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Une autre justice (2016)
Powerful - values and emotion speaking
A great documentary, showing that another kind of justice is possible, that may bring better outcomes to all the parties implied - at least in some cases.
It illustrates with real cases, all taking place in one of the countries the most keen on the punitive solution: the US!
Outside presenting this another way of handling justice - most unknown, its strength is using real cases that follows great people choice of living their loss and powerful emotion.
In line with Bouli Lanners movies, this road movie presents comic and picturesque situation that comes one after another, with quaint characters.
It manages to keep and mix a tender approach and punk-rock spirit (that Delépine and Kervern would not have denied - nor its 'Groland'-like humour). And to avoid clichés.
It stays however unequal,sometimes laborious and gives the impression to be a bit freewheeling and lazy int its story. It also miss a poetic feeling that makes that kind of movie works.
In conclusion, sympathic, some good smiles but average.
What lies behind the mask
This movie is filmed as a false documentary by a son wanting to meet his real father, a past popular singer.
With Alex Lutz behind the camera, but also in front - 40 years older than he really is - it is almost a one-man show, accentuated by the fact that the other main protagonist is almost never shown, as he's the one holding the camera.
The beginning amounts to nothing special. That plus the concert part made me almost dropped the movie but finally, the masks are dropped and the film begins to reach some truthfulness. These scenes remains however scarse, which explains my rating.
Tadjikistan, islam and the story of a desertion
Actually, this documentary is not about Central Asia but about Tadjikistan, and mainly the desertion of a high-up of its army to Daech.
Still interesting but not the topic and focus I expected!
Capitalism in health market
This documentary shows how the big phamaceutical companies manage the health business.
I think the first approach is a bit naive, as pharmaceutical companies are still companies, which aim is to earn money. And capitalism is applied, in health as in every other aspect - most of it as much unethical as health (to begin with how stock market bet on cereals, food, water...
However, pharmaceutical companies still benefits from a specific environment. Lots of products are paid not by the consumer but by social security systems, often national ones. Prices are not (depending on the country) market-based but defined in a way which is not always related with R&D and production costs.
And that position is the scandal there, as they use this to bill prices that cannot be related to facts and figures. When they do not cross the law... It is indeed strange to think that these practises are quite new and that such prices were not conceivable before (even for these exact companies), at times where they were generally investing more money in R&D!
This documentary shows how these companies lead their businesses, use their influences - and how countries begin to react to that.
La bataille de Solférino (2013)
A risky concept - A failed movie
It begins with a risky concept, but quite thrilling: make a movie during the 2012 presidential election, in the streets of Paris with the thousand of Hollande and Sarkozy supporters.
With a second goal, make a movie about the thirty-old people with precarious situation.
However, the gamble is not won. The fact that a lot of scenes are made without retake, doesn't give the movie something special - and shows limitation of the improvisation actors can make with an undevelopped story. The scenes with militants and supporters aren't showing anything, we don't feel anything special about this historical event. You'd better not expect any sociological aspect. Placing the events on that day is only artificial. And the story in itself is a succession of hysterical and egotistic behaviours, shouts and verbal violence (not to mention the continuous cries of the babies).
Très bien, merci (2007)
This movie is quite disturbing, in different ways.
First its story. Far from the rest of movies that can be seen, it is a simple story, that could happen to anyone, and of an injustice that nobody's doing about. The system shows no mercy and the people behing follows the procedures.
In that, we have a political thriller very contemporary, very realistic of the way a lot people are reacting in their jobs (It isn't at the same scale but I guess anyone had already felt that feeling with administration, companies in charge of parking fines, etc.).
It is also disturbing because no answer is made whatsoever to this injustice. Nobody's trying to understand, trusting fully that the system is right and that if something happens, it is truly deserved. No need to even meet the man you're going to commit, by instance. And, contrary to the madhouse of The twelve tasks of Asterix, that madness is hidden, even the reactions of our main character stays confined. This absence of anger, of outburst was quite harsh on me, as this isn't a situation you can be ok for.
Finally, the movie shows in a second part, the effects it has on the main character and the path he has to take to overcome it. If I understand the aim in that, I think this was almost like another movie and did not display the same power. I was also wondering if the first part would not have been more impacting if we didn't see the start of the action in the movie beginning, letting doubt about legitimacy during a while.
You'll maybe ask why I didn't give it a better rating with all what I have said before, but I think that outside the story, this movie is less amazing. Acting is ok, no more. Directing is nothing special and I was definitely expecting more on that part. We even have some scenes that doesn't bring anything in my opinion.
Pauline détective (2012)
A light comedy that doesn't take itself seriously
With Pauline detective, you'll get a light comedy, that is not without qualities. Fresh, some nice situations and smiles. Sandrine Kiberlain is used on a different note, as she never was, and shows another side of her talents.
