Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The White Ribbon @Cannes

While we were celebrating Memorial Day with flags and BBQ, the French were finishing up their annual film extravaganza at Cannes. This year the coveted Palme d’Or went to an Austrian film, The White Ribbon. Filmed in black and white by Austrian director, Michael Haneke, the film follows a sinister series of crimes which rock a village in northern Germany on the eve of World War One, and appears linked to a group of children brutalized and scarred by their parents. Another Austrian, Christoph Waltz, walked away with the Best Actor prize for his flamboyant performance as a SS officer in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II film Inglorious Bastards.
The most controversial film in Cannes was Danish director Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, which sharply divided critics and drew boos and cheers at screenings for its graphic portrayals of sex and violence. France’s Charlotte Gainsbourg, who plays a wife mourning the death of her son, was named Best Actress.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ooooo lala Gerard!

It wasn’t until the early ‘90’s that I became enamored by foreign films. Two films, both released in 1990, set me down the path of foreign film appreciation. One was Cinema Paradiso and the other was Cyrano de Bergerac. This Cyrano was spectacularly performed by French actor Gerard Depardieu. It had been quite a while since I had seen this version of Cyrano but fortunately, we have it available in the HBPL Media Department. I watched it last weekend and it still does not disappoint. It just reinforces what a powerful performance Gerard gave as Cyrano. So, if you haven’t seen this version, we have it!! Here are some more Depardieu gems for your consideration:
Jean de Florette (DVD): Jean de Florette is a French film set in Provence in the 1920s. It's the story of how two provincial French farmers systematically destroy the happiness of a man who comes out from the city to till the land. The man from the city is Jean de Florette, a hunchback tax collector played by Gerard Depardieu. A touching performance in a film that shows the dark side of human greed.

Man in the Iron Mask (VHS): All for one and one for all! Gerard Depardieu plays an aging Porthos in this entertaining rendition of Dumas classic novel. Along with his other Musketeers, Aramis (Jeremy Iron) and Athos (John Malkovich), they come out of retirement to avenge the death of Athos’ son. Unfortunately, the one responsible is King Louis XIV and the King’s bodyguard is led by one time fourth-Musketeer, D'Artagan (Gabriel Byrne). Leonardo DiCaprio does a commendable job in a dual role as King Louis XIV and the pauper that the Musketeers get to impersonate the King.

Green Card (VHS): Gerard plays a Frenchman that wants to stay in the United States. Andie MacDowell plays a single woman that wants a fabulous apartment that will only be rented to a married couple. A marriage of convenience seems the ideal solution to both problems. This charming romantic comedy shows what happens when cultures collide!

The Last Holiday (DVD): A clerk (Queen Latifah) from a New Orleans department store, puts life on hold and denies herself most luxuries of life. This all changes when a CT Scan discloses she has three weeks to live. She cashes her savings and heads to Europe's Grand Hotel Pupp, where Chef Didier presides. She lives life at its fullest to delightful results. Although this is really a Queen Latifah film, Gerard Depardieu’s role as Chef Didier is a scene stealer.