Features Albums Concerts Singles What's On Archives Contact @ Leave Us
S o r t e d   m a g A Z i n eFeatures
Navigation Bar - Links at bottom


The Eighth and unfortunately final French film festival got under away a couple of weeks ago. With over 90 films on display, this year's festival promised to be as good as any that preceded it or any kind of festival yet to come. Anja Ekelof and Kenneth Foxe give a brief rundown on just some of the films on show.

Comment je me suis disputé ... (ma vie sexuelle) is a slice of life drama about a young philosophy student come part-time teacher. Mathieu Amalric is very strong as the pensive hero in a film whose life prospects are going slowly awry. The film exudes sensitivity and shows an insight into human nature which is paralleled only by the likes of Woody Allen and Robert Altman.

It is the director Arnaud Desplechin's third film and is a slow but rewarding affair. It's funny at times, at other times sublime, and always just a little satirical. Quite simply, a quite wonderful film.

Le Bonheur est dans le Pré is perhaps best known for being Eric Cantona's first attempt at off the field acting. However, apart from Cantona's sometimes cringe-inducing acting, it is a quite lovely comedy of mistaken identities and of the struggle between emotional and material values. The film centres around a man from the northern town of Dole, played briliantly by Michel Serrault, who runs a troubled toiletseat/brush factory.

Not only does he suffer a close brush with death but is mistaken for a man who left his family 25 years ago. Carmen Maura, Almodóvar's diva, gives a great performance as the woman who thinks she has found her long-lost man.

A viewing also provides the extra task of trying to understand the guttural sounds of Canto's Marseillais-French.

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, the most expensive film in French film history looks suitably stunning and lives up to the millions it must have cost. This 1991 film takes place during the bicentennial celebrations of the French revolution.

It is a drama acted out between a mysterious eye-patch wearing woman (Juliette Binoche) and a young homeless man (Denis Lavant). They both live on the closed off Pont Neuf in the middle of Paris. Les Amants... is a moving portrayal of the outcasts of our society.

Who are these people? Why do they end up living on the bridges of Paris? The film answers some of these questions, all the while thrilling the viewer with amazing shots of Paris.

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf should be watched on the big screen if at all possible.

La Haine is Mathieu Kassowitz's superb and startling indictment of the problems of French suburban life as drugs, violence, and riots proliferate. The action centres on four key players: Vinz, Saïd, Hubert, and a gun.

Filmed in black and white, and using a 'day in the life' structure, La Haine (Hate) is a disturbing look at police brutality and the reaction it creates.

It is in equal parts funny and depressing. The ending is as poignant, and shocking as any. Never descending into a Tarantino-like fantasy world, Kasowitz is still very obviously influenced by the American way. In his own way, however, he is an original.

The realism of La Haine is stunning, and the film is social commentary at its best.

Etat des lieux (strangely translated to Inner City), is shot in grainy black and white in the suburbs of France and at the outset looks like La Haine Part Deux. It is not. Far from it in fact.

Although it starts with a mock interview with disenfranchised teenagers, it turns into an attempted social drama where somebody has obviously lost the plot.

Jean-François Richet wrote and directed this film which qualifies in the film category of "Yeah good idea, didn't work out". Some scenes are, however, very strong.

One opens with a quote from Karl Marx and shows the main character working in his factory, which looks more early 20th century then Renault 1995. It then cuts to a ring where two young men box to the soundtrack of machines and a great rap-track.

The film is made in some vain attempt to promote the idea of a Marxist revoluion in the 'Cités', because there is no longer a working class only 'suburbanites'. The film borrows heavily from 1920's Russian propaganda films on workers ethics but nothing is said to convince, in fact nothing happens.

Meaning? Dunno. Message? Marxism-lite. Music? Great. Overall view is that you should watch this film if you must, other wise stay clear - there are other and cheaper ways to spend your time and money...