However, this is also a movie you'll instantly forget, with nothing memorable.
Peur de rien (2015)
Nice but something's missing
Lots of good can be said about this movie.
If it doesn't avoid every cliché, the story of that young libanese woman is well filmed, the acting is good and 90's Paris is well re-created.
The quality is enough to let pass some story issues (like the royalist woman that disappears once she fulfilled her role: supplying an appartment, or worse the justification she's giving for the risk ran after the police control scene).
No, with all that taken in account, this gives a nice movie, at least worthy of a 7. However something's missing and outside recreating Paris atmosphere of the 90's and following the lead character, the movie driving force diminishes after the first half. Plus - and one of the final scene, with the East-European woman tells exactly that - her situation, as difficult as it is, stays under a level many migrants meet and some of the debates can be perceived as a bit overtaken by reality.
Overdramatized and made to inspire fear
Made of different short documentaries: "Les fous d'Allah", by Thomas Lelong and "Hayat : la menace fantôme", by Rola Tarsissi and Julien Daguerre.
I was really disappointed in the way these topic were treated, especially for a public channel.
It seemed to me made for inspiring fear more than to explain and decrypt a societal topic.
The worse being the first, with a narrator voice worthy of scandal emission and dramatization that is completely out of topic (as the first doctor interviewed calmly explained: we are speaking of mad people, religion can be an aggravating factor but is not the primal issue - proof being we were speaking of 2 people over 40 of that mental hospital.
Les femmes de l'ombre (2008)
A good idea. It stops there.
It starts with a good idea: make a movie showing how women have fought in the occupied France. Casting is quite good actually, managing to gather 4 reputable French actresses : Marceau, Depardieu (daughter of but she has proved her talent in more that a handful movies), Gillain and François.
It even is inspired by an historical figure, Lise de Baissac.
Unfortunately, it stops there, Overdramatic scenario. Story not believable. Direction worthy of a TV movie. Nude scenes that seems mostly completely fishy and only there to attract the male public. Even the character casting phase - a classic and generally a good start - is no good. It shows an amateurish and bemusing resistance and it's better to not search historical credibility either. Of course, with all that, even the acting is quite bad, I guess only Julie Depardieu manages to make something from her scenes.
To top it all I think this movie quite sexist - despite the original idea! There are way better movies speaking about French resistance, some of them showing also women (Lucie Aubrac, L'armée des ombres, Odette) and that one finally is one too much!
I fail to comprehend how Salomé, the director, managed to convince people to make this movie (financial, actors and actresses - even to the point to accept nude scenes). His previous works were already far from what could be called good movies. Strangely enough, he's still directing with a last movie released this year 2020. I guess he should be a man that knows how to persuade and talk people into what he desires. (To be fair, I have to underline I enjoyed "Je fais le mort " released after this one).
If you're interested in Dolto - TV movie quality
As interesting it can be to discover and follow Françoise Dolto's journey and fight to change how medicine consider children, that movie stays a plain TV movie, with nothing special in any way (scenario, direction, acting).
Should have been better but still shows an important figure and how things were not far ago...
Drôles d'oiseaux (2017)
Short little movie
Movie with a slow rythm, this movie seems to be used by its director Elise Girard as an opportunity to mix personal and social topics with anachronism and absurd.
Views of a discreet Paris, almost empty. A strange relationship (unfortunately partly fishy). Nuclear protests. Strange birds death. Books. Silence and eye dialogs.
This gives it a je-ne-sais-quoi that can be enough to follow without failing this short movie to the end.
It isn't a great movie but the delicateness that transpires from it - even if it is sought and does not always achieve the feat to feel genuine - is pleasant.
Isn't for me
The first scenes is actually a good test. If you enjoy it, I think you'll love this movie.
If not, I strongly advise you to stop there. The whole movie is indeed made of the same substance: long motionless sequence-shot. No action per so. No dialog.
Film about modern Russia but there are far more better!
When reading the reviews, this movie seems to get dithyrambic or at least rather good critics.
I unfortunately did not enjoy this movie.
First, when it comes to the movie itself, it is far too long and the last part seemed to me completely unnecessary. Ok the police car is worth it, but that's all. Where's the need to hammer again story, message and characters come from? On top of that, if the approach is quite original, it did not take me anywhere. And I could'nt manage to relate to the apathetic main character, who's showing the same beaten look the whole movie and seeming only to follow without a second thought what the last person may advise her to do.
Secondly, when it comes to movies speaking of modern Russia, its bureaucracy, and life in small cities, there are far better ones. Take Durak from Yuriy Bykov. Or Zvyagintsev's movies for instance.
