Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Concert


The concert (The concert review) was screening on Friday night at COLCOA. The film follows a group of old Russian musicians who, pretending to be the Bolshoi, end up landing a gig at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. At the Q&A, director Radu Mihaileanu stated that the premise of this picture was based on a true story, a group of musicians having indeed impersonated the Bolchoi a few years ago in Asia, but except for this, The concert seems to copy the Buena Vista Social Club formula, transferring the Cuban and New York settings to Russia and Paris. While this uplifting farce is quite amusing, with some good moments such as the recital, it is a work that, in the end, proves to be filled with cliches and somewhat manipulative.
As a sidenote, the movie was introduced by his distributor, Mr. Harvey Weinstein who, rather than talking about this film, stated he wouldn't stay at this screening to go instead meet Mr. Jean-Paul Belmondo at a nearby festival. While paying homage to the French film icon at this festival was certainly appropriate, the whole thing sounded kinda rude, which knowing Mr Weinstein's reputation isn't that surprising.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Farewell

Following Spy(ies) showed last year at COLCOA, Guillaume Canet seems to be the go-to guy when it comes to play reluctant amateur spies. In this tale based on a true story, he plays a French engineer who gets contacted by a Russian colonel (played by the filmmaker Emir Kusturica) to deliver secrets to the West. Avoiding melodrama and sensationalism, Farewell (Farewell review) offered the psychological portrait of two ordinary men fighting with their conscience for a greater good. Finely directed and captivating, from the beginning to the end, this film was reminiscent of these good old cold war movies.

Not being able to attend the screening for a Q&A, the director was replaced by the actor Fred Ward who plays Ronald Reagan in the film.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

COLCOA 2010 Opening Night Gala


COLCOA’s opening night was as usual taking place in the lobby of the DGA, with guests cruising around the bars and feeding on fine French appetizers. There was somewhat a bittersweet feel though, as most of the French filmmakers invited to the festival couldn’t make it due to the travel mess caused by the European volcano – only 3 filmmakers were able to attend, some coming from Paris through China …

As for the opening film, it was once again a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy, Heartbreaker (Heartbreaker review) starring Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. While offering a quite engaging story mocking some genre clich├ęs, the film proved to be also annoying at times, mostly due to poor directing choices, making it a charming but quite weak way to start a festival.