Saturday, April 19, 2008

Water Lilies & Secret of the Grain

Saturday was without a doubt the strongest day of the week, with 3 films imposing their mark in different genres: in terms of pure entertainment, OSS 117 (OSS 117 review) proved to be the most intelligent and ambitious comedy showcased at COL COA. Flirting with cinema-verité, Water Lilies (Water Lilies review) offered an uncompromising look at the lives of 3 teenage girls while Secret of the Grain (The Secret of the Grain review) brought a significant emotional dimension by bringing us in the life of North-African immigrants. Next to these 3 major works, the charming but light comedy La Vie d’Artiste (La Vie d'Artiste review) was quite forgettable.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Killer & Rivals

Centered on the intriguing relationship between a man and the killer who has been sent to kill him, Jacques Maillot’s The Killer (The Killer review) was the revelation of the night, this minimalist psychological piece slowly enveloping the audience in its noir atmosphere. Built on the confrontation of two brothers, a cop and a con, and supported by French stars Guillaume Canet & François Cluzet, Rivals is quite entertaining but collapses once you realize how poorly drafted are these characters, their implausible personas being used as a gimmick to trigger an expected dramatic conclusion.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cedric Klapisch's Paris

One of the most anticipated entries of the festival, Paris (Paris review) by Cédric Klapisch (L’Auberge Espagnole, Un Air de famille), proved to be a big disappointment. Abandoning his juicy portraits of a modern youth to, this time, focus on the adult world, with some social commentary in the background, Mr. Klapisch delivered a choral movie that stumbles in its messy storylines and veers too many times into cheesy Claude Lelouch territories.

Even more embarrassing was the following Q&A where it became clear that the interviewer didn’t know much about Mr. Klapisch’s body of work, beside a few articles he had read.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Welcome to the Land of Shti and COL COA

The 12th edition of COL COA opened with the gala presentation of Welcome to the Land of Shti. The event kicked off with the usual cocktail party featuring fine French food and lots of champagne, allowing festival-goers and celebrities to mingle around the food tables and the bars (American actor Robert Foster proved to be a lot of fun despite the fact I cut him in the line at the bar and several French filmmakers including Florent-Emilio Siri, Cédric Klapisch & Claude Lelouch were also available to chat).

Following the usual laborious speeches by some “French officials”, Welcome to the Land of Shti (Welcome to the land of Shti review) was presented to a room that was conquered in advance, thanks to the hype surrounding its French box office record. While the film was certainly fun and provided some great laughs (especially if you’re from the South of France like yours truly), there is certainly nothing to cheer about here, as this charming but cheesy little movie is far from being a good representative of what French cinema is.