Finally, having an ukrainian making a fiction movie on Russia seems quite strange to me knowing the recent history between the two countries... Overall with such an unmoving and hammered vision (which - to be clear - I do not criticize in its content or conclusion, but this is a fiction and a film that was shown in Cannes on top of that. It ought to propose more than a critical point of view)
La fille de Brest (2016)
Whistleblower in the health industry
It may be surprising but I'll begin with the movie weaknesses in my opinion:
- First, its title (at least the French one). I don't understand that choice. Even if this Mediator affair exists thanks to Brest doctors whitleblowing - and the fight the movie will relate, I doubt it was an important point in the public mind, and was not at least in mine.
- Second thing, it risks having people thing that this is a French "Erin Brockovich". Which is not.
- And last, its start, which is a bit weak, especially the study part which could have been shown differently (Spotlight is a great example in that regard).
Despite these, it is a great movie. It tells without fault this scandal. A double scandal, as the company clearly cheated to make money on the health of the patients but French State has also failed in its mission of pharmacological surveillance. It tells this without relating to special effect, distorting the truth or simplifying facts. Worth the fight of Irene Flachon actually. Speaking the truth, unvarnished, is not an easy fit (and we see in many movies that directors fears it won't be enough) but Emmanuelle Bercot trusts this story. She sticks to a simple way to film it, but that works and the movie get you involved in this fight. On top of that, Sidse Babett Knudsen is doing a great job and I guess Irene Frachon can be happy with this casting.
It also shows how difficult is to escalate something abnormal, even in a country like France, as soon as there is big money implied. "The Clearstream Affair" illustrates the same thing when it comes to finance, still sticking to EU countries, as well as a lot of other whistleblower stories, less known. Learning how to recognize and hear them is also an important aspect in "La fille de Brest" and I do hope this society issue will be tackled serioulsy (Law changed in France in 2016, with difficult debates about what can be done, giving birth to a better but still unsatisfying solution).
Jane Eyre (2011)
Another adaptation... Could have been avoided without any regret
I honestly don't see what this new adaptation (shall I call it a remake) brings.
Past adaptations are far better and Fukunaga does not offer a new vision of the book nor of any character.
It really lines up with current tendency to make remakes with illustrates more a lack of ideas and originality. One of a thousand may be the equal of the original or even better. A handful deserves to be shot as it brings new ideas to the original. The rest brings at most modern special effects or an opportunity to see great actors in famous roles, when it is not a simple downgrade.
This movie fall in my opinion in the last category. Do favor the classic, to begin with Orson Welles'!
A strange movie, even as a japanese comedy
Saya-zamurai is a strange movie. It is, strangely, at the same time its best quality and its biggest flaw.
The beginning almost lost me: we follow a pityful character - an old samurai, with no sword and almost decaying. He is followed by a child, plus burlesque assassins, introduced in a very-tarantinesque way, and with slash of blood copied from Kill Bill. On top of that, one of the first scene with the child (fetching medicinal plant) is badly shot and looks horribly false.
I did however go on with the movie and was happy to do that. With the next part and the challenge imposed on our main character - I won't say our hero!, the movie changed its tone and become a hell lot better. Not perfect, there is a part of repetition that the director tries to mitigate but could'nt fully because of the setting of the story. There was maybe some funny scenes typically Japanese that I did not get. But that part, a bit "Kikujiro"s Kitano" inspired, in its own way, deserves your viewing, until the end twist.
That tale of the redeeming of a shameful samurai and father manages to go over the comedy (visual comedy mainly) and reach a depth I wouldn't have believed only moments before. Reflection on what is a show, it does not limit to that as it will get you emotionally involved as well.
In conclusion, this movie is full of weaknesses but still manage to propose very good parts if you let it a chance.
Le ciel attendra (2016)
Exploration about a dark side of our society
How can our youth become involved with terrorisme and religious extremism?
This movie tries to address that question and does wonder in my opinion.
It may be sometimes a bit too didactic for some but I enjoyed that part and actually learned things, even after having watched documentaries on that topic. It show and deconstrut really well how a lost young adult could fall to the sophisticated method used to enrol them. They really becomes prey of recruiter, that are trained, and which actually happened to be djihadist. They could "sell" another ideology the result would be the same.
Of course, they are a few weaknesses and the timing difference was a bit disturbing for me but that didn't prevent me to enjoy this movie, learning but having a nice time as well.
Nota: it is also appreciable to see French movies tackling contemporary social and historical issues, and that with high quality, both cinematically and in research on the topic.
To watch if you want to understand better than the "it's the parents / child fault!".
Wonderful movie about change
I was really astonished to see so few reviews on such a great movie.
Yearning (A woman in upheaval in its French title, Midareru in Japanese - being disturbed) is a movie that deserves your attention. And not only if you like Japan. Of course, it is really characteristic of Japanese culture at that time and the change that proceeds in this country at that time, beginning to shift from tradition to modernity. But it is also the wonderful tale a the relationship between two people and how the social constraint applies to them. And how this relationship begin to shift (yes, like the country itself, however not in the same way).
