in Frenchlation is setting up virtual screenings starting this Friday.


What is happening?

Lost in Frenchlation, a cinema group that regularly screens French films with English subtitles in Paris, will host its first virtual screening on Friday, November 27th, at 8pm.

“These virtual screenings will take place every Friday until cinemas reopen,” Manon Kerjean, Founder of Lost in Translation, told The Local.

Which film is on this week?

Friday’s film is called À cœur battant (The End of Love) and tells the story of a couple that must embark on a long distance relationship where their conversations are reduced to video calls.

A fuller description of the – arguably very timely – film is available on the Facebook event (link here).

The screening will be followed by a discussion with director Keren Ben Rafael and the scriptwriter.

Who can access?

The screening will be limited to France only, so those interested must confirm their location in order to purchase tickets.

Tickets cost €5 and can be found here.

What is Lost in Frenchlation?

Lost in Frenchlation is a company that sets up screenings of recent French film releases with English subtitles to give Paris’s large international community access to French culture and meet others in the same situation.

Usually the events are always preceded with drinks (including a cocktail inspired by the film), but since Covid-19 forced cinemas across France to close their doors that has no longer been feasible.

On the plus side, these new virtual screenings will be available to all of France, meaning not just Parisians will be able to access new French films with English subtitles.

In addition to the online screenings, Lost in Frenchlation has launched a VOD page (link here) with more than 70 French films available to watch with subtitles in different foreign languages, including, of course, English.

The first movie is free. After that, you may rent or buy the film.

For more information, check out their website or sign up to their newsletter (link here).

Source: French cinema club for English speakers goes online with virtual screenings – The Local

Film Review: “Summer of 85”

François Ozon revisits the romantic passions of adolescence with the accuracy and great rawness of emotion that are characteristic of his mature and masterful filmmaking approach

The exaggerated nature of desires and feelings, the sky-high intensity of the moment such that every single second assumes timeless dimensions, the clash of contradictory emotions, the shared secrets and pacts, the search for the other as a mirror of love, flirtation with risk and the electrified zone where Eros and Thanatos intermix, all set against the most banal daily life imaginable, composed of parents, high school, holidays and hesitant plans for the future. Adolescence is the age of plunging into the unknown, of nebulous transitions, of instinctive joy and deep, deep suffering; a time for romanticism par excellence Continue reading “Film Review: “Summer of 85””

The disruptive love of Amélie Poulain

The romance of ‘Amélie’ feels like an afterthought because it demands doing – which is the aftermath of thinking

Rahul Desai | The Hindu

I was 21 when I first watched Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie, a French film about a 23-year-old Parisian waitress. As an introvert, I felt represented: the vivid primary colour palette, Yann Tiersen’s melancholic music, the quirky characters and eccentric vignettes. Amélie had canonised the language of isolation. The portrait of a sad and dreamy frog in a well wore the vibrant energy of a happy beast in the wild. A gaze was reinvented: Mundanity became an adventure of repetition, ordinariness became a playground of possibility, and fantasy became both ailment and cure. Loneliness felt hopeful – more like an acquired superpower than a hereditary disease. For once, silence sung a voice.

Amélie’s infatuation with a strange young man felt like an afterthought. It looked like a token insert, reiterating the long-standing cinematic misconception that a losing protagonist can only be rescued by the emergence of a soulmate. Over time, however, as I’ve struggled with the paradoxical pitfalls of adult companionship, my personal focus has shifted to Amélie Poulain’s love story. Over time, I’ve learned that the madness lies in the failed method of this romance.

Magically make-believe

Introverts are essentially people disappointed with the concept of people. Amélie grew up with neurotic and distant parents. By the time she moved away, she had already taken refuge in a make-believe world where every moment has a feeling. As a waitress working at a cafe, Amélie’s disenchantment with people – their puerile predictability, their wasteful routine – reaches its peak. She is tired of viewing them as bullet points of likes and dislikes. When she finds a box of someone’s old souvenirs, Amélie chooses to rebrand fact as the escapist fiction that kept her adolescence afloat. To inject life with her grammar of imagination, Amélie elevates humanity from noun to adjective. She reunites a reclusive man with memories from his childhood. She plays cupid by triggering an improbable romance between her fragile co-worker and a difficult customer. She fools the bitter concierge into believing that her cheating husband had sent her a conciliatory letter before his death. She inspires her mournful father to travel the world. She even teaches her rude neighbourhood grocer a lesson.

Amélie executes these forged deceptions of destiny like an artist weaving hidden symbols into complex artwork. She affects people, indirectly, in creative ways that marry her introverted spirit of seclusion with her extroverted affection for escapade. And in a manner that renews their faith in fate. She doesn’t simply deliver the souvenirs to the stranger; he is unsuspectingly lured into a phonebooth only to ‘discover’ the box there. She slyly incepts ideas into her colleague and father’s heads with well-timed gossip and globe-trotting gnomes. She painstakingly designs a handwritten letter for her concierge, and rigs her grocer’s house Home Alone-style. By resorting to stunts, Amélie reveals destiny as the domino effect of deflated dreams.

Enter romance

But Nino is the glitch in Amélie’s matrix of little pleasures. Amélie has the power to transform the everydayness of life into an exciting obstacle course of gestures. But that power disappears during her cat-and-mouse search for a soulmate. Her scenes with Nino never play out according to plan. The carefully constructed mystery of their meetings is punctured by the primal spontaneity of the heart. Despite her valiant efforts to choreograph the perfect union, Nino recognizes her at the cafe before she reveals her identity. Another time, Amélie misreads his contact with another waitress. At the photo booth, he is too preoccupied to notice her. And when Nino appears at her doorstep, she hesitates, and bumps into him after a tragedy of errors. The moment is awkward, undesigned, and she seals it with a smattering of tender pecks instead of an all-consuming kiss.

The romance of Amélie feels like an afterthought because it demands doing – which is the aftermath of thinking. For most people, finding love is a dream come true. For introverts, it’s the alarm clock that disrupts their dream. It defies every fibre of their being. It isn’t so much about falling in love as it is about making peace with the disappointment of falling in love. The pursuit rarely matches up to the grandiose visions of pursuit. This chasm is addressed in a wonderful scene towards the end of the film: A dejected Amélie returns to her flat and imagines the life she’s always wanted: She is baking a plumcake, Nino buys some yeast, sprints back upstairs and covertly caresses the bead curtains of her kitchen. But when she actually turns to look, it’s her cat brushing the beads – an image that snaps her back to her lonesome truth. Her lips quiver with dashed desire. Amélie has spent so long dreaming about her reality that she has forgotten to realise her dreams.

Moments later, Nino knocks on her door. Minutes later, she clutches onto his waist as they barrel down the street on his scooter. Amélie gets her happily ever after. Credits roll. It looks rushed, surreal, but for good reason. Now, if this were the final shot of Inception, the frame would cut to black just as the totem begins to wobble on her kitchen table.

Source: The disruptive love of Amélie Poulain – The Hindu

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