Emotion, society, money, this movies addresses a lot of topics but do not forget to follow its story. Helped with a great acting, with a beautiful female lead characer, it is a successful movie in every aspects. Do take your time to enjoy it!
A different view on Russia and why majority votes Putin
Instead of showing the generally known Russia (its european part with Moskow and Saint Petersburg), this documentary show mostly the Russia behing, up to Vladivostok.
We follow the reporter visiting different king of russian (businessman, artist, clergyman...). If we have the chance to discover a bit on their background and personality, it focuses - like its title explicitly says it - on the reason they will vote for Putin, or not (or not vote at all).
And, in that huge country, it is funny to see that one global answer emerges and actually makes sense, saying finally more than a lot of analysis you can hear here and then when Russia and Putin makes the headlines.
Kongens Nei (2016)
Interesting more than a good movie
I won't hide it, The King's choice is not a very good movie cinematically speaking.
However its subject and the way it is treated is damned interesting!
Why? There are 2 main reasons. First, it relates an historical and meaningful event that is not very well known and it does that without changing facts and creating artificially tension and emotion. Secondly, and that is its main asset in my opinion, it does not show people that know how to react to the extra-ordinary in a zillieth of a second. Some movies show main historical figures doubting, but that is generally a once in a lifetime. Otherwise, they always know exactly how to react. Not in this movie, it put you in their boots and make you think - at the same time they are thinking about what can be done. That reflexion about moral responsibilty, about how to face adverse events is really well led as it is not a ready-to-eat for the spectator. Each can make his own thoughts and agree or disagree with the decisions made during these days.
A few other thoughts. I don't know how much is true about Haakon and Olav, which are shown more than 100% devoted to their people and ready to give their life. However the fact is it was a king that made the choice to place its people sovereignty over all, a choice than Norway's elected government was not ready to make - and that is true for almost any elected government I think. It is noticeable to show in this movie 2 strong women, that are not only well thought but which advices are quite sought. That changes from the generally discreet and supportive woman that is shown in historical movies - if some were like that, it is generally a choice to focus on its (male) lead figure.
Ryu san (2017)
There are two of you. One that kills and one that loves.
This movie reminded me this quote from Apocalypse Now - and it is an excellent point!
Quickly labelled as an action movie - and despite really nicely made scenes, this is absolutely not an action movie. SABU twists genre movie and manages to create an art piece that can relate to other Japanese feats, like some of Kitano's movies. The start as genre movie and the violence inherent of that world and of the first 20 minutes is not free violence but necessary to act as a counterpart of the main part of the movie: the meeting of that lone wolf with humans, with solidarity and how it changes him, how he is actually enjoying such a life.
Of course we can feel a lot of influences, in the choregraphy of action scenes - worthy of asian action movies, in the burlesque comedy (Kikurijo), in the relationship between a child and a killer (Léon). But SABU really proposes a movie on his own, mixing tragic, harsh realities with beautiful moments and does not forget to show hope and good in the heart of men.
A great piece, go for it!
The Man Who Saved the World (2014)
Gripping unsung historical event but the story told is not the right one
This documentary starts with great material.
A mostly unknown event, that could have been a turning point in history. A hero, that does not seek recognition and sees himself as an average guy and lived after that a quiet and unnoticeable life.
However, the way it decides to show things and the topics he focused is unbelievably disappointing. Yes, it shows and re-acts the main events and that part is quite good. Yes it speaks (a bit) about peace and nuclear today's threat. But how could be decided to focus on this relationship with his mother, his different meetings with Hollywood stars! Wtf? We spend more time learning he doesn't know Matt Damon than following his UN speech. Why decide not to investigate at all about what caused the bug at the origin of the incident? How on earth not to explore the fact that such men, who manages to take the right decision for the common good, under incredible pressure, are not recognized as such and offered responsibilities in which they may do wonders - instead the usual elite that haven't all proved they have got such capacities?
Reading these thoughts, you may wonder why I still gave it a decent rating (6). This is actually because such an event is not well known, that it will make you consider, for example, why having nuclear power countries does not bring real safety, even to its own citizen. Take it as food for your thoughts more than as an interesting documentary (the actual documentary part may be summarized in 30-50 min).
La vie en grand (2015)
Portrait of 2 young mischevious but endearing characters
This movie takes place in a parisian suburb, an underprivileged area. It talks about drug, poverty, immigration, social exclusion.
However, more than a social drama, the director focuses on the depiction of this 2 young main characters and that hits the mark.
Instead of 'young adults', already accustomed to violence, having lost confidence in their future, we follow indeed childs for which everything is possible. They still got some innocence, some joy of life but are in the same time already mischevious and finally endearing for the spectator.
If the movie have a feel-good and righ-thinking side, and some weaknesses, it stays pleasant and will give you a good time.